B.C. Lions fans’ feedback: Don’t mess with success
Most readers want minor changes, not wholesale demolition of team
VANCOUVER — Tinkering, and not demolition, is the preferred course of action for fans of the B.C. Lions when asked earlier this week what they’d like to see happen to the team’s roster during the off-season, following a devastating loss to the Calgary Stampeders in the Nov. 18 West Division Final.
Sixty-six per cent, when asked what they’d do if they were GM Wally Buono, felt there is no reason to do a massive overhaul to a team that finished first overall in the CFL with a 13-5 record and won the Grey Cup in 2011.
Thirteen per cent felt the loss to Calgary was a fluke and no changes should be made, while 20 per cent felt the Lions were getting long in the tooth and wanted to see a youth movement.
Some of the comments from fans and readers included:
David Holmes, Vancouver: “While I am more in line with a “stay the course” philosophy regarding the Lions’ 2013 campaign without the sweeping changes, they definitely need to upgrade certain positions.
“At slotback they can keep Geroy Simon or Arland Bruce, but not both. Not with talent like Courtney Taylor and Nick Moore, both of whom have proven that they can stretch the field and get better separation from defenders at this stage than Simon and Bruce.
“It’s time to pass the kicking reins to Hugh O’Neill, a former first-round pick whose time is now. Paul McCallum’s still accurate from inside 40 yards, but his punts have increasingly become an adventure, and we’re not getting enough yards on kickoffs.
“On the offensive line, priority at the draft table is to find a centre and guard where the Lions are woefully thin. Angus Reid only has one more year left in him, if he decides to come back, and Jon Hameister-Ries, Dean Valli and Jesse Newman have serious knee issues.
“Other than those positions, I am satisfied we can get another year or two from our veteran defensive backfield of Dante Marsh, Korey Banks and Ryan Phillips. I would be inclined to cut Byron Parker adrift in the off-season though, as he was a disappointment in 2012.”
John Ruryk, Vancouver: “I think the offensive coordinator (Jacques Chapdelaine) needs replacing, as the play-calling was unimaginative, unresourceful and boringly banal. The 11 year-old sitting beside me watching the West Division Final called almost all of the plays correctly. Coach Chapdelaine did not take advantage of opportunities presented.
“As far as general manager Wally Buono making changes, perhaps he is a little past it, in terms of favouring certain players at the expense of others. Markeith Knowlton comes to mind; Buono gets rid of him, and he goes on to become an all-star.”
Ed Coughman, Vancouver: “The defensive front needs to get younger. Eric Taylor should be replaced and Khalif Mitchell is too much of a distraction. Arland Bruce should give way to the younger receivers and Geroy Simon could be placed as the fifth receiver.
“Paris Jackson doesn’t seem to do much and should also go. We also need to replace either Dean Valli or Jon Hameister-Ries with a steadier guard. At least one younger defensive back should be moved in as well. That’s all the tinkering that needs to be done.”
Tony Parsons, Vancouver: Offensive coordinator Jacques Chapdelaine has shown a lack of creativity in establishing effective offensive plays. He seems to prefer the old, tried and true — OK, but why tip off your opponents to the point that they now have a copy of your playbook.
“It is fairly apparent that the offensive line was becoming less and less effective as the season passed. I have great respect for Angus Reid, but age and its effect on the body and mind results in inevitable decline.
“And please do not think about releasing coach Mike Benevides. He had a good season, and will have many more. I like his composure at the bench and never see him chewing out players. He appears to project a calm and a steady focus.”
Patrick of Vancouver: “All of the players mentioned in your article on Wednesday are proud and talented individuals.
“Kicker Paul McCallum is good from inside the 42-yard line on field goals but the leg strength did not allow sufficient yardage on kickoffs and punts. Time to wean in understudy Hugh O’Neill.
“Arland Bruce was the right player at the right time last year but now he is too expensive. Geroy Simon needs to take a pay cut and bow out gradually with pride. We will retire your number and it is time to mentor.
“Angus Reid needs to play another year and protect Lulay. His commentating career can go on hold.”
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