Defence can be even better: Lions' Phillips

The Lions' Ryan Phillips (No. 21) is pleased with the team's defence this year so far, but thinks...

The Lions' Ryan Phillips (No. 21) is pleased with the team's defence this year so far, but thinks there is room for improvement. (CARMINE MARINELLI, 24 HOURS)

HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:41 PM ET

It was a sore spot for the B.C. Lions last year but the defence have managed to turn their play around just three games into the season.

Their best showing so far came last Friday when the 12-man unit, which included five rookies, held the Grey Cup champs Montreal Alouettes to 16 points, with two of those coming from a Paul McCallum safety touch.

“It definitely shows the potential we have as a defence, to hold a high-power offence like that for no touchdown is a big thing,” said defensive half back Ryan Phillips. “That gives us a lot to build on and a lot to look forward to.”

The numbers don’t lie. The Lions have allowed 373 net yards against per game, which is third least in the CFL. They have given up an average of 21 points per game (least), and have allowed only one passing touchdown. Despite the improvements, Phillips says the defence haven’t executed at their best yet, at least not until they start piling up the interceptions – they have none – and stop taking undisciplined penalties.

“As far as the secondary goes, until we start making more plays, we’re not going to consider ourselves great yet,” said the six-year veteran. “When we start making those big crucial plays, the skies the limit for us.”

Heading into Friday’s game against the Argonauts, Philips says the defence’s approach to facing Toronto quarterback Cleo Lemon – a CFL rookie – will differ from last week’s matchup against veteran QB Anthony Calvillo.

“You’re going to take your time with a rookie quarterback and think that he hasn’t seen a lot of coverages and things like that up here in the [league],” he said. “You might be able to pressure him more and get him to make more worse decisions.”

Meanwhile, Casey Printers went in for an MRI Tuesday and had a limited role in practice, where he showed up

late. Coach Wally Buono said at this point Printers is slated as the starting quarterback against the Argos Friday.


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