July 4, 2012
Still room for Lions to improve after win
By HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency
VANCOUVER - Angus Reid set the tone for the B.C. Lions’ second week shortly after the team’s season opening victory last Friday.
Fresh off the hubbub from the title-banner raising, Geroy Simon’s record-setting mark, and the convincing 33-16 win, the veteran centre said post-game that the Grey Cup defending champs still require polish, adding there’s a need to improve despite winning.
The team echoed that mentality — and that dedication to not being complacent — this week and head coach Mike Benevides praised the approach Tuesday.
“That’s what we need to do, that’s how it’s going to be every week,” Benevides said. “Last week was great but the fact that those pros are in the room and they’re saying we need to be better … that’s exactly what you want.
“There’s been a tremendous standard of excellence set here, and the expectations are high. The men know that and it’s a great group of veterans that know we have to be better every day in what we do.”
Although they won by a 17-point differential while holding the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to 185 net offensive yards compared to their own 329, the Lions felt they should have finished by a larger margin on the scoreboard. It’s not a matter of over-confidence or cockiness, rather one of self-awareness when it comes to mistakes and misplays.
“We went to the red zone four times, I think, and set up for field goals (instead of touchdowns),” running back Andrew Harris said. “Those are things we can’t do against better teams later in the season. At the same time, we weren’t really worried during the game. We marched and scored when we needed to. There’s still that confidence that we can do it but there’s still lots of things we can work on.”
Tuesday following practice, the offence spoke about cutting down on penalties, working on their execution, and not leaving points on the field, especially when in good scoring position.
The defence stressed a need to force more turnovers and make more big plays, having dropped a couple sure-interceptions against the Bombers.
“Definitely finish the plays, that’s definitely the focus for us,” said defensive back Ryan Phillips. “We’ve supposedly got a lot of play makers, at least on paper we do. Yes, we did play well as a whole defence but we did leave some plays out there as well. We felt like the scoreboard shouldn’t have been as much as it (was).”
The Lions will be without linebacker Jason Arakgi, who has a fracture in his hand, this Friday against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. B.C. also made their first practice roster switch of the season, signing linebacker Justin Conn and releasing 2012 draft pick Jordan Verdone.