VANCOUVER — The B.C. Lions know they’ll need to play a full four quarters in order to exact payback this week.
Details like missed tackles and dropped balls have hampered the team late in games so far this season, leading multiple opponents to come-from-behind wins.
That can’t happen when the Lions (1-3) host the Edmonton Eskimos on Thursday, said B.C. coach DeVone Claybrooks.
“The attention to detail just has to stay there and be there,” he said after practice on Wednesday. “You don’t worry about the scoreboard, you worry about the details that contribute to the scoreboard. Every game always comes down to tackling, blocking and catching anyway, so you have to do those base fundamentals better than anyone else.”
Focus will be key to changing the pattern of fourth-quarter meltdowns, said receiver Bryan Burnham.
“You can’t get comfortable. I think a few of those games you’re up by double digits at the end of the game, you start to get a little comfortable,” he said. “We’ve just got to maintain that focus until the games over and you see all zeros on the clock.”
The Eskimos already got the best of the Leos once this year, taking a 39-23 victory in Edmonton back on June 21.
But Burnham believes that B.C.’s taken lessons from a string of early-season losses and will be a different team on Thursday.
“In Week 2, there were just way too many little things that were just completely avoidable,” he said. “I think that’s one of the big things that we’ve been harping on. Just control what we can control. Don’t worry about trying to do anything supernatural or be a superhero. Just do your job. That’s all you’ve got to focus on.”
The Lions should have some renewed confidence after posting their first win of the season in Toronto last week. It wasn’t pretty, but B.C. squeaked out a 18-17 victory thanks to a last-minute rouge.
Adding another W this week won’t be easy.
Edmonton’s offence has racked up 92 points so far, and quarterback Trevor Harris has already tossed for 1,086 yards in his first three games of the year. He has yet to throw a single interception.
The Lions will need to be calculated to make the 33-year-old QB uncomfortable, said defensive back Aaron Grymes.
“They say there’s no good coverage for a perfect throw and a perfect catch. And (the Eskimos) seem to have a lot of those,” he said. “But if we can get them off their mark and mess their timing up, then the ball’s in our court, it favours us. So we’ve got to make sure we do that.”
Harris knows this week’s Lions won’t bear much resemblance to the team the Esks faced last month. But the path to a win hasn’t changed dramatically.
“We’ve just got to execute our game plan, make sure we’re on top of the keys to victory and doing the important things like trying to win the turnover battle and cutting down on penalties,” Harris said.
Edmonton had 13 penalties for 139 yards in their last outing, a 28-21 loss to Winnipeg on June 27.
Discipline has been a constant message at the team’s meetings and practices over the last week, said Maas, adding that every player needs to be more “locked in” to help eliminate the errors.
“Ultimately, though, it can’t affect our play,” he said. “Our play has to be what it is — it’s always fast, it’s always aggressive and physical.”
EDMONTON ESKIMOS (2-1) AT B.C. LIONS (1-3)
Thursday, B.C. Place
FRESH FACE: Wide receiver DaVaris Daniels is expected to play his first game for the Eskimos on Thursday. The 26-year-old former Stampeder signed with Edmonton as a free agent during the off-season, but sat out the start of the season with an injury.
BIG CATCHERS: Edmonton’s roster includes two of the league’s current top-five receivers. Greg Ellingson has 313 yards this season while Ricky Collins Jr. has tallied 293. Heading into Week 5, Hamilton’s Brandon Banks led the CFL in receiving yards with 420.
POINT SPREAD: The Lions have given up 125 points this season, more than any other team in the league. On the offensive side, B.C. has scored 96 points — fourth in the CFL behind Hamilton, Calgary and Saskatchewan.