Willes: Don’t panic, it was only one stinker for the B.C. Lions
The Lions are ready to change the sheets and forget all about the bed-messing on Saturday
Heading into the first game of their CFL season, the B.C. Lions gave every indication they were fully prepared for the new campaign.
Quarterback Kevin Glenn, in his 14th year, had stepped in for the injured Travis Lulay and directed an offence that looked efficient and productive through training camp and the pre-season. Stefan Logan had returned after four NFL seasons and gave the Leos a game breaker in the backfield and the return game. As for the defence, it featured six starters who’ve been in the CFL for at least five seasons and figured to be a nasty piece of business.
Now, after their curiously inept performance against the Edmonton Eskimos on Saturday, all that is still true of the Lions. But there was also something about that loss to the Esks which gave pause. There’s an old adage in the Canadian game that anything that happens before Labour Day doesn’t really count, and after digesting Saturday’s defeat, the Lions still sound like a confident, veteran team.
You just didn’t expect they’d be answering some of the questions being asked of them quite this early in 2014.
“I’m not going to say we (colourful expression, rough approximation: made a mess in their bedding),” said Logan. “We performed the way we were supposed to (in the first half) but we got out of sync. We got too comfortable.
“We know what have here. We’re looking forward to this game.”
So, for a variety of reasons, are a lot of people.
The good news about this week is the Lions didn’t have a lot of time to live with the loss to the Esks. On Wednesday they practised in Surrey. On Wednesday evening they flew to Montreal. On Friday, they meet the Alouettes, who have issues of their own following a 29-8 loss to Calgary in their opener.
As for the bad news, well, you can pick from a variety of topics but, for the Lions, the big, red zit in the middle of their forehead concerns the five turnovers the offence handed the Eskimos. That included four interceptions by Glenn, the most egregious of which came in the end zone when the Lions were driving for a touchdown that might have put the game away.
Offensive co-ordinator Khari Jones was asked what he learned from studying the game film from Saturday.
“It showed us we turned the ball over too much,” he answered. “The same thing it showed everyone else.”
Which is about the answer that question deserved.
“There were a couple of reasons (for the interceptions),” Jones continued. “(Glenn) is still getting to know these guys. Maybe he’s pushing too hard at times and guys yining when they should yanging (!). It ended up being the perfect storm but I don’t expect to see that again.”
Glenn, for his part, accepted the inevitable questions in a manner befitting a player in his 14th year. Yes, the turnovers are his responsibility. Yes, he was disappointed in the result. But, no, the offence isn’t broken and, yes, he expects a bounce-back game in Montreal.
“You don’t get alarmed because of what happened,” he said. “You learn from it and you move on. We’ve got guys in the locker-room who are confident enough to know our season isn’t going to be dictated by one game.
“This profession is built on short memory, especially for a quarterback.”
Glenn, in fact, seemed like the perfect choice to step into a situation that has been complicated by the uncertainty over Lulay’s health. The Lions are his seventh CFL stop — including three months with the expansion Ottawa outfit where, technically, he didn’t play a game — and he’s seen just about everything the game can offer. He’s also been productive just about everywhere he’s been so there’s every reason to think Saturday’s loss was a one-off.
“We moved the ball,” said Glenn, who actually completed six of his first seven passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns before things went south. “It wasn’t like we were stagnant as an offence. We had some negative plays and some turnovers and that’s what decided the game. It wasn’t like we got trampled.”
After one bad outing he can say that. It’s only a problem if he’s saying the same thing next week.
“The main thing is we know what we are,” said Jones. “We did it in practice and the two pre-season games. I’m not going to over-analyze the game, especially with a guy with 13 years of experience.”
In other words, there’s no story here. And it would be good if the Lions kept it that way.
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