Lions The Top of the Food Chain.

Jarious JacksonThe B.C. Lions can inch closer towards something that, at times this season, looked as improbable as nice weather in October.

That goal that looked seemingly out of reach in August was to win the West Division and secure home field advantage in the Western Championship on November 17th.

Two losses in a row to division rival Saskatchewan in B.C. Place on Aug. 2 and a loss to the best team in the East, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (22-21) had many around the city of Vancouver questioning the character of this football club, and a home field playoff berth looked very much in question during the middle of summer.

Dave Dickenson had been sidelined since July 13 with a concussion after getting crunched by Saskatchewan’s Fred Perry and quarterback number two Buck Pierce had been sidelined with a shoulder injury. This left the Lions nation to get their first real look at Jarious Jackson, the big third-string quarterback who had seen most of his CFL playing time on short-yardage situations.

Well, let’s say that the first few games for Jackson weren’t his best. In the 21-9 loss to Saskatchewan, Jackson threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter and couldn’t establish much of an offence through the entire game.

But a lot has changed since the middle of August. The Lions have roared their way back to the top of the CFL food chain on the heels of an 11-3-1 record and some gutsy efforts that included a topsy-turvy victory last weekend against the fourth place Edmonton Eskimos, 24-18.

But what brought this change on? Surely, Wally Buono does not have a designated light switch that he just decided to flip on one day in the Lions dressing room in B.C. Place Stadium. Since the loss to Winnipeg in August, the Lions offence has looked as dynamic as it has been in the past five years, and it’s been led by third-stringer Jackson.

Jackson has kept it simple though. It sounds cliche, but that’s really what he has been doing. He has been making smarter decisions and reading the defence better than he was when he first took over from Pierce and Dickenson. Every receiver is seeing the ball, which includes more passes to Geroy Simon, the team’s biggest playmaker.

Not only has the Lions passing game been solid, the running game has been harder to stop than a Dodge pickup truck on the Trans Canada Highway. Joe Smith and Ian Smart have done a remarkable job splitting the duties at running-back and has given the running game a new look that includes sheer power in Smith, and quickness and finesse in Smart.

When you have a solid passing game and a deceptive running game, it can cause major problems for defences around the league.

Enough offence. The defence ain’t bad either. In fact, if it weren’t for the Lions defence in the late stages against the Eskimos, B.C. may have been handed their fourth loss of the season. But, with the peskie Eskies knocking on the Lions den, the defence put up the wall and forced numerous incompletion with Edmonton in prime scoring position.

A stifling defence and a powerful offence can be a lethal combination and the Lions have that, which is why they have been on a tear for the past month and which is why they will no doubt be a strong candidate to repeat as Grey Cup Champions.


One Response

  1. […] sovereignty.   There are a plethora of “Tiger Nations” in a variety of sports, Lions Nations littered (tee hee!) across the continent, and both East and West Rangers Nations.   Confusingly, […]

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