Points to ponder after Lions loss; maybe Carter isn’t a bad idea after all

Ready…aim…find foot…fire. Points to ponder as the B.C. Lions continued to perfect the concept of shooting themselves with penalties that played a factor in their 24-23 loss to the Toronto Argonauts Saturday:

Ye shall receive: Players, go to your room with your playbooks. Coaches, plug your ears; you might not want to hear this either.

B.C. needs Duron Carter.

Surely that had to be the conclusion drawn by Lions general manager Ed Hervey as he watched Travis Lulay sink under the 300-yard passing mark for the second straight game.

B.C. might have a decent receiving corps with Manny Arceneaux and Bryan Burnham, with Shaq Johnson, Kevin Elliott, injured Ricky Collins and Cory Watson playing support roles. Maybe they would be better if they didn’t have crucial drops. Maybe they would be better if they had more yards after the catch.

Think of how much better they would be if they could bring in a receiver who is sure to effect coverage; who can make significant yards after catch and yes, potentially draw the ire of every one of his offensive teammates when he doesn’t see the ball enough, just as he has done in Saskatchewan and as he routinely demonstrated in Montreal.

Hervey came to the conclusion the Lions were better off without Carter last week having canvassed coach Wally Buono and two former Saskatchewan coaches who worked with him last year, offensive coordinator Jarious Jackson and receivers coach Markus Howell.

The man in charge apparently learned he could be a fit from talking to his coaches. Hervey went with his gut and passed, at least for now.

“Knowing this group I wasn’t ready or prepared to take that kind of chance on the chemistry and getting the room from focusing on Toronto to focusing on why we made a decision that may or may not help the team in their eyes,” Hervey said last week.

But in eight games so far, the Lions have produced exactly one, 100-yard receiving game from the nine players who have caught passes so far this season, making it increasingly obvious that Hervey might have to go against his natural inclinations and reach out to someone who might both kick-start the offence and draw teammates crazy at the same time.

Is it a different narrative if Arceneaux is able to get to the ground after his last touch Saturday, which included a catch but a subsequent fumble? Maybe. Unfair to blame the receivers for the loss when they were being pushed back repeatedly by James Wilder Jr. of the Argos? Absolutely.

Know this, however: As much as Carter has shown no inclination he his capable of changing his act, he at least killed his Twitter account this weekend. Food for thought.

  Flag parade: You have to at least say that in losing to Toronto they made progress in one area that had been proving to be lethal in the past. Yes, they had another time count violation. At least they didn’t kick the ball at an opponent after getting a defensive stop and allow their opponent to extend a drive, as was the case during the previous road loss in Calgary when Anthony Orange took an objectionable conduct.

No, this time all they did was draw two crucial offside penalties by Shaq Johnson, commit two illegal blocks by Elliott, plus the aforementioned time count by Travis Lulay. Good teams can get away with mistakes. B.C. can’t. It’s killing them. And that’s why they lost to a quarterback in McLeod Bethel-Thompson who has all of eight quarters of CFL experience under his belt.

Road worriers: it was said here last week when they beat Edmonton that the Lions can’t be taken seriously until they consistently find a way to be successful against the top three teams in the West Division. Here’s something equally obvious: B.C. won’t have any street cred until they win on the road or put together a winning streak.

The Lions are now 0-5 away from home this year, have only one road win since July 15 last year, and haven’t won two straight anywhere since beating everyone’s favourite punching bag, the laugh-a-minute Alouettes, on July 6, 2017.  A loss next week at home to Saskatchewan, on the front end of a two-game season series, and it might mean it is only a matter of time before the local market is completely engulfed by the local NHL operation in its attempt to move up from 28th overall once again. Suffice it to suggest Hervey’s reconstruction project isn’t quite finished yet.


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.