In a new feature here at BCLionsDen.ca, we’re going to try and help keep you up to date on recent happenings from the Lions Den and around the CFL. We’ll gather the top news items of the week and compile them here for your convenience. So let’s get started!
Simpson off to Riderville
Former BC Lion linebacker Barrin Simpson signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday. The signing had been rumoured for about a week, but was made official. The Lions had been kicking the tires on Simpson, who I know was very interested in a return to BC. However, on his Fifth Quarter blog, Lowell Ullrich reports that after considering bringing the nine year veteran back to where he began his career, Wally Buono perhaps decided that the risk to the chemistry of the locker room would be one too great to take.
“Nobody would ever come out and say so for public consumption, but the clear message was that the Lions feel that Simpson would be some kind of distraction in the locker room. Chemistry is a big thing with Buono, and you can debate if you choose whether that has always been the case.”
The Lions do need linebackers, but with the trade to acquire the younger Dennis Haley from Hamilton earlier this month it appears they will look to free agent camps and possibly the draft to add more depth behind Haley and Anton McKenzie.
Robertson Runs With The Lions
Free agent running back Jamal Robertson signed with the Lions this week. The 33 year old former back of the Toronto Argonauts will had some veteran depth to the lineup that currently features young prospects Jamal Lee and Andrew Harris. Both are promising backs, and both have Canadian passports. Robertson is a hard runner, similar in style to the departed Martell Mallett, but he’s also capable catching the ball out of the backfield. From the sounds of things, new offensive coordinator Jacques Chapdelaine will be designing an offense that is pass heavy, so adding Robertson would compliment that style. The Lions also feel that they let Mallett get worn out last season, and there is a good chance the team will rotate backs a lot more this season in an attempt to keep guys fresh, give teams different looks and build some experience for Lee and Harris.
Competition For Logan?
On the way out there front, there has been speculation from fans that former Lion Stefan Logan could be in trouble in Pittsburgh with the return of Antwaan Randle-El this week to the steel city. If he were to return to the CFL however, he would be a free agent, and it remains to be seen if the Lions would throw their hat in the bidding war his return would create. Before that happens however, Logan will have to be cut, and would likely get looks from other NFL teams before ever considering a return to the CFL. Randle-El hasn’t been very productive of late and Logan set a new Steeler kick return record last year. I’m banking on the little man.
One of the best signings the Lions have made this off-season was the one of new defensive line coach Rich Stubler. To say the man is over qualified for that job would be an understatement. Stubler has a long history in the league and will bring a wealth of experience to the table. There is also talk the move my be a part of a plan for if and and when Wally Buono decides to move upstairs and assume the GM role full time. The idea being that Mike Benevides is being groomed for the head job, while Stubler would take over the defensive coordinator role. For now Stubler, who lives in the Pacific Northwest is thrilled to be back in the league and back with the Lions.
Wanna Go Camping?
The Lions posted details of the first week of their 201o training camp on BCLions.com this week. The first week’s preliminary schedule has been posted, and as in past years the Lions will practice twice a day, once on the morning and once in the afternoon. The will be located at Hillside Stadium adjacent to campus of Thompson Rivers University.
Lions rookie camp will go June 2nd to the 5th, and the first day of the main camp will be the 6th. The Lions will remain in Kamloops until the 12th, when the travel to Regina to play the Riders on the 13th. They will return to Kamloops on the 14th for more sessions, before heading to Vancouver to take on the Edmonton Eskimos on June 20th at their temporary home, Empire Fields. The club opens the 2010CFL season on July 4th in Edmonton.
Tweet @Coach_Brillo (Wally Buono)
Join Head Coach and GM Wally Buono on Twitter on Monday, March 29th between 11:00am and 12:00pm for a question and answer session. The coach who goes by the name @Coach_Brillo on Twitter, will answer as many questions from Twitter fans within the hour. Coach Buono will fresh off the clubs Los Angeles free agent camp which goes this weekend.
It’s a nice move by the team to take advantage of a great social media tool. Hopefully they can maybe do more with Twitter in the future and do similar Q & A’s with Geroy Simon (@geroysimon), Dante Marsh (@dantemarsh) Emmanuel Arceneaux (@84mannie) and others that use the service.
Check it out, and if you’re on Twitter, make sure you follow us, @BCLionsDen!