TORONTO - David Braley knows this much.
One of his Canadian Football League teams is going to win this week, and the following week, Braley is guaranteed of experiencing the joy of victory again.
That’s because his Toronto Argonauts and his B.C. Lions will square off with each other in a home-and-home set, starting Friday night at the Rogers Centre and concluding eight days later in Vancouver.
Through much of the first eight games of the 2011 CFL regular season, only losses piled up. The Lions and Argos both lug a 2-6 record into Labour Day weekend, and Braley is not impressed.
“Very difficult, very difficult,” Braley said in a telephone interview on Tuesday afternoon.
“We made great progress (last season), going 9-9 in Toronto and after a 1-7 start in B.C., finishing at 8-10. We were hoping to cement a (playoff) position in both cases. I’m disappointed in the results overall with both clubs. You know me, I like good football.”
Though he has not witnessed much with either of his teams, Braley, who has owned the Lions since 1997 and took the Argos over early last year, remains optimistic. In Lions head coach Wally Buono, he has the man who has won more CFL games than any other person; in Argos head coach Jim Barker, he has the man who was named the 2010 CFL coach of the year.
“Absolutely,” Braley said. “Remember, in Toronto, we had three- and four-win seasons. The team is a lot better now than it was.
“Steven Jyles is coming off the injured list (next week) and he should be ready to take a spot. There is more heat on the quarterback for them to improve.
“But it does look like (Cleo Lemon) is getting better and the defence is making adjustments.”
Braley is encouraged with the fact the Lions won two of three prior to their bye week, and were in other games. Of their six losses, the Lions have fallen by fewer than nine points in four.
And he likes a receiving corps that includes youngsters Shawn Gore and Akeem Foster, with Marco Iannuzzi not far behind.
“There were great expectations after the Lions turned it around last season,” Braley said. “They’ve made a number of adjustments already, but I really think the Lions are going to surprise some people.”
As much as the losing bothers him, Braley said he has not been bothering Barker or Buono. Both also serve as their respective team’s general manager, and Braley tries to keep an arm’s length distance. Though Braley plans to be at both games, he’s not planning on serious meetings with either Barker or Buono.
“This week, I don’t talk as much to either coach,” Braley said. “I don’t want to question the football mindset.”
At least Braley knows he will have a win to celebrate. Another loss? That’s a given.
“We’re going to have one team win and one team lose, and that’s the bottom line,” Braley said. “We have to take whatever we can.”