Lions Set To Finish Strong

Tuesday, October 9, 2007 - 02:00PM

Injuries fail to stop CFL's best

By Kent Gilchrist,
Vancouver Province

With four games left in the regular season, there are no more mountains to put in front of the B.C. Lions.

Besides having to wear the bull's eye as defending Grey Cup champion and play against a more-fired-up opponent, the Lions have always had some other little challenges. There has, for instance, been an occasional injury or two. First to No. 1 quarterback Dave Dickenson and then to No. 2 Buck Pierce. Veteran all-star corner Dante Marsh was on the injured list for nine games and joining him in rehab for a couple were middle linebacker Javy Glatt and outside linebacker Otis Floyd. Then a couple of more starters in the secondary and finally last week to punter/kicker Paul McCallum.

Through it all, the Lions have performed as if nothing was missing and through all the adversity developed a bring-it-on attitude. It's as if they were saying: "We're so certain in our ability to overcome, go ahead and tie that arm behind our backs and we'll beat you anyway."

The most recent example of winning in the face of unusually calamitous circumstance was Friday when they went to Winnipeg and beat the Blue Bombers 26-20. The difference just happened to be the number of points 11-year veteran Bret Anderson scored as the substitute place kicker for McCallum. The bring-it-on part was that Anderson had never before kicked a field goal in his CFL career and both of them were longer than 40 yards in typically windy Winnipeg where swirling conditions are the norm. It's another example of mental toughness from a group that simply enjoys proving over and over just how strong it is.

"The situation," says coach/general manager Wally Buono, "has given more people the opportunity to perform. Bret is a pro. They are a mentally- tough team. That's an ingredient you look and strive for, but you don't always have it."

Well, now they're facing something new. There's no mountain to climb this week, only the lowly Edmonton Eskimos.

The Leos have 10 wins already, two more than any other team in the CFL, and should be a cinch to lock up first place in the next two weeks with a pair of games against the Eskimos, who seem to have misplaced what little heart they had with a season-ending shoulder injury to quarterback Ricky Ray.

Nothing negative happened in the Lions victory over the best team in the East on Friday. Not only that, the injured are starting to come back to full health, which leaves you cogitating just how good the team might have been had it not lost Dickenson, Pierce and all those other starters. But that's digressing.

The only questions the Lions have to answer this week are: Can they play up to their potential without some added incentive? Can they keep the edge with things actually looking up, health-wise?

Besides debating accusations they are the dirtiest team in the league, the only thing at their disposal is their record. They have four games remaining and if they won all four it would be the most in the history of the Lions.

Last year's 13-5 record was matched in 2003 and 1999. Four wins to head into the playoffs would give them a 14-3-1 slate.

It's not quite like playing without your two best quarterbacks, but when you're so clearly superior you use whatever you can.

Thanks for the article everyone can see on the homepage.

What the bc girls going to lift weights now?

I dont see a clear favorite to win the Grey Cup. Everybody except Hamilton (sorry guys) have had good points to the season but, nobody even the Lions havent looked like they have got it all together. I cant look at any team and say yah there awesome. BC is winning but there not dominating thats for sure.

Have to agree that this is Buono's most impressive regular season in his career thus far. He's the only coach I know who could manage to keep his team in first despite all the other things going on. As a Lions fan, this regular season is already more satisfying than last, even though it's not quite as dominant. We are proving that no matter who we have out on the field, the Lions can win anytime, anywhere. Winning in Sask twice, Winnipeg, Toronto, Calgary is no easy feat but doing it with your third-string QB shows something more.

Love the last line as well: "It's not quite like playing without your two best quarterbacks, but when you're so clearly superior you use whatever you can."

Guys yes the Lions are favorites no doubt about it. I have one question what happens if they fail? Remember Wally had good teams in the 1990's and well he lost many important games on the way. Becareful pay back is going to be tough to handle.

2004 with an 11-0 start wasn't that long ago. Thats what makes sports so much interesting.....on any given day...

All I can say is remember the 16-2 Eskimos lost the 9-9 Riders in 89.. or remember the 82 GC when the Ottawa Rough Riders gave the Eskimos quite a scare in the GC that year, the Esks barely squeaked out a victory after being thoroughly outplayed in the 1st half of that game. Yes, the Lions are the class of the CFL but bad games happen at the absolute worst times...

lol. "when you're clearly superior". now that's a funny line. They are the best team in the league but if they don't bring their A game, they can lose to almost anyone. They are not "cleary superior" as much as they are very well coached and they show a never quit attitude. That reporter is pretty cocky. Wonder if he's the type of over-the-top guy who will call for Buono's firing should the Lions lose?

You’re a real treat.

I agree with her 100%.

Good.

Am I the first to post an article from the website? Definitely not. jm02 just can't STAND the article - daaamn!

It has nothing to do with "standing" the article or not. I already read it on the front page, about an hour before you posted it. Generally, when something is found on the front page, it's deemed unnecessary to post it here. Common sense should have told you that.

It might be nice if you would post something besides just the lions as well.

You're right, you're not. Your buddy, RLR did exactly the same thing with another "BC is great" article a couple of weeks ago and got the same "Huh??" reaction you are getting.

To me, it is not that you guys post the article (although I am fully with jm02 on this - don't post what is in the home page; at best, make a link), it's that you add no insight to it or anything. To post it with nothing adds no value to what can be seen from it in the home page. Having said that, I just know that the the text you would add would just be piling on the "BC is the greatest-BC can do no wrong-BC is hard done by and is still great" same old stuff, so even that would add no value or give no insight. So just don't bother ...

You may not have seen RLR's thread (I'm betting you did though) - others just can't help but conclude that the only reason you guys do this kind of thing is because you are conceited - let's show the world a million times that BC is great: if they hear it enough, maybe everyone will believe it. Seems to have worked for you two already ...

Z zZ ZZZZ zzzzz zZZZZZZZZZZZ Opps!!! sorry.. I feel asleep after the word... Best

Thanks for the article. Did any of you stop to think that maybe people don't read the front page everyday and would like to read articles a day or two old?

I for one am thankful he took the time to post this great article. Gosh, some people are very ungracious on these forums.

lmao - that is a priceless post...comedic genius, right there...

I like the newspaper clipping here when they post them so I dont have to look for them escpecially from the other provinces. It takes too long to look them all up.