The Lions have allowed Mike Reilly to be beaten up.
21 times Reilly has been sacked, the highest total in the league and even when he’s gotten the ball away there are big hits being laid.
“I have to be genuinely concerned with that. He’s our quarterback, he’s the leader of our team, he’s one of the marquee players in this league and our success depends upon him being upright,” head coach DeVone Claybrooks said on TSN radio in Vancouver.
“That’s one of the issues that we see. Even my mom called me talking about the quarterback, talking about protection.”
Claybrooks didn’t share if his mother felt Reilly should have been removed from the Lions’ latest loss in Saskatchewan. Despite the score being out of reach, Reilly played the final minutes until there were zeroes on the clock.
“The thought process behind that was that Mike didn’t want to leave his teammates out there. Mike being the leader that he is, the trooper that he is, he didn’t want to come out of the game,” Claybrooks said.
Claybrooks wanted to take him out but Reilly wanted to finish with his teammates.
“I’m never going to ask the rest of my guys to do something that I won’t do. We were in it together, we got our butts kicked together…so I’m certainly not going to bow out and say I’m going to take a minute-and-a-half off,” Reilly said.
“That’s not how we operate. We win together, we lose together and we finish the game together even if it’s out of reach.”
The perseverance is impressive as somehow B.C.’s 34-year-old franchise quarterback keeps getting back to his feet. Reilly is already known for his toughness around the league, but it’s gone to another level with what he’s had to endure so far in 2019. Should Reilly suffer an injury it could be disaster for B.C. who don’t have another quarterback with starting experience on the roster.
“We have to decide on making adjustments on scheme, making adjustments personnel-wise to make sure Mike’s upright,” Claybrooks said.
“You want to make a thought out, rational, educated decision on the facts that you have in front of you. We’ll convene as a staff and convene as an organization and management and we’ll decide on which direction we want to go to get this team better.”
The Lions sit last in the West Division at 1-5. It’s not the way Claybrooks envisioned his start as a bench boss.
“When you go into a new situation with a fairly new staff and just a bunch of jigsaw pieces trying to fit this puzzle together, sometimes you try to put a square peg in a round hole. We have to identify is it just that we’re slow learners? Or is it just that we have to adjust to things that we’re doing? Or is it just the people that we have in spots can’t get it done? We have to decide on what we need to do,” Claybrooks said.
“Success doesn’t happen overnight, especially when you’re trying to get a lot of pieces to fit into place. We’re not writing off the season by any means.”