Home
 
Choose Your City
Change City

B.C. Lions finally getting offensive

SURREY, B.C. - After stumbling around in the dark for the first half of the season the B.C. Lions offence has finally found the light.

SURREY, B.C. - After stumbling around in the dark for the first half of the season the B.C. Lions offence has finally found the light.

The 3-7 Lions have used a two-game win streak to crawl out of the basement and move into third place in the CFL West. The 75 points B.C. has scored in the last two games matches what the team scored in the first four contests of the year.

Quarterback Casey Printers, who threw for his first 300-yard game of the season in last week's 37-16 demolishing of the Toronto Argonauts, said it all comes down to confidence.

"Our younger guys are more confident in what they are doing,'' Printers said Wednesday. "The veterans guys are stepping up to the roles we have been asked to perform.

"It's an all-around team effort. We decided, it's been a choice, to turn this thing around.''

The Lions were still facing questions on defensive end Ricky Foley's flip-flop. Foley signed a contract with TorontoS on Tuesday less than 24 hours after the Lions announced they had agreed to terms with the top Canadian player from 2009.

Printers said Foley's agent Paul Sheehy was the one directing the comedy of errors.

"Everybody wants to put it on the player," said Printers. "Really it's the representation that is trying to do the best for the player.

"Ricky just did what any guy would do. He took the advice of the people around him. I can't say anything bad about him. He's a regular human being that made a decision.''

Wally Buono, B.C.'s coach and general manager, denied the Foley situation looked worse because Hamilton businessman David Braley owns both the Argonauts and Lions.

"That's not the way David does business,'' said Buono. "He doesn't deal in the everyday operations.

"That has never been his style. David has a tremendous amount of integrity.''

Buono didn't even sound too perturbed that money played a role in Foley's decision.

"It's the business of our sport,'' said Buono. "It is a business at times which is very cruel and at times very selfish.

"When a club has to cut a player they don't take into consideration past loyalties and past performances. When a player has to make a decision on what's best for him, he has to do that. I'd rather not have a player here that is not committed, whether it's Ricky or anybody else.''

Printers has thrown four touchdown passes in B.C.'s wins over Toronto and Montreal. That is more than he threw in his previous four starts.

"Confidence (begets) more confidence,'' said Printers. "If you go out there and play fast, play hard, and play together, the ball starts bouncing your way.''

Offensive guard Jon Hameister-Ries said during B.C.'s seven-game losing streak the team was like a picture slightly out of focus. A little fine-tuning and everything has become clearer.

"We have worked out little things," said Hameister-Ries. "Before, when we weren't doing so well, we had little things we needed to correct.

"Now we are starting to correct things and it's working for us.''

One area that still needs improving is pass protection. The Lions gave up eight sacks against the Argonauts.

It's something the Lions don't want to see repeated when B.C. plays the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (5-5) Saturday night at Empire Field.

"It's way too many,'' said Hameister-Ries.

Buono said one of the biggest reasons for the Lions being more offensive is Printers getting over a knee injury which kept him out of four games. He's more mobile and can scramble to find receivers.

"The fact that Casey is healthy now, he can get away from the rush and make the big plays,'' said Buono. "It gives everyone else that little bit more confidence.

"The offensive line is a little bit better which makes everybody else better. A shuffling of the deck with the receivers hasn't hurt.''

Slotback Geroy Simon and wide receiver Paris Jackson have been moved to the same side of the field. For a defence, that's like facing a double-barrel shotgun.

While the Lions seem to have shifted into gear, highly touted running back Jamall Lee seems to be stuck in neutral. The New Westminster, B.C., native, playing in his second season with the Lions, has just seven catches for 96 yards. He also has just two carries for 16 yards.

Lee, 23, was a player B.C. made an effort to get in the 2009 Canadian Draft. The Lions made a trade with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats so they could take him third overall.

At Bishop's University the six-foot-one, 221-pound Lee was the CIS's leading rusher in 2008 with 1,202 yards on 182 carries. He signed with the Lions late last season after a pair of NFL tryouts with Carolina and Miami.

So far this year Lee has looked like a piece of a puzzle looking for the right fit. He's been used some at slotback, mostly as a blocking fullback.

While Lee has struggled with the learning curve, rookie running backs Yonus Davis and Jerome Messam have graduated to the next level.

"For me it will be a lot longer process than some other guys that get put in right away and are doing well,'' said Lee. "I will just keep developing personally and will just keep getting better on the field.''

Buono is willing to be give Lee more time.

"He's got a lot of years ahead of him,'' said Buono. "Some guys grasp things faster. Some guys take more time.

"With Jamall, we maybe have not had an exact role for him. He's been very productive in what he's been asked to do. He's a very good special teams player. If we get the ball to him in space, he's been productive that way. There is only one football and there are a lot of guys.''

 
Consider AlsoFurther Articles