VANCOUVER — The BC Lions entered the 2013 season full of promise, but an injry to starting QB Travis Lulay in Week 12 would ultimately set the tone for what would be an difficult final two months.
Following an early exit from the Grey Cup Playoffs, GM Wally Buono began tinkering with his roster in hopes of making the 2014 edition of the BC Lions into a contender for the 102nd Grey Cup.
The moves would begin almost immediately after BC’s Western Semi-Final loss to the Roughriders, with the coaching staff taking the first hit, as offensive coordinator Jacques Chapdelaine and the Lions would agree to part ways only days after the Grey Cup.
But Chapdelaine was just the first domino on BC’s coaching staff to fall.
The final month of the 2013 calendar year was a busy one for BC.
A few weeks after bidding adieu to Chapdelaine, the Lions said farewell to defensive coordinator Rich Stubler, announcing that would not be returning to the Lions staff in 2014, as well.
Stubler’s departure paved the way for Mark Washington to take over the defensive side of the ball. Later in the month, the Lions filled Chapdelaine’s void by naming former Saskatchewan QB coach Khari Jones as the new offensive coordinator.
The Expansion Draft also introduced new changes to BC’s roster. Three players in Matt Albright, Andrew Marshall and backup QB Thomas DeMarco were all poached by the REDBLACKS in the December Draft.
Following a wild December, the Lions were generally quiet throughout January, but capped off the month by trading away one of their most vocal veteran players in Korey Banks, who was shipped to the Blue Bombers in exchange for Canadian receiver Kito Poblah.
Like every other CFL team, the Lions entered free agency with wide eyes and an empty stomach.
The first few days were rough on Buono, as he struck out swinging on several targets, and also saw one of his premier assets leave the Lions Den.
But it wasn’t all bad in BC, as the Buono managed to bring back a familiar face by signing linebacker Jamall Johnson. Buono then added two more Canadians to their roster in signing Akwasi Antwi and Stephen Adekolu.
With free agency having cooled down a bit, Buono shifted his focus towards extending some of his veteran players, while also continuing to to his already strong roster.
First, Buono announced the extension of veteran kicker Paul McCallum, while adding the booming leg of punter Ricky Schmitt on the same day.
Joining Moore on the list of “former Lions” would be receiver Paris Jackson, who was granted his release and ultimately ended up signing with the REDBLACKS, as well as Steve Myddelton who signed with Hamilton.
February also saw the Lions add to their coaching staff, with veteran coach Johnny Holland signing on as the team’s linebackers coach, while CFL veteran Joe Paopao joined as their receivers coach.
In somewhat of a surprise move, backup quarterback Buck Pierce announcef his retirement after nine seasons in the CFL, joining longtime Lion centre Angus Reid and left tackle Ben Archibald, who also hung up their cleats.
As Travis Lulay continued to heal from of-fseason shoulder surgery the Lions began looking for a replacement backup quarterback. Buono looked South of the Border to find his potential answer, signing QBs John Beck and Jarrett Lee.
The Lions also announced the signing of their 2013 1st round draft pick offensive lineman Hunter Steward.
The Lions kicked off April by securing one of their premier Canadian talents in Andrew Harris, signing the tailback to an extension that will keep him in BC through the 2015 season. Joining Harris would be defensive back Ryan Philips who signed an extension through 2016 and centre Matt Norman, who also signed a deal through 2016.
BC continued to add to their stable of pivots, signing seven-year CFL veteran Steven Jyles, who the Lions also hope can provide depth behind Lulay.
Other April Transactions
Signed Andre Ramsey, OT
Signed Stephon Heyer, OT
Signed Garrett Chisolm, OT
Signed Jason Slowey, OT
Signed Perez Ashford, SB
Released Joey Elliott, QB
The month would open with the Lions welcoming back Khalif Mitchell, who spent the 2013 season with the Toronto Argonauts.
In arguably the most significant season of BC’s off-season, they appeared to finally find their backup QB answer, acquiring Kevin Glenn from the REDBLACKS in the Draft Day deal.
Below is a look at who the Lions selected during the 2014 CFL Draft.
|12. Tchssakid Player||OL||Northwestern State|
|14. Pascal Lochard||FB||Laval|
|27. Casey Chin||LB||Simon Fraser|
|32. David Menard||DL||Montreal|
|41. Alexander Fox||WR||Bishop’s|
|50. Dylan Roper||DL||Simon Fraser|
|59. Guillaume Bourassa||RB||Laval|
Other May Transactions
Released Lin-J Shell, DB
Traded Isi Soifele to Hamilton for Future Considerations
Sign Brandon McDonald, DB
Sign Dustin Harris, DB
Sign Jemarious Moore, DB
Sign Tony Burnett, DB
Release Jarrett Lee, QB
Release Adrian Awasom, DT