Ed Hervey already used to Lions colours as B.C. general manager

Dan Ralph, Canadian Press

It hasn’t taken Ed Hervey long to get used to his new colours.

Hervey became the B.C. Lions general manager Nov. 30, less than eight months after being fired by the Edmonton Eskimos. That ended Hervey’s 18-year association with the franchise as a player, scout and GM.

“Oh yeah, I look good in orange,” Hervey said with a chuckle during a telephone interview following the CFL president and GM meetings in Banff, Alta. “I was fortunate to be in Edmonton for as long as I was and take nothing but great memories from there and had some exciting memories (three Grey Cup wins).

“But I’m also happy to be a part of the B.C. Lions. I’m looking forward to the days ahead and hopefully the success that comes with it.”

Hervey, 44, replaces Wally Buono, who’ll remain the Lions’ vice-president of football operations and head coach for the 2018 season. Buono has the most head-coaching Grey Cup victories (five) and regular-season wins (266) in league history, but B.C. (7-11) finished last in the West Division last year and missed the playoffs for the first time in 21 seasons.

It was certainly a dismal season for the Lions, who were 3-6-0 at home, 4-5-0 on the road and 3-7-0 within the West Division. B.C. often shot itself in the foot, leading the CFL in turnover ratio (-19), sacks allowed (49), quarterback pressures (141) and interceptions (28).

Quarterback Jonathon Jennings also had a down year. After passing for 5,226 yards and 27 TDs in 2016, the 25-year-old threw for 3,539 yards, 16 TDs and a career-high 19 interceptions last season.

There were bright spots.

Receivers Bryan Burnham (81 catches, 1,202 yards, seven TDs) and Manny Arceneaux (100 catches, 1,137 yards, six TDs) were among the league’s best while running back/returner Chris Rainey led all players with 3,181 combined yards. Linebacker Solomon Elimimian had a CFL-record 144 tackles and rookie Ty Long was the top punter (47.9 yards) and made 39-of-44 field goals (88.6 per cent).

Hervey doesn’t believe he has to overhaul B.C.’s roster, but admits change is inevitable.

“There’ll be players who want to go to other teams because it’s closer to their homes and there’ll be players we’ll want to bring in because they bring a different element to our team,” Hervey said. “We’re far from an overhaul but I think like any team we’ll make changes but they’ll be to improve areas we felt we lacked in last season.”

B.C. has signed Arceneaux and Canadian offensive lineman Cody Husbands to contract extensions but still has 20 players slated to hit the free-agent market Feb. 13. Hervey is hopeful he can get others signed before that time.

One pending free agent is veteran quarterback Travis Lulay. The 34-year-old was solid in place of Jennings before suffering a season-ending knee injury in September.

“He’s progressing well,” Hervey said. “Travis is a fighter and competitor and will obviously put in all the time to rehab and make sure he’s 100 per cent when he’s ready to go.

“If it’s a case where he’d like to come back. we’d love to have him back. But we’ll take our time to make sure a) he wants to b) he’s healthy and c) just make sure all the dominos fall into place as far as making sure we do what’s best for our team.”

There’s plenty riding on the Lions resuming their winning ways. Attendance at B.C. Place Stadium is lagging and the club has had a reduced presence in its market.

Owner David Braley wants to sell the franchise but doesn’t expect it to happen before the end of 2018. And after this season, Hervey will have to find Buono’s coaching successor.

“I can only focus on the responsibilities in front of me right now,” Hervey said. “That’s trying to put the best product we can on the field to make sure we’re competitive . . . and working hand in hand with Wally to make sure we deliver the kind of team our fans expect and our players would want to play on.

“If we’re able to do our jobs and everyone’s on the same page, we’ll have positive days and see where we’re at when the dust settles.”

Hervey’s departure from Edmonton was surprising given the Eskimos were 40-32 during his tenure as GM and captured the 2015 Grey Cup. But president Len Rhodes cited two reasons for the move: an impasse in contract negotiations – Hervey was in the final year of his deal – and philosophical differences, most notably regarding team access.

Hervey was portrayed publicly as being difficult to work with and someone who had strained relationships with some Eskimos players and club officials, including Rhodes, as well as former CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge.

“That’s just part of the game, things are said,” Hervey said. “No one will ever know what happened, I’m not going to go down that road as far as what happened.

“That chapter is closed. I’m just looking forward to continuing my career with the B.C. Lions.”


10 Comments on Ed Hervey already used to Lions colours as B.C. general manager

  1. As a Lions fan I wasn’t at first enamoured with this pick for GM for the reasons of the team access and the chip on his shoulder attitude.

    However, what is indisputable is that he was able to hire two pretty good HCs and a good staff and as well get into the Eskimos some fine talent.

    To date I like what I hear as to his priorities are and while he’s in a weird situation with the HC his boss as VP, Wally Buono is a good role model for him.

    My preference would have been to have Wally take himself out as HC and remain VP and do a lot of the work that the GM says he isn’t in love with – the media and the community where Wally is always there and upfront.

    As long as Ed Hervey has the big say on acquisitions this might work but the GM has to get his own HC into BC and build a staff that way.

    It’s good to see Jarius Jackson as OC and Jeff Reinbold as ST coach as Wally has always held the old belief that bad teams do trick plays.

    Wally’s stuck in an era where there were no pads at the benches that force teams to do things differently than just execute. That’s his belief – old school football. If we execute well, we’ll win. The technology has made predictability somewhat obsolete. We’re seeing QBs and REC sitting on the bench with their Pads and reviewing 60 yard TD plays and pointing out where they’re going next given what the QB can now see in real time and over and over.

  2. 3rd and 1 // January 11, 2018 at 3:31 pm //

    Ok just a minute? Is it not suppose to be… Ed Hervey is use to his new colours? How do you get “used” to something?
    That’s bad English. Kinda like saying… Who learned you how to spoke. haha

    • dangnabbit // January 11, 2018 at 9:24 pm //

      “Getting used to” something is a very common idiom for becoming familiar with something or accepting it. Here, Hervey has quickly accepted and become familiar with wearing orange, even though he hasn’t been in BC for long. The D in “used” is often assimilated to the T in “to”, so in spoken language it sometimes sounds like “getting use to”, but I assure you it’s really the past tense.

  3. I’m like you Greg, in that I was not a Hervey fan. I live in Edmonton and was not impressed with the way he handled the Simeon Rottier situation and calling him out, saying he will NEVER wear eskimo colours again. However, there is no denying his talent. I am excited about this coming year and had said all year long, we were better than our record said we were.

    I would not rush to find another HC. Wally is great, his credentials say so. Maybe he is old school but trick plays to not, you DO have to execute to win. Yes, trick plays may fill the seats but if they do not work and ou lose, that effect will only last so long. I would LOVE to see the good old days when other teams dreaded coming to BC Place because we OWNED it and 60,000 fans would make it that much more difficult.

    As far as the dymanics of Wally HC, Hervey GM and Wally VP, it will not be a factor because Hervey will report directly to Mr. Braley.

  4. Lions were stocked with talent; Burnham, Arceneaux, Rainey and Johnson on offence. It’s Jennings… big arm, mobile, but super inaccurate and doesn’t read defences that well. All the other teams have caught up with him now. LIONS need a QB. Period. Then the team will click. I’m sure Hervey knows this.

  5. In another move today, we have signed long snapper Mike Benson to a 2 year contract. Great move. Love the guy. Guys like him go un-noticed and under appreciated but not by real fans like me.

  6. Nothing wrong with Jennings in my mind. Still very young and learning. I think he will be fine this year. I saw it as a sophomore jinx. O-line did not help and Poor play calling (as I have been saying for a long time now) was the biggest problem in my mind but now we have a new OC and I’m looking for that explosive offence we should have had last year, even without Chris Williams.

  7. Head coach answers for everything that happens on the field, including play calling, time for overrated Wally to leave. BC Place is a dungeon, we will see if Hervey can work miracles getting fans back

  8. TouchDownBC // January 12, 2018 at 1:01 am //

    Bouno needs to get going hope he takes dorazio & washington with him he threw Khari and few assistants under the bus when that trio has been here the longest and think players come & go

  9. I find it funny that the people who were roasting Ed for his no dance around issues demeanor somehow think he has changed. Those that despised him think he is a quality guy who has talent as a GM now. LMAO!

    People; Ed has not changed, which is not a bad thing, he is still the same call as he sees them hard on players to get the most out of them G.M. he has always been. He will kick players in the butt when they are failing, but also put his arm around them when they step it up. He will defend the locker room as a whole to the death and throw a single player under the bus for braking from the heard. You know all those games Wally played and received his reputation for … Ed fits with Wally.

    Hervey is a quality G.M. and always has been. He will change the Lions culture to be more team and less individual focused. He will establish a core group that will govern the rest of the players because he gets lockerroom politics and its power. He will instill an “us against the world” mentality to drive brotherhood and win.

    Nothing has changed on the Hervey front, but maybe Lions fans are changing?

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