SHOWDOWN IN THE ‘PEG
When the B.C. Lions visit Winnipeg on Thursday night, they’ll be facing a Blue Bombers team that’s looking for some payback after the Leos shocked them 30-6 on June 22.
The Lions come into the game with a 6-1 record with the Bombers right behind them at 5-2. A B.C. win and the Lions extend their lead to two games on the Bombers but more importantly will also have claimed the season series with only one game remaining between these two teams in Vancouver on Oct. 6.
That being said, expect Winnipeg to be focused and ready for this rematch. Good news for the Lions is that receiver Dominique Rhymes will be good to go after missing the Edmonton game due to a knee/foot issue.
Dane Evans, who looked solid in going 25 for 32 passing for 332 yards with two touchdowns against the Elks, will start again at quarterback in place of the injured Vernon Adams Jr. Adams Jr. will be the ‘emergency’ third-string quarterback as he was against the Elks even though he wasn’t in uniform. The reason for that is simply cap management as dressing rookie Chase Brice would not be beneficial when it comes to the salary cap.
As for Adams, head coach Rick Campbell is hoping that he will be ready to return when the Lions host Calgary on Aug. 12.
“Vernon is coming along, which is good. It’s just that this is such a short week…we want to give him one more (week off). I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he’s ready for the next one,” said Campbell.
A lot has been said about the state of quarterbacking in the CFL during the course of the season. An already-thin position has taken some major hits as the likes of Trevor Harris, Jeremiah Masoli, Bo Levi Mitchell and Vernon Adams Jr. have succumbed to injuries. As a result, 17 different quarterbacks have started games this season with the Ottawa REDBLACKS having used four starters.
The injuries have exposed the fact the league is A: not getting the athlete that they may have a decade ago; and B: they’re not doing a good enough job developing the talent that they do bring in.
The NFL has followed the CFL’s lead and gone to more mobile, athletic quarterbacks and for the most part has moved away from the prototypical ‘pocket-passer’ types. Throw in two new leagues in the XFL and USFL procuring talent and you can see why there is a problem.
Although the calibre of CFL play is at a higher standard than the two start-up leagues, their schedules allow players to play out the year and then possibly get an NFL training camp invite whereas CFL teams are in the middle of their respective seasons. That means losing out on some quarterbacks.
All of this has forced CFL teams to look at how they develop the talent that they do have. Bringing back the passing camps that teams had prior to the start of training camp would be a start. Making sure that young quarterbacks get some reps in practice would be another.
Simply put, the league has to do a better job of developing quarterback talent.
The Seattle Mariners traded closer Paul Sewald to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday. All Sewald did this year was rack up 21 saves to go with a 2.93 ERA.
So what did the Mariners get in exchange? A couple of lower-level prospects and a journeyman infielder in Josh Rojas.
The Mariners are only four games out of a wildcard spot in the American League as we write this but this deal is a clear signal that the Mariners organization has thrown in the towel on the 2023 season. Mariners President Jerry Dipoto said as much when he appeared on Seattle Sports 710 AM last Thursday.
“We’ve not really separated ourselves in a meaningful way to be aggressive on the buying end, but we’re constantly trying to find ways to make ourselves better,” said Dipoto.
It’s an understandable strategy, given the fact the M’s have to leapfrog four teams to secure a post-season berth but I wouldn’t be popping into the M’s clubhouse any time soon if I were Dipoto.
Most successful executives, managers and coaches will tell you that organizations – not teams – win you championships. It’s about the culture that is created by leadership and that is exhibited by everyone in the organization, whether it’s players, coaches, scouts, support staff or the front office.
Keeping that in mind, you have to wonder how much impact the labour dispute between the Canadian National Women’s Soccer team and Soccer Canada impacted the team’s performance in the World Cup.
The CWNST became the first defending Olympic champion to be bounced in the first round of the World Cup after a disastrous 4-0 showing in a must-win match against Australia.
For Christine Sinclair, it’s an awful way to possibly end an illustrious career. The class act that she is, Sinclair took full responsibility for the team’s performance but did make a definitive statement when it came to the lack of support from Soccer Canada.
“Look we’ve been battling our federation for support but I can’t put this on them. There are 23 players out there and staff and we didn’t get it done. I think more of it is like a wake-up call for our federation. The lack of a professional league, the lack of support for our youth national teams - I think you’re just going to continue to see teams reach our level, surpass us, whatever you want to call it if things don’t change,” said Sinclair.
Veteran B.C. sports personality Bob “the Moj” Marjanovich writes twice weekly for Black Press Media. And check out his weekly podcast every Monday at Today in B.C. or your local Black Press Media website.