Khari Jones returns as B.C. Lions' offensive co-ordinator after demotion

 

 
 
 
 
Then-offensive coordinator Khari Jones directs traffic during B.C. Lions mini-camp at the practice facility in Surrey in April 2014.
 

Then-offensive coordinator Khari Jones directs traffic during B.C. Lions mini-camp at the practice facility in Surrey in April 2014.

Photograph by: Arlen Redekop, PNG

SURREY, B.C. - Khari Jones admits his ego took a hit.

Named the B.C. Lions' offensive co-ordinator ahead of the 2014 season, the former CFL quarterback was heavily criticized as the club's attack scored 17 points or less in eight of 18 games before a blowout loss in the playoffs.

That disaster cost head coach Mike Benevides his job, and when Jeff Tedford took over, he chose George Cortez as his offensive co-ordinator and demoted Jones to receivers coach.

"It's always hard when you have to take a step back for any reason, but I didn't let it affect me," said Jones. "I felt very comfortable in the role that I was in."

He will be back in his old role in 2016 after the Lions announced Wednesday that Jones will resume offensive co-ordinator duties under head coach and general manager Wally Buono, who returns to the sidelines for the first time since 2011 following Tedford's resignation.

Sporting a familiar wide smile, Jones said he's grown since his first stint leading the Lions' offence.

"The main thing is experience and taking advantage of the experiences," said Jones, who will also coach the quarterbacks. "It's all about taking that in and doing what comes natural and trusting your instincts. I feel like I have a better trust of not only what the players can do, but what I can do."

Added Buono: "Experience is always a valuable tool. He's more comfortable with the personnel."

That personnel includes second-year quarterback Jonathon Jennings, who grabbed the starting job last season when Travis Lulay went down with an injury.

"He's shown and proven that he's ready to take on the challenge," said Jones. "Now it's just about going to that next level."

B.C., which finished 7-11 last season before bowing out in the CFL West Division semifinal, also announced that Mark Washington will return for his third season as defensive co-ordinator, while Dan Dorazio is back as offensive line coach after spending last year with Saskatchewan.

"Mark Washington is a guy who's growing," said Buono. "Every year I believe he's getting more mature and better equipped."

Veteran CFL coach Marcel Bellefeuille has also been added to the Lions' staff as receivers coach after serving as Winnipeg's offensive co-ordinator for the last 2 1/2 years.

"When we looked at who we wanted to retain, who we wanted to keep, how we wanted to build our coaching staff, it was important for me to try and build good units," said Buono. "(Bellefeuille's) not coming here just as a guy who's going to be a receivers coach. He's coming here as a guy who has a tremendous amount of knowledge and a great background."

In an interesting twist, Bellefeuille gave Jones his start as a CFL assistant when he was the head coach in Hamilton. The pair spent three seasons together with the Tiger-Cats and have remained in touch.

"I know I can talk to him about anything," said Jones. "I know I can throw ideas his way. I will value his opinion, as I will with all the other coaches. Some people might shy away from that experience, but I embrace that. I want those guys with me. I want as much experience as I can (get) because it's going to take all of us to win football games."

Notes: Cortez and special teams co-ordinator Chuck McMann retired after last season. ... Robin Ross will coach B.C.'s linebackers after handling defensive line duties in 2015. Former linebackers coach Johnny Holland is pursuing NFL coaching opportunities. ... The Lions still need to hire a special teams co-ordinator and at least two more assistants. ... Buono declined to say where contract talks stand with both Lulay and star running back Andrew Harris. Both players are set to become free agents next month.

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Then-offensive coordinator Khari Jones directs traffic during B.C. Lions mini-camp at the practice facility in Surrey in April 2014.
 

Then-offensive coordinator Khari Jones directs traffic during B.C. Lions mini-camp at the practice facility in Surrey in April 2014.

Photograph by: Arlen Redekop, PNG

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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