ULLRICH: For B.C. Lions, it’s going from bad to worse

Consider this a multiple choice quiz that is guaranteed to create as much of a challenge as the B.C. Lions generated during their 41-19 beatdown by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Saturday:

At the moment, the Lions are…

a) A hot smouldering mess.

b) A raging tire fire.

c) A team without a starting quarterback.

d) Equal in wins with the Montreal Alouettes. When do they next show up on the schedule by the way?

The correct answer, of course, is all of the above. And in keeping with custom, we offer up points to ponder as a new CFL season continues to unfold as the last one ended.

It’s time: there was not a proclamation from Wally Buono after the game as to whether Jon Jennings will continue behind centre because they don’t make out the lineup card until an hour before the next game.

Nobody who has spent more than a minute watching this team, however, would be oblivious to the fact Jennings at minimum will have to sit down for awhile. Quarterbacks with a 37.7 passer rating don’t normally get too many more chances, which was the relevant number associated with Jennings’ performance against Winnipeg.

The problem, of course, is that Travis Lulay is not completely healthy. And as TSN 1040 analyst Chris Burns noted after the carnage was over Saturday, Lulay should only be inserted a week after he declares himself good to go.

There’s also a bigger picture to be considered when it comes to Lions pivots, and when Buono let Jennings continue to flail away and was pulled only after gifting his second interception to Adam Bighill, a few things became more than apparent.

Lulay’s injury history is, of course, no secret and to give him back the offence a second before he says he is completely recovered from October knee surgery represents a huge risk.

If Lulay goes down again, and history suggests the possibility, the Lions will have no choice but to go back to Jennings later this season. Cody Fajardo might still get a start during the interim as the Lions wait to change quarterbacks but is not a long-term option. That was reinforced when Jennings was still given a chance to figure out the scheme of offensive coordinator Jarious Jackson in the fourth quarter of what had become a 28-point deficit.

In short, Buono holds the future of two quarterbacks in his hands with the choices he and his medical advisors must make in the days ahead, and can’t afford to lose Jennings mentally.

Then Buono has to decide whether the paying customer will take much more of a quarterback in Jennings, now 3-15 against the Bombers, Eskimos and Calgary in his young career, because even though Buono isn’t the GM anymore doesn’t mean he won’t think like he still has the job.

Sure enough, the Lions hadn’t yet packed up and headed to the airport Saturday when the first suggestion appeared on social media as to whether Ed Hervey should now take a run at Johnny Manziel.

Not buying: The exit of Buono at the end of the season had always seemed as if it was destined to hatch another subplot as to whether his successor next season was already on the Lions coaching staff.

But at this rate, there’s no way either Jackson or defensive coordinator Mark Washington could be considered when the time comes when Hervey has to find a replacement for the head coach because not many would be buying what either is selling right now.

Jennings simply looks lost in the new scheme implemented by Jackson, though by no means can he blamed outright for the inability to generate yardage. Washington had been given an early pass having been asked to implement eight new defensive starters, but as they did in Edmonton the Lions fooled nobody wearing blue uniforms in the first half Saturday as the Bombers ran and passed almost at will.

A bright spot? This took a couple of minutes but a couple were found: The work of tailback Jeremiah Johnson (13 carries, 80 yards rushing), plus the fact the Lions special teams haven’t yet drawn a return penalty in three games. Who says it’s always bad news?

Lowell Ullrich

Lowell Ullrich

Lowell Ullrich has covered the Lions since 1999 and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2014. He is also a contributor to TSN1040.
Lowell Ullrich
Lowell Ullrich
About Lowell Ullrich (179 Articles)
Lowell Ullrich has covered the Lions since 1999 and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2014. He is also a contributor to TSN1040.

58 Comments on ULLRICH: For B.C. Lions, it’s going from bad to worse

  1. BC Dave // July 8, 2018 at 3:29 am //

    I know Hervey likes Franklin but after the win today, doubt that will be an option even AFTER this year.

    Despite all the hype (including myself) the D-line in particular (and the O-Line to a certain extent) has been less than stellar, to be polite. I am as hard-core as they come but I was disgusted tonight.

    • MJ Bandit // July 8, 2018 at 9:57 pm //

      The Lions have plenty of talent – on both offence & defence.

      Their problems are all on coaching – poor game plans and play-calling, lack of adjustments, etc. Looks good on Wally and the over-rated Mr. Ed – too bad they can’t find some coaching talent.

  2. TouchDownBC // July 8, 2018 at 4:18 am //

    Retaining Dorazio and washington along with Bouno has been a disater…all 3 should have not returned this season…wait till they play Calgary

  3. ARSE 51 and ManyHandles MUST be BANNED // July 8, 2018 at 4:41 am //

    Not completely sold on Washington as DC but Wally still is sharp as a tack and Dorazio is regarded as the best in the business.

  4. Lowell you say that…”Nobody who has spent more than a minute watching this team, however, would be oblivious to the fact Jennings at minimum will have to sit down for awhile”., who said after week one that ” although Jennings started slow he played pretty well afterwards; when it became obvious to all who watch and know football that Jennings is NOT a starting QB and he SHOULD NOT be starting any more football games. Three football games with under 200 yards passing will not get the job done and result in any wins, except against the Alouettes. Just like Drew Willy who had a good first year and has done nothing since, Jennings is a one season wonder. Jennings has no accuracy throwing short passes, as proven by Bighill’s 2nd interception. Jennings constantly throws into tight coverage and is also very inaccurate when throwing the “long bomb” as shown with his missed long pass in the first quarter when the receiver was ALL ALONE on the blown Bomber coverage and Jennings could not get the ball to him; (the ball was thrown to the wrong side and behind the receiver). As long as Jennings starts, the Lions will continue to lose> Hearvy will not put up with Jennings poor play after this season; when Buono is gone; Jennings will be too. Hearvey will pay Reilly to paly in BC when Reilly becomes a free agent at the end of this season…this is the Lions ONLY hope. After all, it was Hearvey who traded for Reilly to come to the Eskimos. Unfortunately Lions fans will have to wait until NEXT season to see if my prediction becomes reality.

    • Reilly going back to the Lions is a possibility of course but I wouldn’t hang my hat on that for very long. If Reilly does decide to move, BC would be the logical place it seems, a Manzeil trade would a iffy too, considering he seems to think that the CFL is a stepping stone to the NFL

  5. BTW, it was BC Dave who said after the Lions week one win against the Alouettes that: ” although Jennings started slow he played pretty well afterwards”. BC Dave was defending Jennings play after week one. How do you feel about Jennings now BC Dave? Do YOU still think Jennings should start at QB for the Lions give his poor play over three games. Jennings is arguably if not the worst QB in the CFL, he is definitely ONE of the WORST QB’s in the CFL (behind perhaps only Drew Willey).

  6. Thor the Asgard // July 8, 2018 at 9:10 am //

    I think I’ve seen this before. There is no doubt that the Lions have talent. At the moment it’s hard to agree with that considering their last 2 games.
    There are QBs that impress coaches and GMs during practise. They remember all the nuances. They throw the ball with zip and accuracy. They lead the offence marvellously to the point everyone in the orginization believes in them.
    Unfortunately none of what happens in practise is carried through come game time. When that same QB is no longer practising against the same defence day after day and the bullets are flying for real in a game. Nothing from practise makes it into the game.
    I’m not suggesting that Jennings is a Drew Willy. However Drew is a QB that seems to have the problem I speak of. Willy has had 4 teams believe in him. As a back up he’s fine. But given the starting position Drew’s confidence shifts and he dosent know how to win. He can’t even win ugly. Coaches allow QBs to work through things. As long as they keep their team in the game and win now and then. When that dosent happen eventually after exhausting the amount of times they allow QBs like Willy to find a way to win. They are sat and then shipped off.
    I’m thinking that the BC lions and Jennings are having the Drew Willy effect.
    If the once brilliant Travis Lulay is ready to play. It’s time for the Jennings experiment to end and give the reigns back to Travis. Then hope like hell Lulay can stay healthy. Because their is no doubt that Travis knows how to lead by example and most importantly he knows how to win!

  7. Is everyone finally ready to acknowledge what I’ve been explaining for the past two and a half years – – that Johnny Jennings is not a pro level QB.

    Amazing how people foolishly insisted that Jennings had a future as a starting QB.

    Same thing with the Lions pitiful DLine. As I pointed out in the pre season, Knapton and Willis are the worst pair of DEs in the league.

    Dave Menard is hopelessly slowfooted and underpowered. Junior Luke isn’t capable of anything beyond ST.

    Of course the Lions are going to get steam rolled against the run with such a useless DLine.

    Lions Fan didn’t want to hear the cold hard reality I was explaining in the pre season, but now it’s impossible to deny that my assessments were once again on point and accurate.

    • Jenning and Buono both have to go.

    • Did NOT hear Willis name once in yesterday’s game during the game play-by-play. Willis disappeared during the game.

    • InUrFace // July 8, 2018 at 4:20 pm //

      As the Dline goes it doesn’t help either when you have no rotation with the inside. Also three man up front never works for Lions but when other teams use it on us they kill us with it. It’s also goes to show you Washington isn’t and never will be a master DC he’s not even at the stage of a good DC. Why Wally kept him along with Darazio is a brain fart on his part. Now he feels repercussions. Only thing Wally does here is frustrating fans.
      His successor better not be one of his puppets.
      As for Jennings as I mentioned in my comment below. He only looked good when Jeff Tedford was here. He now doesn’t have the confidence or being comfortable in QB position. Looks scattered and unsure what to do. Personally like to see the kid Ricky Lloyd. I feel he couldn’t do much worse at this point. Lulay not ready until he feels he is and comfortable to try. Cody well no and no. Short yardage that’s about all he’s good for.

  8. Jim Bob // July 8, 2018 at 11:44 am //

    Panic mode starting to set in. Wally simply has to play the best players he has and give the backups playing time when the starter fails his assignments. Massive changes at this point will most likely not work but might give a good look at the future. Lulay with his injury history a solid back-up but not the solution to the Lions offensive struggles.

  9. Enrico Arcuri // July 8, 2018 at 11:47 am //

    Word is that BC Lions are putting a proposal together in order to secure the services of Johnny Manziel.

    • Rumour with no basis in fact. Whats the proposal…trade the whole team for one UNPROVEN player…LOL. Hearvey’s best remdial move for what is the current Lions TIRE FIRE, wait for the NFL cuts. Only issue with this strategy is that the NFL cuts will not be available until late September/early October. The other only hope that Hearvey has is “a hope and a prayer” that the Lions can repeat what they did in 2011 with Lulay at QB; that is after losing five straight games the Lions team “finds lightening in a bottle” and go on to win eleven out of the next thirteen games and win the Grey Cup. (It’s okay for a Lions fan to dream big, isn’t it)? However, this will NOT happen with Jennings as the starting QB.

      • Best CFL Fan // July 8, 2018 at 8:37 pm //

        Cuts are available in August, for sure late August. NFL starts 1st weekend of Sept

  10. Watching some old Joe Kapp footage from 1964. That 64 uniform are the ones the Lions still should be wearing now. Beautiful and traditional, historic. What they are wearing now is a joke. Awful. They look like something you would suck on a stick. Creamsicle. As for the team they do not look enthused to play. At all.

    • Butch, you got one thing right: The Lions sure do “SUCK”…LOL.

      • BC Dave // July 8, 2018 at 7:42 pm //

        You are a poor excuse for a Lion’s fan.

        • You think Jennings is great and a starting QB…take off your “rose coloured glasses” BC Dave and see reality. It would appear that really enjoyed watching that “tire fire” of a game against the Bombers and that you really do not mind all of the consistent LOSING by the Lions, judging by the statement that you made in reply to my post.

  11. Wally should never have returned to the sidelines. He should have rode off into the sunset or stayed on in a pure advisory role.
    I look forward to Wally retiring so Calgary can properly honor him. It
    was tragic the way he left.

    • Thor of Asgard // July 8, 2018 at 1:06 pm //

      That’s hilarious “the way Wally left was tragic” Wally left and made a better life for he and his family. As it wasn’t that long after Wally leaving that this so called great franchise you speak of. Completely scammed more like ripped off Doug Flutie of just ove one million dollars. No other CFL franchise has ever done such an atrocity. Only a scum sucking organization would pull something like that. I’m sure Wallly was happy to get his own azz out of there!!!

      • Stampeding // July 8, 2018 at 1:46 pm //

        First off:
        Doug Flutie left after the 1995 season, Wally Buono left after the 2002 season. Your time line of the events would lead one to believe that you have no idea what you are talking about… STRIKE 1
        Doug Flutie has stated in the past that he was owned in the $600,000.00 range- no where near the 1 million you claim……STRIKE 2
        The money owned to Flutie was not the obligation of the Stampeders, it was the obligation of Larry Ryckman and a personal services contract between the 2. I can’t speak of Flutie’s thoughts and current relationship with Ryckman, but he has been back to Calgary both for is Wall of Fame induction and various milestones and anniversaries for the franchise.- STRIKE 3

        Bonus swing:
        Wally Buono was run out of Calgary by a naive and nefarious owner and his oligarchs. While he was pleased to leave the mess, he stated it was hard to adjust to live in Vancouver and the Lions as Calgary was such a great place and the organization was world class up until the end— STRIKE 4…YOU’RE OUT!

        Ok, 1 more bonus swing…. it’s stampede so why not:
        While the organization suffered through 3 years, the circumstances were extraordinary, once that circumstance was removed this organization instantly became a force once more and haven’t looked back……..STRIKE 5

      • Garcia98 // July 8, 2018 at 3:05 pm //

        It appears that you know nothing about the days of Fred Fateri and Michael Feterik. Buono was run out of town by these two goofballs to insert Fateri as a “GM”. They knew absolutely nothing about the CFL or how to treat loyal, successful members of their organization like Buono. Calgarians referred to these guys as the F-troop, or more commonly the F-bombs. There was a reason why the team was a disaster during their time and they made the Gliebermans look like organized professionals. The Doug Flutie situation was a personal services contract with owner Ryckman, but you already knew that didn’t you. I’m not going to bore others with a long rambling history of the CFL but other players and coaches/GMs have been screwed by various franchises as well. Look up the Argos in the late 90’s and how they treated Jim Barker. As always, don’t let the facts and reality get in the way of a dumb rant.

        • Garcia98 // July 8, 2018 at 3:08 pm //

          of course I’m replying to Sir Thor “He Of Everything Correct and True in The History of the CFL”

  12. Same as last year! Nothing new here. The Lions will be last in the west n will miss another playoff!! Time for Wally to step down along with his coaches! BC Lions suck bad!!!

  13. Agree with everyone who says Jennings is no starter. More like a 2016 flash in the pan. Decided not to renew season tickets based on two things: hiring Harvey as GM after his train wreck exit from Edmonton and keeping Jennings as starter. I couldn’t bear to sit through the same movie as last year—I know how it ends. As for Wally, how could a man with no interpersonal skills whatsoever lead this team? I’m out

  14. Everyone including LU praised Ed Hervey for shoring up the offensive line and bringing key people in on defence. Whoo… big moves in the off-season. such BS.

    We all know it wasn’t the o-line. Lulay was much better than Jennings. BC fans wanted to see a new QB in camp and nothing was done. This is on ED HERVEY. He’s blown the season. All those talented receivers and no one can throw to them. Hervey needs to pry Manziel out of Hamilton. Or we’ll be the next Alouettes.

    And we will need a coach. We need Austin… both him and Hervey should buck heads nicely. Lastly, why Hervey brought Reinbold in is a mystery.

    This is one really upset fan!!

  15. Pennyrocker // July 8, 2018 at 1:24 pm //

    If what I seen this year the western teams are just beginning to stink real bad. At the moment only two legit teams are doing good. That not the Lions.
    What is a big concern is the return of XFL. This league is in huge trouble without the support of the fans.

  16. WEstman Rob // July 8, 2018 at 1:48 pm //

    And Winnipeg has BC’s 1st round pick next year!!!!

  17. Chris AB // July 8, 2018 at 3:08 pm //

    I don’t like giving Drew Edwards clicks on his site….sent him a couple of emails and he seems to think he’s too Hollywood to respond….but QB Ricky Lloyd for the Lions looked dynamite in pre-season….anyone know what happened to him?

    • InUrFace // July 8, 2018 at 3:57 pm //

      That’s what I like to know. In my comment on here. I wrote Ricky Lloyd is perfect for the offense Jackson is running because he’s played in it as QB. He would be comfortable with the play calling and terminology of it. Jennings isn’t and Lulay not so sure. Even though he does read defens better than Jennings.
      Why not try Ricky take him off the practice roster and see what he can do.

    • BC Dave // July 8, 2018 at 6:04 pm //

      Chris, After Travis was activated last week against he Eskimos, Ricky Lloyd got put in the one game injured list.

  18. If they can swing a trade for Schrevler! This would be something.

  19. InUrFace // July 8, 2018 at 3:51 pm //

    Here is my take on it. I feel about now fans are tired seeing Wally, Darazio, Washington still being here. Ed unfortunately doesn’t have the authority to fire any of these guys. The owner is to close to Wally and Wally is to close to them. This is business at the end of the day so David B isn’t making right business decisions. Time to put personal feelings and friendships aside and get rid of the extra baggage that’s been lingering here for to long and that’s out dated. If not sell for the fans sake and the future of the organization. Or there won’t be a organization left and no BC Lions here to watch. Attendance is withering away fast just like the age of David B ..so it’s time to sell before it’s to late. He’s made to many excuses not to, from court crap with Bruce and what now the streaker running on the field lol. Ownership is a serious issue here period. Or should I say lack of ownership.
    Let me get to Jennings. When Jeff Tedford was HC Jennings was looking good. Jeff knows QBs strengths and skill sets so he utilized them. Others here don’t. Is Jennings a starting QB, no but he can be a back up.
    HC and OC need to understand he isnt comfortable or confident in this offense that Jackson is running. Therefore why not use someone that is played under this type of offense and that QB is Ricky Lloyd. Why not try new blood. We might as well see if this guy may be the future of this team. Chances need to be taken. Can’t be worse than Jennings. Ricky Lloyd knows the philosophy and terminology of this type of offense. Lulay isn’t ready until he says he is. You force him to play then he’s phoned to get hurt or lose himself in this offense.
    Body language is shown by players on the field they are fed up and frustrated. They want something to change in this offense. Jackson maybe needing to simplify the schemes and game calling.
    Now Washington. Never been sold as DC in my book. Not aggressive enough not enough intensity. DBs aren’t tackling or making hits unless it’s a streaker running on the field.

    Ed needs to make moves and find others who will. He’s not going to sit quietly unless Wally tells him to. Which sucks because Wally it’s technically his boss still. Ed needs to notice some of the players he brought in from Edm weren’t resigned for a reason. Maybe Sept we will find play makers with NFL cuts. I’m also not sure about or receiving core. Why can’t we find fresh blood like other teams do. They make it look so easy.
    At least special teams ain’t catching penalties. Still Rainey has not got a break on teams or offense. Shaq liked pissed and frustrated, Burnham didn’t even try to tackle or catch Big Hill after interception so these are all signs that the players aren’t willing to play, just no roar or heart in them. So is it they don’t like play book, Jennings or Wally. You pick. Mine all the above. This year better turn around fast one way or another. Or next year will be growing and rebuilding all over again. House cleaning anyone!

    • BANG ON! Well said.

    • BC Dave // July 8, 2018 at 6:11 pm //

      Not sure how anyone can call that “bang on.” DC can scheme but as far as sloppy tackling, what is he supposed to do other than coach (and I KNOW he has done that). Do you expect him to go out there and make the tackles??

      As to your point that Wally is technically Hervey’s boss…WRONG. Yes I know he is VP football ops, and HC but as pointed out already a few times, Hervey reports DIRECTLY to Mr. Braley.

      • Jose Perez // July 8, 2018 at 7:32 pm //

        As for you saying not bang on. What games have you watched eyes shut and listening to sound ….because obviously you have no clue Washington isn’t smart DC he doesn’t make adjustments on the fly and he brings weak pressure to the QB it’s been like that ever since he started. So is it his schemes or players …look at the past few years then answer.

        • BC Dave // July 8, 2018 at 7:44 pm //

          Obviously that is the scheme, as I already said. How can you blame him when a player misses a tackle?

  20. Rick Lloyd looked abysmal in the 2nd preseason game.

    There’s a reason why he’s sitting on the IR while Lulay is on the active roster – – because he’s a pisspoor QB.

    • Jose Perez // July 8, 2018 at 7:29 pm //

      I disagree. He needs time to be with first unit and watch I guarantee he will pick up the offense so fast and you’ll be able to read defenses. He can be a great QB for this league.
      Sometimes you just need to give a chance to new blood. Let the game slow down and he will see his reads properly. He just needs to study defences on teams. He could grasp this game and offense of Jacksons far more than Jennings or Cody. Until Lulay is ready and says he is.

      • I’ll stand by my assessment on Rick Lloyd – – completely unimpressed. Lacks pocket presence and has a weak arm.

        But until he gets into a few games and gets exposed as a no talent hack – – like Johnny Jennings and Brando Bridge – – you can pump his tires incessantly.

    • ARSE 51 and ManyHandles MUST be BANNED // July 8, 2018 at 7:45 pm //

      Scrub Ray looked abysmal in one of his pre-season games too. Do you have a point or vomiting as usual?

      • Trying to compare Rick Lloyd to Ricky Ray? You’re humiliating yourself with such a laughable comment, my friend.

    • why are you not a GM? you seem to know so much. Especially evaluating QB talent.

  21. TouchDownBC // July 8, 2018 at 10:13 pm //

    Hervy went cheap on his revamp so this is what you get…castoffs and unwanted scrubs plugged into a weak scheme under coach bouno

    • Jose Perez // July 8, 2018 at 10:52 pm //

      This is not Eds cheapness but the ownership cheapness. Lack of ownership. So many teams go over the cap they dont care about a fine. David B does. Wally does. I’m sure Ed would love to spend more. If he had the chance Big Hill would be resigned. What I do think like is most of the players from Edm.

      • Check your facts, boyo.

        ZERO (0) teams were fined for going over the salary cap in 2017. Same with 2016. And 2015 too.

  22. LionsFan // July 9, 2018 at 12:06 am //

    BC Dave seems to be drinking the orange kool aid from bouno and staff…clueless coaching from the DC & doarzio needs to retire yesterday

    • That’s the problem with fan boys and casual fans – – complete lack of objectivity in their assessments.

      One assclown in this thread – – fourth comment from the beginning – – even proclaimed Dorazio “is regarded as the best in the business.”

      At least everyone has finally STFU and realized my assessment that Johnny Jennings is not a pro level QB is 100% correct.

      Took about two years for the fan boys and casual fans to finally recognize it, but I suppose better late than never.

    • BC Dave has another problem: he sees Lions issues through “Rose Coloured Glasses” and thinks all is fine and great in Lions Land.

  23. Jennings first season was good and he demanded a new contract. I knew it was a mistake to give him one. Sure he has arm strenght but if your not accurate what good is it. To give Jennings the starting job was a mistake. Lulay did a fine job last year until he got hurt,so that should have been an indication that Jennings had problems. He has had his chance,he is not a starter. Why keep starting him. They should have addressed this in the off season. Look how many of ex lions are playing for the bombers. Too many good ones got away in the last couple of years. Ed better do something quick but I’m afraid it may be too late already.

  24. BC needs more time to come together than 3 gms into a new season with some many changes. i know its a popular thing to state theses days but there is a “process” to building a perennial winner. Thats what I see being put in place in Vancouver by Wally, Hervey, Hunter et al. There’s a ton of pressure on the current coaching staff to prove they should be around AFTER changes take place in the off season. 15 more games to grow!

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