Willes: Travis Lulay absence all the more conspicuous now

 

 
 
 
 
B.C. Lions' quarterback Kevin Glenn, centre, is sacked by Edmonton Eskimos' Marcell Young, right, as Patrick Watkins trails the play during the first half of a CFL football game in Vancouver on Saturday, June 28, 2014.
 
 

B.C. Lions' quarterback Kevin Glenn, centre, is sacked by Edmonton Eskimos' Marcell Young, right, as Patrick Watkins trails the play during the first half of a CFL football game in Vancouver on Saturday, June 28, 2014.

Photograph by: Darryl Dyck, CP

It’s now clear that Travis Lulay will return to the B.C. Lions when his stint on the six-game injury reserve list is completed.

Unless he doesn’t.

But it seems fairly certain that Lulay will suit up for the Leos at some point this season say, between Weeks 7 and 18. Yes, we can say that without fear of contradiction providing, of course, his uncooperative shoulder doesn’t knock him for the season. If that’s the case ­— and we’re not saying that’s the case but it’s been a month since Lulay took part in football-related activity —— it would change some things for the Lions.

How much it would change remains to be seen and, based on Saturday’s evidence, that’s a question that will be asked more than once over the next five weeks. At this point, the only thing you can say for certain about Lulay is you can’t say anything for certain about his injury.

That didn’t seem like a problem before this weekend.

Suddenly, it is.

In their first game of the 2014 season, the Lions dropped a 27-20 decision at BC Place to the Edmonton Eskimos, a team that went 4-14 last year. That was bad enough. But it’s the way they lost control of the game which raised concerns and invited uncomfortable questions about their offence.

Lions quarterback Kevin Glenn went 6-of-7 for 122 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter. Over the next three quarters, he went 12 of 21 for 129 puny yards, threw three back-breaking interceptions in the second half and coughed up a 17-13 lead. When asked for an explanation about the defeat, Glenn answered: “Turnovers.”

That seemed simple enough. The Lions just hope this situation doesn’t get any more complicated.

“I mean, it’s just very uncharacteristic of myself,” Glenn said. “I told the guys, this one’s on me. I take full responsibility.”

And no one was arguing with him.

“You can ask all the questions you want but, at the end of the day, we’re not good enough as a team,” Lions head coach Mike Benevides answered when asked the inevitable Lulay question. “We’ve got to play more like the first 30 minutes than the last 30 minutes. Right now all the games are tough. You just can’t give a team the ball that many times.”

Glenn was brought in as a high-price insurance policy for Lulay this spring and, through training camp and the preseason, his presence seemed to ease the more extreme fears about the quarterback position. But after a promising start on Saturday, the Lions’ offence lost its way and started turning over the ball at an alarming rate.

The game turned in the third quarter when an Adam Bighill interception set up Glenn on the Esks’ 35-yard line. Five plays later, with the ball now on the Esks’ 12, Glenn threw late across his body to the back of the end to Shawn Gore. Not surprisingly, Edmonton DB Aaron Grymes came down with the ball. On the next series, Glenn was intercepted again, leading to the Esks’ go-ahead touchdown. And in the fourth quarter, with the Lions’ driving into Esks’ territory for the potential tying touchdown, he threw this third pick of the second half.

Just so you know, Glenn was also picked off by defensive lineman Eddie Steele in the first quarter. You know it’s not your day when you’re intercepted by a defensive lineman.

“We’ve got to watch film tomorrow, flush it, then get back to the lab,” Glenn said.

When asked if his travails were the result of a new quarterback playing with a new group of receivers, Glenn answered: “Nah, it was some bad decisions, especially the one down in the end zone.”

But something went terribly wrong in the second half. The Lions’ defence held up their end of the bargain before the turnovers simply wore them down. As for the rest of it, the Lions never established a running game and their vaunted return game, with Stefan Logan, was a non-factor.

“The defence did their job,” said Logan. “On offence, we have to do a better job.

“In the second half we had no gas. We just fell flat on our face. We looked real boring out there. We need to get that spark back, whether we’re down or up.”

But it usually falls to the quarterback to provide that spark and, this day, Glenn couldn’t strike a match. The good news is this is his 14th season in the league and he’s been through the wringer more than once.

As for the bad news, we’ll find out soon enough if there’s bad news.

“They’ll be fine,” said Benevides. “We just have to be a lot better across the board. We all have to be better. “

“I’ve seen it all,” said Glenn. “I’ve done it. Like I said, it’s very uncharacteristic.”

Both he and the Lions better hope so.

 
 
 
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B.C. Lions' quarterback Kevin Glenn, centre, is sacked by Edmonton Eskimos' Marcell Young, right, as Patrick Watkins trails the play during the first half of a CFL football game in Vancouver on Saturday, June 28, 2014.
 

B.C. Lions' quarterback Kevin Glenn, centre, is sacked by Edmonton Eskimos' Marcell Young, right, as Patrick Watkins trails the play during the first half of a CFL football game in Vancouver on Saturday, June 28, 2014.

Photograph by: Darryl Dyck, CP

 
B.C. Lions' quarterback Kevin Glenn, centre, is sacked by Edmonton Eskimos' Marcell Young, right, as Patrick Watkins trails the play during the first half of a CFL football game in Vancouver on Saturday, June 28, 2014.
JUNE 28 2014. BC Lions quarterback  Kevin Glenn winds up for a throw against Edmonton Eskimos in CFL action at BC Place  in  Vancouver, B.C.  on June 28, 2014.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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