BC Lions fans showed up at Empire Field hoping the bye week had worked out the issues the team had seen compiling a 1-6 record to start the year. In the end it was the Calgary Stampeders who looked rested and fine tuned, as they easily defeated the home side by a score of 48-35. The score flattered the Lions who scored two late touchdowns in garbage time.
The game started ominously for the Lions after the defence held the Stamps to a field goal attempt. Rob Maver’s attempt was short but was fumbled by the Leos’ Yonus Davis and recovered by the Stamps on the Lions 9 yard line where Burris would run it in for an early touchdown.
The Lions did respond on the next series, thanks in part to a great 44 yard leaping catch by Emmanuel Arceneaux to put the Lions in great field position. After Jamal Robertson took it to the one, the Lions needed three chances to get the ball into the endzone, with Casey Printers eventually breaking the plane of the goalline, confirmed by video review.
The Lions would take the lead on a Paul McCallum field goal, but it would be their last lead of the game, as the Stampeders started to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, a common theme for the Lions this season. Henry Burris, who threw for three touchdowns and ran for one himself, did his best to keep the Lions in the game in the first half. After an Emmanuel Arceneaux fumble at midfield, Burris tossed the first of his three interceptions in the game, setting up a Paul McCallum field goal. Burris promptly threw another to Dante Marsh and a great catch at the 1 yard line by Simon set up a Jamal Robertson touchdown late in the half, closing the score to 24-20. The Stamps would get a field goal late, aided by a horse collar penalty assessed to Tad Crawford and the Lions were actually in the game at the half, down by just seven points.
It was the same old story in the second half as the Stampeders made some adjustments and the Lions couldn’t adjust. Burris worked underneath routes to John Cornish and Joffrey Reynolds at will. On one drive in the half it was all Cornish all the time, and the Lions were at their mercy. The Stamps built up a big lead before the Lions scored twice late.
Printers was under constant pressure in the second half as the Lions offensive line continued to struggle, particularly up the middle of the line. The resulting sputtering of the offence kept the defence on the field far too long and Burris and the Stamps seemed to move the ball at will as the defence wore down.
Burris completed 20 of 34 passes for 276 yards in the night to go with his 2 TD’s, 1 rushing TD and 3 interceptions on the night. His counterpart Printers finished the game completing 10 of 26 passes for 191 yards. The Lions finished the game with a paltry 44 yards rushing, while the Stamps rolled to 215.
A moment of concern came in third quarter when BC receiver Darius Passmore crashed into one of the advertising signs along the sideline, landing on the sign in his neck area. Reports indicated a cut to the neck area of the Lions rookie receiver. After being worked on for some time by medical staffs from both teams, Passmore was taken off the field by stretcher, and and gave the crowd the the thumbs up sign. He was taken to hospital for further treatment and evaluation, but was proclaimed in good shape by Wally Buono on the post game show.
The Lions now travel to Montreal for the Labour Day weekend. It’s been reported that Als’ quarterback Anthony Calvillo will not be ready to play and is still recovering from a bruised sternum.
On Saturday, August 28th, Sports & Stuff, the official sports store of BCLionsDen.ca is holding its annual BC Lions Day out in Chilliwack. Casey Printers, Travis Lulay and Emmanual Arceneaux will be on hand to sign autographs and chat with fans, and you can get great deals on BC Lions merchandise. Make sure you mention that BCLionsDen.ca sent you!
Here’s a breakdown of this great annual event at Sports & Stuff:
- Trip for two to Calgary to see the Lions take on the Calgary Stampeders on September 25th, 2010. Prize includes airfare, hotel, tickets and taxi to and from the airport.
- Trip for two to Las Vegas! Flexible dates. Includes airfare and 3 nights hotel.
- Autographed, pro-stitched Casey Printers jersey.
- 3 autographed footballs
- Framed and autographed Casey Printers photograph.
- Mall gift certificates
- Canucks package, including tickets and hotel.
- Gift certificate for the Harrison Hot Springs Hotel.
- Many more prizes!
Sports & Stuff is a locally owned business in Chillwack run by Rick and Wendy Lovell and they have the best selection of BC Lions and CFL gear and merchandise. They are located at:
Sports & Stuff
45610 Luckakuck Way, Chilliwack, BC
After the first four days of BC Lions training camp, there is a lot of positives to take from the sessions. It’s also obvious that there is much work to do between now and July 4th, when the the club opens the 2010 season in Edmonton.
The club has found some nice talent in some areas of need, but there are certainly some concerns. In this report we’ll take a quick look at the key positions on offense so far. This is from our observations and restricted access. It should be noted that the Lions have restricted fans to the stands for the first time in several years, so we are a good distance away depending on where the drills are. For instance, the offensive line is often taken to a separate field that does not provide for a good view from the stands.
These observations are from four days and seven sessions of training camp.
Casey Printers started camp looking sharp and confident. But the last day and a half has seen a step backwards. He often scrambles for a big gain, but it means little when no one is allowed to hit you. Printers has shown visible signs of frustration at times, but as the club’s new leader he needs to get back on the saddle and onto the next play and rally the troops when things aren’t going right. He’s had good velocity on the ball and good accuracy for the most part. He looks quick and agile and judging on the pressure the defensive line has gotten on him in practice he’ll need those skills, especially early on as the offensive line takes time to gel into a unit. The backups haven’t shown as much. Jarious Jackson’s velocity looks a bit off. He was shut down from throwing in one session, possibility a maintenance day on his shoulder. Travis Lulay has also struggled with his accuracy. Both have had good sessions, but the consistency is not there. Fourth arm Kyle Parrish is getting reps, but he’s done nothing to suggest he’ll be moving up in the QB pecking order.
One of the biggest questions heading into camp was the status of the offensive line, and from what we can see it remains a question. The Lions sent Jason Jimenez packing and are moving Sherko Haji-Rasouli on the right side, and last year’s practice roster tackle Dumane Duckett will is lining up on the left. In between the tackles are Daren Heerspink, Jon Hameister-Ries and pre-camp newly appointed centre Dean Valli.
The unit is going to take some time to gel, and that is pretty evident on a lot of the drills so far. The club’s mandate has been to be a more physical club this season, and judging by the skirmishes we’ve seen this week, that aspect is certainly evident. But there are concerns, particularly at the tackles and many drills seem to see defensive ends in the backfield quickly. None of the players the Lions have brought in have looked particularly impressive or a threat to supplant the starters listed above, and that has to be a concern if the current lineup proves not good enough. Dane Randolph and Jovan Olafioye have not impressed to date, but have been working exclusively with the backup unit, as the team is obviously hoping to give the chosen starters that gel time we spoke of earlier. Angus Reid is competing hard in a new backup role, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him starting again at some point as Valli continues to evolve in the position. Justin Sorensen seems to have take the more physical plea from Wally to heart and has been very physical at camp, including the domination of Jeremy Gibbs in a heated exchange that saw “Walby Junior” land two heavy punches before teammates could separate them.
The Lions have brought in some nice talent here and it compliments what they already had. That said, Jamal Robertson has separated himself from the pack, and as things stand will be the starting running back on July 4th. It’s who will back him up that becomes interesting. Jamall Lee is lining up at fullback in camp along with the large and quick Jerome Messam. Imports Yonus Davis and Toddrick Pendland have both had some success, but the player pushing Robertson the most is junior star Andrew Harris, who didn’t look out of place at camp last year. Harris has been consistently good and is getting lots of reps and he’s also seen some time on kick returns. The offense has some new looks this year and the possibilities are encouraging for anyone thinking the Lions may be abandoning the running game this year.
The Lions have brought in some nice talent here. Almost every receiver has had their moments, and a few have had some they should have caught. Newcomer Tony Washington has been very impressive, pretty much catching everything thrown his way. Kerry Reed has shown some nice speed, as has Darius Passmore and Steven Black. Matt Chapdelaine has proven he belongs in camp and has had a fairly solid four days, which will hopefully give the kid a break from some fans thinking he’s getting a free ride. Last year’s practice roster Terence Scott was injured early in camp and much to this fans dismay hasn’t been a factor. Nate Binder and Akeem Foster have had a tough time getting noticed.
Amongst the veterans, you can be assured that Emmanuel Arceneaux has come back to improve on his great rookie campaign. He’s easily been the class of the receivers thus far and looks to be headed for a dominant season. On the other end of the spectrum, Derick Armstrong has been a disappointment in the sessions we’ve seen. Too many drops for what you’re used to seeing from Armstrong who is usually pretty sure-handed. Paris Jackson was looking strong before an injury which has kept him out of two sessions as of this post. O’Neil Wilson has had a nice camp and Geroy is looking as gifted as ever. He even got a rude awakening at camp by Tad Crawford who caught him over the middle in the air. It will be tough for a rookie import to crack this receiving core, but if you’re looking for an early candidate for a surprise cut, Armstrong needs to show more.
What’s the outlook?
The Lions look to have added some nice packages to the offense and it looks like there is a lot of speed to choose from. The offensive line is going to be a key, and with a few new twists to the offense thrown into the mix the Lions may need a few weeks to gel and hope the defence can give them the luxury to do so. The recievers and running backs look solid and if Casey Printers and the offensive line can get cohesive the Lions could have a lot of weapons at their disposal.
Next time, we’ll look at the defence and special teams.
The morning session on June 7th produced some physical football on day two of training camp. Big hits, and a some heavyweight punches by Justin Sorensen on Jeremy Gibbs showed the intensity on the field was reaching new levels.
Here are some photos of the morning session, and you can review our live blog of the session here.
Bombs over BC? Fans of the BC Lions fans will hope so after the club announced a contract extension for quarterback Casey Printers Sunday evening. In keeping with club policy, terms of the deal were not released.
“Casey has demonstrated that he’s not only a gifted and exciting quarterback, but that he is capable of being one of our core leaders moving forward into next season,” said Lions GM and head coach Wally Buono.
Printers rejoined the Lions during the 2009 season, and finished the year as the club’s starter after both Jackson and Pierce were lost to injury. He finished the season completing 43 of 68 passing attempts for 686 yards and three TD’s, showing flashes of the 2004 Printers that won the league’s most outstanding player award.
Despite terms of the deal not being released, it can be assumed that Printers will be paid in line with other CFL starting quarterbacks, meaning the club will likely making another announcement in the near future regarding the release or trade of one it’s QB’s. It’s an almost certainty that one of Jarious Jackson or Buck Pierce will likely be gone come training camp. With Pierce’s history of shoulder problems and concussions, he may be the one on the move, but there is no way the Lions can carry three pivots at the dollars they are making.
Printers is happy to be staying with the Lions. “As excited as I was to return last season, I am even more ecstatic to be signing this extension and getting an opportunity to contribute to the Lions in any way I can,” said Printers. “We have an outstanding group of players on both offense and defense that will make us very difficult to play against in 2010.”
With the 2009 season freshly in the books and the Christmas season upon us, I thought it was time for a wish list for our BC Lions.
2009 was a struggle for BC. There were the injuries to deal with and some real instability at the quarterback position. There was a high turnover of players and lost leadership as Wally Buono attempted to make the team younger and faster. In some areas that was successful, in others not so much. But for the second consecutive year the Lions had some of the same issues arising that hampered their game. Stalled offensive drives, troubles stopping the run and the inability to shut teams down late in games were familiar and frustrating problems. Three times this year the team as blown out at home to the point where fans were leaving on droves early in the third quarter.
So, here’s my wish list for the team and by no means do I expect all of this to happen. These are my personal wishes from a fans point of view after sitting in the stands game after game and watching this team for the last couple of seasons. See if you agree or disagree and feel free to add your own wishes by commenting!
A New Coaching Direction:
It’s pretty much understood that Wally Buono is going to coach the BC Lions as long as he wants to, at least according to owner David Braley. I think Wally is still a very capable coach, but in too many games this year the Lions seemed unable to make the right adjustments during a game to change the momentum. To me that falls on your assistant coaches. I’d like to see changes in the coaching staff, and here are my wishes.
Jacques Chapdelaine: His official title is receiver’s coach, but it’s no secret he plays a bigger role. The word is that he and “offensive coordinator” Dan Dorazio come up with the game plan for the week and Chapdelaine calls the plays during the game. The Lions offense has sputtered the last two seasons, and while instability at the QB position has definitely been factor, there have been too many stalled drives and questionable play calls. And don’t get us started on third and short. Some of the players love him and asked for his return, but it’s time for a new direction and someone with some fresh ideas. I respect Jacques Chapdelaine, and the man certainly knows way more about the game than I ever will, but it’s not working. That said, Buono seems very comfortable with him, and Chapdelaine escapes the axe year after year, leaving little chance he won’t be back next season.
Dave Dickenson: Perhaps a bit premature but I think it would be a pretty bold move and one that could pay off huge. Dickenson was a great QB who understands the CFL game and while he may not have the experience as a coach his knowledge of the game and his already clear desire to get into coaching make him an intriguing option. Dickenson was a running backs coach last season in Calgary and has had inout on their offense under coordinator George Cortez. Some will feel the offense he knows is that of the Hufnagel/Chapdelaine mold and bringing him in wouldn’t be much of a change but I think Dickenson has a lot to offer, and could add some excitement back to the Lions offense. It may be far fetched, and unfortunately I think Buono may be too loyal to Chapdelaine to make a move, but Dickenson will assume a coaching role as a coordinator or head coach one day, and whatever team gives him that shot will look like a genius. The Lions have already decided not to renew contract of quarterbacks coach Steff Kruck and apparently Dickenson has been offered that job by Wally. I would also allow Dan Dorazio to concentrate on the offensive line again, freeing him from any offensive game planning, but of course welcoming his input.
Mike Benevides: Since Dave Ritchie retired, the BC Lions defense has lost it’s bite. Benevides assumed the role two seasons ago and the results haven’t been stellar. The defensive line led the league in sacks, but the Lions had huge problems with the run, and couldn’t get stops late in games on too many occasions that cost them points. Getting embarrassed at home in three games was disheartening as well. Whether it be personnel or the scheme, the linebacker play last season was brutal at times and the scheme was the design of Benevides. Korey Banks added some nice options at the nickle position, but teams knew to beat the Lions, running the ball was a good start, and the Lions could do nothing to stop it on too many nights. When they did, it was the secondary’s turn to give up big yardage late in games to blow leads.
Rich Stubler: Formerly the Argonauts defensive coordinator and head coach, Rich Stubler is known for his aggressive in your face defenses and under his coaching the Argonauts defense was at the top of the league regularly. He could bring that aggressive style back to the Lions and is available after sitting out last season. Perhaps the Eskimos will beat the Lions to the punch, with the recent resignation of Jim Daley from their ranks. I think Benevides will survive because he was loyal to Buono last season, turning down the head coaching spot in Toronto to remain in BC, and Buono will probably give him another year hopefully at least with the understanding that some things have to change.
Some Shivers Gems
It would be nice to see scout Roy Shivers undercover some gems as he did for the Riders a few years back. Linebackers will be at the top of the wish list I would think and preferably some nasty ones. The Lions lost some leadership and some attitude when Otis Floyd left and would probably like to have the Jamal Johnson negotiation from last year as a do over. They need to get some of that attitude back in the middle. Some of it returned with the arrival of Jojuan Armour and Anton McKenzie was voted an all-star, but this position needs to be addressed.
More depth brought in to challenge the offensive line would be nice, preferably at guard and tackle positions and a new centre needs to start being groomed, with Angus Reid coming off a serious ankle injury and not getting any younger.
Emmanuel Arceneaux was a nice addition, but another sure handed speedy receiver would be nice. Or how about or a big and bulldozer type in the mold of an Andy Fantuz or former Lion Jason Clermont?
The Emergence Of Youth
The key to remaining a competitive team in the CFL is keeping your team well stocked with talented young players who eventually take over a key role on your football tream. Sean Whyte, Jamal Lee, James Yurichuk, Justin Sorensen and Andrew Harris are promising young prospects for the Lions, and it would be nice to see them emerge next season as prime time players. Yurichuk was great on special teams, Sorensen was forced into duty late in the season, and Jamal Lee will have a full training camp under his belt. Andrew Harris has been a territorial project for the Lions and has a ton of talent. Whyte had the job of kicker/punter in his graps before making way for Paul McCallum late in the year. The Lions need some if not all of these picks to rise to the top and help take this team to a higher level.
Stability At Quarterback
Casey Printers certainly gave fans of the Lions something to look forward to by his play to end the year. Now the key will be getting to the start of next season with a full camp under his belt, and then keeping him healthy. Going through five QB’s would be tough for any club and for once Santa, it would be nice to have the same QB start every game next year like Edmonton, Saskatchewan and Calgary. Please see what you can do about that.
Best Wishes for Buck Pierce
I really feel for Buck Pierce. I don’t know what the Lions have planned for him, but at his current salary and the almost certainty that Casey Printers is the starter going into camp, it’s hard to see Pierce returning next season. The Lions still have Jarious Jackson, Travis Lulay and Zac Champion under contract and it’s no secret they like what they see in Lulay. Whatever Buck’s fate may be, I wish him all the best. He’s always been great with the fans, and given it all on the field for the BC Lions.
Home Sweet Home
With the Lions moving to a temporary stadium next season, most likely at the old site of Empire stadium, lets hope the club can make Lions home games a tough environment for opponents once again. Three debacles at home last year and two before labor day hurt the Lions in the standings, and probably at the gate too.
Ok, I should stop before I get too greedy. Oh, okay one more thing…let’s get that Grey Cup!
Sometimes you give someone a second chance in life, and they make the most of it. How ironic then that the BC Lions made the most of their second chance against the team that gave it to them just a week ago.
Casey Printers returned to Hamilton for the first time since being released by the Ticats this past off -season and guided the Lions to a 34-27 overtime victory, ensuring the Lions will play for the right to play the Montreal Alouettes next week with a birth in the Grey Cup game on the line.
Printers led the Lions going 24 for 35 for 360 yards and 1 TD, while rushing for another himself. His pocket presence was outstanding on the day and he avoided any major mistakes. Geroy Simon (5 catches, 111 yards) and Emmanuel Arceneaux (6 catches for 120) were Printers’ main targets but the Leos also mixed in dashes of Martell Mallet and the fresh legs of Ian Smart to produce a very solid offensive game plan.
On defense, the Lions silenced their critics who said they couldn’t stop the run, as they held the Ticats to just 36 yards rushing all game, and just 34 to DeAndra’ Cobb who torched them for 267 yards in two games earlier this year. The Lions racked up five sacks on the day, three to Brent Johnson and the other two going to Outstanding Canadian finalist Rickey Foley.
The game was largely a defensive battle but the Lions controlled possession, especially in the first quarter where they had the ball for 10:57 second of the half. Unable to convert in the red zone, the Lions settled for field goals before Printers rushed for his touchdown in the 2nd quarter, giving the Lions a 16-6 lead at the half.
Hamilton had their own problems in the redzone adding a field goal to cut the lead to 16-9, but with 5:55 left in the third they hit pay dirt on a spectacular catch by Dave Stala that tied the game on the extra point, and the Ticats looked to be swinging momentum in their favour, but the Lions would respond on the next drive, with key receptions by Ryan Grice-Mullen and O’Niel Wilson and a pass interference call in the endzone that set up a 1 yard Rolly Lumbala touchdown to restore a seven point advantage for the Lions.
After the Ticats punted on their next possession, they had the Lions backed up 2nd and 15 on their own 8 yard line, Printers hit Emmanuel Arceneaux for a 49 pass to keep the drive alive and give the Lions excellent field position. They added a couple more big Acreneaux receptions to keep the drive going to begin the 4th quarter but the drive ended with a Paul McCallum fielg goal to give the Lions the ten point lead, and things started to look good. McCallum added a single before the Ticats drove and cut the lead to 8 points after a Nick Setta field goal.
The Lions got the ball back with 2:09 left but couldn’t sustain a drive, and had to punt giving the Ticats the chance to drive for the tying score with 1:32 left. And drive they would, with big completions to Arland Bruce, Chris Bauman, Marquay McDaniel before finally capping the drive with a touchdown pass to Stala and a 2 point convert to McDaniel to tie the game at 27-27.
The Lions had 22 seconds to work with and appeared to have worked themselves into position to win the game on a field goal after a completion to Geroy Simon inside the Hamilton 20, but the Lions were flagged for procedure on the play, the seventh such penalty of the game against the Lions and the game ended up in overtime, much to the chagrin of Lions fans.
The Lions lost the coin toss and the Ticats elected to start the extra session on defense. The Lions had been throwing all game and on the first play fropm the Ticat 35 yard line in overtime, they caught the Ticats off guard handing off to Martell Mallet who ripped off a 27 yard run to set the Lions up first and goal. On the next play Printers found Ian Smart who dove for the endzone and broke the plane, giving the Lions a 34-27 lead and forcing the Ticats to try and match their touchdown.
Glenn and company couldn’t get the job done, first on a hand-off to Cobb that went nowhere and then Brent Johnson then sacked Glenn, setting up a 3rd and 19 that fell harmlessly incomplete and the Lions had punched their ticket to Montreal next week.
When: 10:00AM Pacific, Sunday November 15th, 2009
Where: Ivor Wynne Stadium, Hamilton, ON
TV: TSN, TSNHD
Radio: TEAM 1410 AM
The BC Lions were the Hamilton Tiger Cats biggest fans last Sunday, but seven days later they will be enemies in the CFL’s Eastern division semi-final playoff game in Hamilton. The Lions were on playoff life support after losing the final western spot to the Edmonton Eskimos in devastating fashion two days earlier, and the Tiger Cats gave them what they needed to play again by defeating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers convincingly in Winnipeg.
Hamilton will be hosting their first playoff game since 2001 and have been a rejuvenated franchise in 2009. Under the guidance of former Lions personnel guru Bob O’Billovich and head coach Marcel Bellefeuille, the Ticats captured second place in the CFL East with a 9-9 record, including two wins over the Lions.
Let’s take a look at some of the key issues for this game on both sides of the field, starting with the Lions.
BC will enter the game as underdogs, and under a little mystery as well. Just how healthy their quarterbacks are will likely be a closely guarded secret this week. The latest reports at the time of this preview were that Casey Printers was throwing the ball at the club’s practice facility on Sunday. But according to Printers, that didn’t take place and that he’s taking a wait and see attitude. Wally Buono is confident that Printers will start the game under centre. Travis Lulay is also reportedly ready to begin practicing this week, and should be available as the backup, along with Zac Champion. Buck Pierce may be available as the third option, but it would seem unlikely and a little to foolish to have a player dressed that won’t be able to be effective. Jarious Jackson will not be available.
If the Lions can get some consistency at QB in the game, the rest of the offense can be dangerous. Martell Mallett returned last week, and when he was used he was effective. Newcomers Dean Valli and Justin Sorensen need to step up along with the rest of the offensive line to produce an effective ground game, and keep the QB’s out of the first aid room and on the field.
The Lions are going to need a big game from their receivers as well, who were rendered ineffective last by the Eskimos and the QB situation. Geroy Simon and Paris Jackson both had 1000 yard seasons, and newcomer Emmanuel Arceneaux proved to be a valuable addition. Assuming there is someone to throw them the ball, they will all need a big game Sunday.
On special teams, Ryan Grice-Mullen had a strong game for the Lions last week, one of the few bright spots, and he’ll have to be sharp again. But the Lions will need to do a little better job and focus on not allowing the Ticats a short field by allowing big returns against from the likes of Marquay McDaniel.
The bigger concern by far is on defense, where the Lions were really struggled to stop the run all year, and that included 267 yards to the Ticats DeAndra’ Cobb in the two times they faced him this year. Coming off a disastrous game last week against the Eskimos, this is a serious area of worry heading into the playoffs. The Lions led the league in sacks with 42, and the front four will really need to try and pressure Kevin Glenn in addition to shutting down the run. The club needs much better production from linebackers Jojuan Armour, Javier Glatt and Anton McKenzie, who were clearly frustrated last week against the Eskimos to the point of shouting matches on the bench.
The defense appeared deflated and lifeless against the Eskimos, and their pride will have to be a motivating factor this week against Hamilton, who will be ready to play in front of an amped up Ivor Wynne crowd come game time.
Finally the Lions have to stop taking bad penalties. Procedure, offside, two many men, you name it the Lions are doing it. Discipline and focus have to be present for the Lions to have a shot at success.
Hamilton enters the game coming off of impressive wins over Saskatchewan and Winnipeg. Kevin Glenn, who took over the QB spot from Quinton Porter has provided leadership and experience guiding the Winnipeg attack, passing for over 3000 yards and 18 touchdowns. When Glenn is on he can play with anyone, but consistency has plagued him as well.
DeAndra’ Cobb had his coming out party against the Lions in the first few weeks of the season, He finished third in rushing with 1,294 yards and added over 500 yards receiving. In two games against the Lions, he rushed for 267 yards and two touchdowns, while adding another 102 in thru the air. Of course the Lions will also have to contend with the likes of Arland Bruce, Prechae Rodriguez, Dave Stala and Marqauy McDaniel.
The Cat’s offensive line was a huge part of their rebuilding process and is anchored by Dan Goodspeed and Alexandre. Still though they allowed 40 sacks as a unit, and the Lions will look to pressure Glenn as much as possible.
On defense, the Cats average of 24 points/game was second only to the Montreal Alouettes, and they will look to continue that stinginess led by three former BC Lions in Otis Floyd, Markeith Knowlton and Jamal Johnson. You know Floyd in particular would love to stick it to his former club after not being re-signed by the Lions in the offseason. Johnson wanted to return to BC after a failed NFL tryout, but couldn’t get the guarantee of playing time when the Lions were settled on a new defensive scheme using Javier Glatt and Anton McKenzie. Johnson only went on to lead the Ticats in tackles, setting a club record in the process with 109.
On special teams the Cats may enter the game with Jeremy Ito handling the kicking duties which would be just his second CFL game, his first coming last week in Winnipeg. Injured kicker Nick Setta’s status (Quadricep) is unknown.
The BC Lions woke up this morning needing a helping hand from the Hamilton Tiger Cats if they hoped to play in the CFL playoffs next weekend. Their feline cousins in the east came through with a decisive 39-17 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to knock them out of the playoffs and give the Lions another one of their nine lives.
Of course, the Lions put themselves in this position with an embarrassing 45-13 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos Friday night at BC Place.
The night started poorly for the Lions when on his fifth play from scrimmage, Casey Printers injured the thumb on his throwing hand and could not continue. Buck Pierce would be done 15 plays later and the Lions hopes fell on the shoulders of young Zac Champion, who has been on and off the practice roster all year. But even that wouldn’t matter, because the Lions defense was shredded for 260 yards rushing, and another 248 in the air.
It was like the team quit, and for the third time this season at home, fans left BC Place in droves in the third quarter of a game.
The Eskimos ran the ball right down the Lions throats with Arkee Whitlock amassing 165 yards of their impressive total on the night. Ricky Ray went 19 of 26 on the night, with one TD and one interception.
Even the troubles with short yardage were evident again. With BC needing less than a yard at midfield to sustain a drive, they were stuffed as they have been too many times in the last two seasons, and the result was a 14 point turnaround for the Eskimos to end the half. Things just went from bad to downright embarrassing in the second half with no resistance on defense, and and offense that couldn’t move the ball under the guidance of a young and green QB.
Then there was the penalty for two many men on the field that gave the Eskimos seven points instead of three. Whatever could go wrong, went wrong.
“It’s unbelievable,” said slotback Geroy Simon. “We can’t keep a quarterback healthy to save our lives.”
“This is amazing. It’s like we’ve never played football before. How many quarterbacks do we need to go through in a season?”
“This game is the story of our season. It’s biggest game of the year and we don’t show up to play.”
Indeed, it seemed when Printers went out of the game, so did the Lions fight and that was the most discouraging thing of all for the crowd of over 31,000 in attendance.
The Lions will have their work cutout for them next week against a Hamilton club that swept them this year and ran through them much like the Eskimos and other clubs have done all year. With an uncertain quarterbacking situation and many issues to work through over the next week, the Lions will be clear underdogs in the first playoff game to take place in the the Steel City since 2001.
Reports Sunday indicated that Printers thumb my not be as bad as first thought, and Province beat writer Lowell Ullrich reported on his blog that the thumb was definitely not broken, and that Pinters could be ready to practice Tuesday. Travis Lulay is also reportedly ready to start practicing this week, leaving a possible QB rotation of Printers, Lulay and Champion for the game.
The defense will have their pride tested and will have to solve their run stopping deficiencies in a hurry. The Ticats DeAndra’ Cobb will head into the game against the Lions with the confidence he can have success against their run defense after he racked up 369 yards of offense on the Lions in two games, 267 of them along the ground.
The game will also feature a number of former BC Lions facing their old team. Otis Floyd, Jamal Johnson, Matt Kirk and Markeith Knowlton are all former Lions, as well as GM Bob O’Billovich who was with the Lions for years. Should Printers be able to go there would certainly be an interesting storyline there as well.
Friday night’s game was the last game that will be played under the roof of BC Place Stadium. The team will return to it’s roots and a temporary 30,000 seat facility to be built on the old Empire Stadium site at the PNE next season.
On a night when the BC Lions had the chance to treat their fans by earning a playoff berth, the Calgary Stampeders instead played a cruel trick, stealing the victory 28-26 as time expired with a last-second field goal by Sandro DeAngelis, dropping the Lions to 8-9 and into a third-place tie with the Edmonton Eskimos. The Esks come to BC Place on Friday to close out the regular season.
Again it was run defence which would plague the Lions, who yielded over a hundred yards rushing to Calgary’s Joffrey Reynolds, most critically a twenty-nine yard gallop to set up the DeAngelis game-winner.
With a minute and thirty-five seconds remaining on the clock, it looked good for the Lions, taking a 26-25 lead on a huge, 46-yard toss from Casey Printers to a wide open Paris Jackson.
Unfortunately for the Lions, that was about a dozen seconds too many to have left Henry Burris and the Stampeders. Even so, with a different bounce, it might have been enough for the win, as Anton McKenzie took Burris to the turf and knocked the ball away from the Stamps’ QB. Burris was able to recover, though, and on the following play connected with Jermaine Copeland to sustain the drive and set the stage for the Reynolds run and DeAngelis field goal.
The Lions would come out roaring, holding the Stampeders to a two-and-out on the first series of the game and then moving down the field powered by a pair to Printers-to Emmanuel Arceneaux passes- for seven and then sixty yards- to set up the A.J. Harris one yard run for the major.
After the ensuing kickoff, Calgary was again held to two-and-out, and the Lions would move the ball courtesy of another deep throw from Casey Printers, this time to Paris Jackson for thirty-five yards, down to the Calgary 36. The drive would stall there, though, and the Lions would settle for the first of four Paul McCallum field goals to take the early 10-0 edge.
The quarter would close with Calgary getting on the scoreboard, with two completions from Burris to Rob Cote for twenty-eight yards apiece setting the stage for Burris to take the ball in from the one.
With Burris having seemingly found his stride, it was the Lions’ turn for the offense to stagnate. going two-and-out to kick the ball back to the Stampeders. This time, Burris spread the ball around, completing passes to Copeland, Cote,and finally a fifty-three yarder to Romby Bryant to take the ball down to the BC 8. Two plays later, Burris found Nik Lewis in the end zone to make it 14-10, Calgary.
Ryan Grice-Mullen would take the ensuing kickoff seventy-three yards to give the Lions excellent field position, but they’d end up settling for McCallum’s second of the evening, this one from twenty-six yards out.
The Lions would yield a single before closing out the half with another McCallum field goal to take a 16-15 lead to the locker room at the half.
The first twelve minutes of the third quarter would pass without scoring, until McCallum capitalized from twenty-six yards to stretch the lead to four, where it would remain going into the final frame. After Burke Dales found the coffin corner, pinning the Lions at their own seven. After a Printers scramble got the Lions out of the shadow of their own goal posts, a sack would put them right back in them, and McCallum yielded the safety touch.
Burris would go deep again, completing a fifty-three yarder to Bryant before he fumbled, losing the ball to Tad Crawford after Darren Toney knocked it out. The offense was unable to capitalize, though, moving the ball twenty-one yards before kicking it back to Calgary.
Burris moved the Stampeders again, finding Lewis for twenty-three before scrambling for five. Reynolds would carry the ball twice for a combined thirty yards setting up Burris’ second rushing TD from a yard out to put the visitors up by six. with just over six minutes to play. Neither team would mount much of a threat until the three-minute warning.
Then it was Printers’ turn to answer Burris’ fireworks, driving the Lions eighty-six yards for the go-ahead touchdown, capped with the toss to Jackson for the score.
The offense definitely suffers from the absence of Martell Mallett, running for only 67 yards on thirteen attempts, four of those Printers scrambles for a net of 41. Printers’ passing numbers were a respectable 22 of 35 for 337 yards and a touchdown- eight to Geroy Simon for 103 yards, five to Arceneaux for 110 and three for 91 to Jackson. He also threw one interception.
The Lions defence held Burris to 17-of-31, but yielded 306 yards through the air and 140 on the ground. McKenzie, Ricky Foley and Korey Banks all notched sacks for the Lions.