VANCOUVER - Winning or not, tough decisions have to be made in sports.
And for the B.C. Lions, who boasts a league-best 7-3 record, a rather interesting dilemma awaits them this week. In hosting the East Division-leading Toronto Argonauts at BC Place Saturday, the Leos are faced with a “good problem” — their receiving corps is a logjam of nine healthy-and-capable receivers waiting at the ready to step into the lineup.
“When you’re struggling to put guys on the field because there’s too many, that’s definitely good to have,” B.C. quarterback Travis Lulay said. “That’s a testament to those guys and guys being able to improve and being able to answer the call when they get an opportunity.
“I’m glad I don’t have to make that decision because there are a number of good football players.”
Leading the way, as usual, is the CFL’s all-time top receiver, Geroy Simon, who missed last Saturday’s 43-10 win over the Montreal Alouettes with a hamstring injury. The long-time Lion claims he’s fully recovered and ready for the Boatmen.
Alongside Simon, the regulars consist of the club’s leading receiver, Arland Bruce, as well as Akeem Foster and Shawn Gore. Then, there’s first- and second-year players Ernest Jackson, Nick Moore and Marco Iannuzzi, who each had a touchdown against the Als in combining for 12 catches and 145 yards. Rounding out the receiving corps are veteran Paris Jackson, who has been used in a limited role this season, and sophomore Kierrie Johnson, a speedy wide receiver touted to be amongst the starters this season before fracturing his left forearm during Week 3.
“KJ” — as his teammates call him — got some first-team reps Tuesday and is “most definitely” ready to go if called upon. Of course, there is also versatile running back Andrew Harris, who has been a viable passing option for Lulay with 404 receiving yards to date.
“There’s a lot of guys that are ready to play,” head coach Mike Benevides said. “It’s a good problem to have but right now the guys are improving and progressing and growing, which is what you need.”
The team can also use the extra weapons to their advantage in being able to throw different looks at opposing defences and being able to spread around the offence.
“Defence can’t key in and say, ‘Oh, every situational play they like to go to this guy because he’s their money guy.’” Lulay said. “When you have more than one guy like that, now they have to play honest and hopefully you have more opportunities to convert some of those tough situations.”