Lions, fans hoping Printers will shine

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:44 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- With his mug at the centre of the B.C. Lions' marketing campaign, there's no doubt Casey Printers is the face of the franchise.

As the mobile quarterback prepares to return to the turf for Friday's clash with the Calgary Stampeders at Empire Field, fans are hoping he can be their saviour, too.

"You know how it is -- the quarterback is the guy. He's the captain of the huddle," said Lions running back Jamal Robertson. "Obviously, being the captain of the huddle, people put pressure on him, but it's still a team game. We've gotta rally around Casey and do our jobs to make him shine."

The Lions (1-6) need somebody -- anybody -- to assume a starring role on offence, and Printers could provide a spark as he returns after missing four games with a knee injury.

Printers was at the helm at the beginning of their current six-game losing skid, completing 56.8% of his passes for 591 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in three games, including a season-opening win in Edmonton.

Second-stringers Travis Lulay and Jarious Jackson both struggled in relief, combining for one touchdown pass and eight interceptions while the regular starter watched from the sidelines.

No wonder fans are thrilled to see Printers back in action.

And if the seven-year CFL veteran is worried about their lofty expectations, he certainly wasn't sharing after Thursday's walkthrough. Asked twice whether he was feeling any pressure, Printers shook his head and repeated, "Not at all."

If anything, his teammates are feeling the heat to support their starting signal-caller.

"The thing is, Casey can't win the game by himself," said Lions slotback Geroy Simon. "Casey's gotta do his job. I gotta do my job. The line has to do their job. Everybody just start with doing their own job."

With the CFL's top-ranked defence in town, it's going to be a tough job.

Printers, though, seems to be brimming with confidence. Clearly in a cantankerous mood for Thursday's media scrum, he scoffed at the suggestion the Lions might need a morale boost.

"When you're 1-6, if you lose confidence, then you will tank it all the way," he said. "Being 1-6, it doesn't show the character of this football team. It doesn't show what we really are. It's just the fact that we haven't outscored people. That's the only difference."

Lions fans are hoping he can be the difference.


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