Bring on the Riders
With the pre-season exhibition opener against the Saskatchewan Roughriders fast approaching, the BC Lions are both excited and hopeful to get this season underway.
With Coach Mike Benevides applying a little more action, tempo and aggression into this years training camp, he is looking to bust the rust out of the off-season and avoid another sleepy start to the Lions early season schedule.
Veteran players are noting the change of atmosphere at this years camp under the new head man, hopefully this results in a positive start after going 0-5 to start last year.
While the weather in Kamloops has been less than sweltering there have been some heated position battles as the playing roster gets sorted out.
Every rep at training camp has been electrical as the DB’s try to outdo their competition.
Along the defensive front, free agent Maurice Evans has been a noticeable surprise with his exceptional skills.
Evans is a unique talent as he is big enough to play the interior spots but agile enough to play off the outside.
Offensively, Travis Lulay and his arsenal of receivers have appeared to be on the same page since camp broke open on June 3rd. Andrew Harris has continued to perform well and he has been pushed effectively by both Stu Foord and Anthony Stewart.
The biggest concerns are surrounding the O-Line with a multitude of early knee issues. While it seems the injury bug has hit the guard position the other OL spots should be ready for the season opener against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers June 29th.
With the big boys dropping, Lions brass have already gone into emergency signings.
To date there have been 8 transactions for the Leos.
2 Signings are OL Patrick Kabongo and WR Ernest Jackson.
6 Released players are WR’s Juan Nunez and Darnell Jenkins, RB’s Taylor Atwood and Nic Grigsby, QB Corey Leonard and DT Teryl White.
Kabongo was brought when Jesse Newman and Dean Valli were lost to knee injuries. It is also reported that Jon Hameister-Ries is also out with a knee injury.
Time will tell if the Lions bring in additional support for this position.
Rumours swirl around draft pick OL Matt Norman, who’s had an excellent camp, indicating he’ll be heading back to the University of Western Ontario to finish off his degree.
To QB or Not to QB
With the release of Corey Leonard, there is a possibility of bringing in a 4th QB to the rotation.
After a quick glance of possible free agent QB’s available 3 possibilities come off the page that would look good in Orange.
- First: Chris Leak. Anthony Calvillo’s back-up in Montreal and former University of Florida star. He’s versatile and familiar with the CFL game.
- Second: Tyler Palko, the one-time Alouette and former Kansas City Chief is a more traditional pocket QB who had a decent career at the University of Pittsburgh.
- Finally third choice: University of Oregon’s own Dennis Dixon. This dual threat just may light it up with the wide open CFL field and the Lions short-passing, quick hitting offense.
With just over 24 hours to go before Wednesday’s tilt with Saskatchewan, Lions hopefuls are still eager to impress Coach Mike Benevides and it appears that many spots are still up for grabs.
Lions kick-off the preseason this Wednesday June 13th at BC Place.
Cheers, The Bartender