Possible change coming down the (o)-line for Lions

The manual utilized by Wally Buono is different from many of his coaching peers and judging by his position on the career victories list, is also quite effective.

It may, for example, seem normal for a coach to make changes after his team loses, but if you are in charge of the B.C. Lions you occasionally call an audible and make a move or two while on a two-game winning streak.

“When I cut a player after a win I really get their attention,” Buono said.

Cuts do not appear to be in the immediate future of the 7-3 club nor would a shakeup seem necessary. But a move or two in advance of Friday’s game against the Montreal Alouettes is being contemplated this weekend that could reshape the workflow when practice resumes Monday.

And no, Buono isn’t buying into another theory that suggests a team about to have a bye week after facing the Als might wait to make changes.

Two moves, he said, are being pondered because of the play of the Lions offensive line lately. Another will be required as a result of the foot injury suffered in warmup Wednesday by Ronnie Yell that left their starting short-side cornerback on the sideline in a walking boot.

Though the Lions survived their trip through Ontario, the tolerance level of the man in charge has been penetrated. As such, Buono is looking to replace right tackle Levy Adcock with Antonio Johnson, and going back to Hunter Steward at left guard over Tim O’Neill.

The switch from O’Neill is simply a case of a 36-year-old resuming the relief role envisioned when the Lions acquired him from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the off-season. Adcock? That move, Buono suggested, is obvious.

“It’s three games. There’s no excuse. It’s not rust. It’s not a lack of playing time,” Buono said. Adcock had been given some time after his tough start to the season due to a collapsed lung but hasn’t yet made significant improvement.

Brandon Stewart replaced Yell in Toronto and his veteran experience is the reason why he’s expected to remain as the short-side cornerback. As for the wide-side cornerback spot vacated by Stewart, it’s expected Keynan Parker will get first reps in practice this week and will be challenged by rookie practice roster import Chandler Fenner.

If there’s a good time to be in search of injury replacements, it’s definitely when the market is being flooded this weekend with NFL cuts. The Lions have their eye on five players but won’t use their four-week window to expand the practice roster until at least after they return from their bye.

Of greater concern is bringing in practice roster import depth at receiver and in the secondary. Bigger still, it would seem, is the protection unit in charge of maintaining the health of Jon Jennings.

LIONS TALES: The club has been monitoring the status of 2015 second-round draft pick Brett Boyko, who was released for the second time in his NFL career Saturday by the San Diego Chargers but still has remaining practice roster eligibility. Should the Saskatoon native eventually sign with the Lions, the club would consider a ratio change that could allow for a move by Steward at tackle but such a switch would not be immediate… Ex-B.C. DB Josh Johnson made the 53-man roster of the Jacksonville Jaguars on the weekend… Though the club, Buono issued a statement on the weekend on the passing of Normie Kwong, who gave Buono his managerial start: “He was a tremendous mentor and leader, a very proud Albertan and a great man who gave so much to so many. My sincere sympathies go out to his wife Mary and the entire Kwong family. We have lost a legend, but we are better for having had the opportunity to have him part of our CFL family.”







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.