Having had close to a month to cry myself to sleep on a regular basis since the Canucks early post-season exit, I’m now getting over the significant “let down” knowing that the BC Lions training camp officially opened today.
It was a series of miscues and missed opportunities that cost the Lions a win against the Stamps back in November of 2008, a loss that seemed synonymous with their up and down season (remember that game against the Als where the Lions had 3 pops on the 1yd line and couldn’t punch it through – yeah.. exactly). So it wasn’t much of a shock to see Wally gut the team. It was just some of the changes were definitely out of left field.
Cam Wake leaving for the NFL was sure thing. Stefan Logan following suit, not so much. Charles Roberts, Otis Floyd, and Tyrone Williams being shown the door was foretold, but the loss of Jason Clermont and Bret Anderson were definitely surprising. Although losing Rob Murphy wasn’t something really considered, it was always possible with his contract concluding at the end of the season. And with Kelly Bates being traded to the Bombers, the Lions’ scouting staff was left with a fair amount of work this post-season. True the team has picked up Anton McKenzie and has big boy Justin Sorensen under wraps, but this will be one of the first seasons where I have doubts since Wally took over the show.
Heck, even Wally has doubts:
I’ll say it publicly, we’re no longer on top of the mountain, we’ve been knocked off there last year. Other teams, and I will say it in a nice way, got to our level. No longer are we maybe a better football club than the other teams. B.C., Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatchewan, in this division, are pretty much all on an equal footing. That in it’s own way is good. It’s going to make you want to re-establish yourself and you won’t take things for granted.
Okay, maybe those are not strong doubts but it sheds light on his belief that the team is in tough. The new BC Lions won’t have that same swagger as before. They likely won’t play an arrogant game where the not only believe they are the best, but carry press clippings on the field to ensure they can back up any trash talk going on along the line of scrimmage. But that’s not a bad thing in my opinion. I think the Lions need to get back to basics. They need to get back to their roots where the play sound defense and challenge the other team on the offense by stretching the field of play.
So here I sit, wiping clear my eyes and waiting for the BC Lions training camp to weed out the meek from the wild. And here I sit hoping for greatness come November, and dream of another Grey Cup victory where the Lions can break the cup in two.