Starting QB controversy beginning to swirl for Lions

Gemma Karstens-Smith, Canadian Press

Jonathon Jennings is frustrated with how he’s been playing so far this CFL season, and his poor start may be leading to a quarterback controversy in Vancouver.

The B.C. Lions No. 1 pivot has yet to throw for more than 200 yards in a game this CFL season, and he was 15-for-24 for 105 yards with two interceptions in Winnipeg on Saturday as the Blue Bombers trounced B.C. 41-19.

“I’m very disappointed. I didn’t play up to my standards at all,” Jennings said. “Back to the drawing board once again. There’s no excuses, just got to find a way to get it done.”

This season’s start is a far cry from Jennings’ breakout year in 2016, where he passed for 5,226 yards.

“It seems crazy because I look back at 2015-2016, I played tremendous and then you get here and it’s just baffling for everyone,” the 25-year-old said Monday.

“This is just a bump in the road. I think it’s part of my growth.”

The quarterback is a pivotal position for any team’s psyche and confidence, said Lions coach Wally Buono.

“Quarterbacks go through tough spells,” he said. “At this point, (Jennings) isn’t playing his best football. We know that and I think he knows that, too.”

Buono added that he hasn’t yet made any decisions about who he’ll start this weekend.

The coaching staff are looking at various options for correcting mistakes and improving the team’s play following the Winnipeg game, he said.

“The game Saturday wasn’t good football, especially in the first half,” Buono said. “(Winnipeg) had a shot in the arm by the return of their starting quarterback (Matt Nichols) and they played like it. And we didn’t play at the level we should have.”

It was Nichols’ first game of the season after he injured his knee in training camp. He completed 16 of 29 pass attempts for 162 yards, including a touchdown toss to Darvin Adams.

The loss in Winnipeg saw the Lions fall to 1-2 on the season. The teams are set for a rematch in Vancouver on Saturday.

Whether B.C.’s veteran quarterback Travis Lulay could step in to take over the No. 1 role in that game remains to be seen, Buono said.

Lulay hasn’t played yet this year after having off-season knee surgery.

“He’ll definitely be in the lineup. What his role will be is to be determined,” Buono said.

Lulay expected to have a weekly check-in meeting with medical staff on Monday and said he’s feeling close to being able to handle a full workload.

Lately, he’s been working on conditioning but said he also has a role in keeping his teammate in check.

The 34-year-old said he’s supporting and pushing Jennings, and always being direct and honest with him.

“We’ve always had that relationship where we can just openly, bluntly talk about where we can improve, what you did well. So it goes both ways,” Lulay said.

He added that he feels for Jennings because there’s always an extra spotlight on a team’s quarterback.

“We gotta be able to have big broad shoulders because we carry a lot of the load,” Lulay said.

“When we win we probably take more of the credit. When we lose, we probably get more of the blame. That’s just the nature of our spot.”


41 Comments on Starting QB controversy beginning to swirl for Lions

  1. TSN claimed this guy was a star in the making
    Same thing was said about drew willy
    These two were future bright stars according to them
    What happened?

    • Pretty much EVERYONE – – not just TSN – – insisted Johnny Jennings was a “star in the making”.

      I was the most vocal critic of Jennings and I explained numerous times starting in 2016 why he was not a competent starting QB.

      Good to see people finally realizing what I’ve been pointing out for the past TWO (2) years.

      • according to you, my friend, there are not many qbs in the cfl who are ‘competent’ as defined by you. i wonder … who do you suggest should be playing in their place? elucidate and illuminate, please. we need you guidance.

      • But no one cares what you think.

    • Start Cody Fajardo

  2. Stampeding // July 9, 2018 at 7:59 pm //

    Lions still have a better quarterback situation than the Riders.

  3. Stampeding // July 9, 2018 at 8:14 pm //

    Unfortunate situation for the Lions. Jennings just hasn’t worked out the way he looked like he was going to and Lulay couldn’t stay healthy. They had that guy who looked good in the preseason, he played excellent the 2nd half PS week 1, at historic McMahon. And as they say, if you can make it there you’ll take it anywhere!

    • Gainer1 // July 9, 2018 at 8:57 pm //

      “Historic McMahon” read old and decrepit.

      • Dan Bombers // July 9, 2018 at 9:03 pm //

        Historic McMahon hahahahahaha
        That always makes me chuckle when you say that stampland
        Anyways expecting a better game from bc this week love the 9:00 start games !!

  4. Casee Printerz // July 9, 2018 at 8:51 pm //

    Jacksons Offense needs to be simplified…sit Jennings and maybe go with a Rookie till Lulay ready to go…cant be much worse

  5. Bombers win again im guessing 48-10.Lions have no offense or defense that is current.Bouno past his prime and hes kept too many old friends in both areas

  6. Rider4life // July 9, 2018 at 9:06 pm //

    Stampeding you are such a piece of talent your self. Even your mouth says it ( I’m a fool and I know it) he threw for w
    A whole 105 2 interceptions and still loss. Wow your brain must be fried as the rest of the CFL fans are laughing their asses off at you. Would be a real shame if Ottawa come in and spanked your stampeders you would be left with nothing to say as anything can happen in the CFL. But come the 28th you will be going to your room speechless again. Oh and what happen last game against the Riders when we played you at home. As well didn’t we stop the stampeders 2 games in a row no TDs. Oops sorry Bo threw one to DC lmao.To bad you have such a hate on for the riders as you might have something that might make sense NOT LOL

    • Stampeding // July 9, 2018 at 10:37 pm //

      I made a comment about the BC Lions QB situation and you attack me and make this about the riders and Stamps??
      You guys are crazy!!!!!!

      • Stampeding // July 9, 2018 at 10:50 pm //

        Riders are horrible by the way,but that is beside the point. Lollol!!

      • If you read the comments it shows that you brought up the Riders first Red (in an article about the Lions no less) so you opened the door for backlash! Live by the sword, die by the sword.

        • Stampeding // July 9, 2018 at 11:04 pm //

          I see where you are coming from. Unfortunately, That isn’t my comment. It’s some immature, cowardly rider fans trying to push a certain narrative of me.
          Monitor this site long enough and it will become crystal clear who that person is

          • Stampeding // July 9, 2018 at 11:12 pm //

            I don’t make these comments, don’t need to, some fool has taken my handle,…but hey, rider fans can’t take the truth about what is said about their decrepit team.

          • Huff's Neighbor // July 10, 2018 at 4:49 pm //

            This is priceless. So many handles you can’t remember which one your using. Delusion is treatable. You should see a doctor or a vet. Either way you need to be prodded.

  7. That was so hard to watch on TV as the Bombers destroyed the Lions. Sure wish we had a scrub like Nichols in Van, Lol.

    • no question Matt Nichols would be an “upgrade” over the horrifically bad Johnny Jennings.

      Byou’ve got to have higher standards than settling for a scrub like Nichols, my friend.

      The best QB in Winnipeg is Chris Streveler.

    • Flatbilly Earl // July 10, 2018 at 11:54 am //

      Nichols is a scrub…? What does that make Jennings? The Lions are a tire fire.

  8. Jim Bob // July 10, 2018 at 2:27 am //

    Lulay will not last long once he gets slammed a couple of times. Injury history does not show he can take a beating like he did in his younger days. If Jennings sits let Cody Fargardo show his stuff and maybe even the Cali kid who played lights out in preseason. Sooner or later someone will take the QB position and run with it in a big way.

  9. No controversy, Jennings is simply NOT a starting QB, nor based on his play the last two seasons does he deserve to be. Jennings is 5 wins 14 losses in 2017 and the first 3 games of this season. He has three sub 200 yard passing games in 2018. Sit his ass on the bench (where it belongs), end of story.

  10. Since Jennings became a QB for the Lions in 2015 against the top three teams in the West (Stamps, Eskimos, Bombers) his record is 3-15 in the regular season and playoffs. Jennings cannot consistently win against the top teams in the West; this just will not get the job done and is another reason there is no QB controversy and why Jennings should be relegated to backup QB status only. Jennings is a “scrub” QB just like Drew Willy.

    • Johnny Jennings is far below a scrub level QB – – he’s an absolute disaster and incapable of playing the position at the pro level.

      That should have been obvious to everyone last year, but most are finally acknowledging it now.

      Unfortunately for Lions Fan, Jennings is Buono’s favourite little pet so he’ll be allowed to continue embarrassing himself as the “starter” in BC.

  11. Casee Printerz // July 10, 2018 at 1:33 pm //

    Lions will lose again 32-9

  12. InUrFace // July 10, 2018 at 2:26 pm //

    First off to those who cant spell his name properly or just straight out disrespecting him. Its Jonathon Jennings, you neanderthals. Listen, to make this short and simple to Area51 specially. You have all comments about the situation but with no solution so why dont you go hide in a rubber room. I think the Doc most of dropped you on your head or shook the hell out of you like a rag doll. Thats why you lack character, respect and personality or class with in your DNA.
    You come on every post blah blah this blah blah that. You have no solutions to anything no input that can help. Since your so intelligent about the game and players, why dont you come on here and tell us how it can be fixed. Instead of running your mouth like diarrhea. You so full of shit you can fertilize farms for a living. So go back to Area 51 like your handle with your hybrid alien ass.
    As for red and green why dont you both comment about the subject about the post instead of going after each others throats like two little kindergarten kids fighting over green and red lego blocks. You guys make me laugh seriously. Just need to add another with you two and you would have Moe Curly and Larry the Three Stooges. You all need to get a life. Its ok kids time for a diaper change! Take a time out in the corner because you’ve been schooled. You guys probably use a calculator to solve the problem on the bottom for spam bot you uneducated Neanderthals.

  13. All I know is that this guy passed for over 5000 yards and had over 100% QB efficiency rating in 2016. You just don’t fall on your head and forget how to play QB overnight. To cut him loose at age 25 would be foolhardy at best…more than enough time to “right the ship” (PS – I’m sure Lions fans remember Mike Reilly being traded to the Esks in 2013 for basically a bag of footballs).

  14. All I know is that this guy passed for over 5000 yards and had over 100% QB efficiency rating in 2016. You just don’t fall on your head and forget how to play QB overnight. To cut him loose at age 25 would be foolhardy at best…more than enough time to “right the ship” (PS – I’m sure Lions fans remember Mike Reilly being traded to the Esks in 2013 for basically a bag of footballs).

    • DCs around the league finally figured out what I’d been explaining about Johnny Jennings.

      Don’t be fooled by that flash in the pan one year wonder of 2016. Casey Printers threw for 5,000yds with 35TDs and a 115 QBR for one season too.

      Johnny Jennings’ only “talent” as a QB is to throw the ball as far and as high as he possibly can and hope Arscenaux or Burnham can win the jump ball.

      That’s all he did in 2016.

      Once the DCs realized he doesn’t have the accuracy to make short to intermediate throws, they took away the deep ball and that was the end of Johnny Jennings.

  15. Casee Printerz // July 10, 2018 at 4:47 pm //

    Start Jarious Jackson..he knows his offense better then anyone on his roster and im sure can still throw a good deep ball..or have a package for Ricky Llyod who looks promising but dont throw him to the wolves

  16. There is no solution for Johnny Jennings.

    As I’ve explained numerous times, his problems are twofold – – horrible accuracy and ZERO ability to read coverage.

    It’s impossible to suddenly develop accuracy at the pro level. Even at the college level it’s too late.

    By this point a QB either has accuracy on his throws, or he doesn’t.

    Same thing with reading coverage. That’s not something you can quickly learn. As with accuracy, it’s an innate ability.

    Cleo Lemon couldn’t decipher zone coverage to save his life. And he’d even started games at the NFL level.

    That didn’t change the fact that he was a horrible QB who was unsalvagable. Just as Johnny Jennings is.

  17. Edward Leslie // July 11, 2018 at 5:42 am //

    Jennings looked really good in 2016, but he’s fallen off the map since then.
    Reminds me of Casey Printers.
    Printers started off great, then flooped his NFL audition, became a disappointment, then quickly became a disaster in Hamilton

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