VANCOUVER — A pair of wins has brought some of the swagger back to the B.C. Lions, but defensive end Brent Johnson thinks his team has to be careful not to get tripped up by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to night.
“It’s still a work in progress,” the thoughtful Johnson said after a brief practice at B.C. Place Stadium on Thursday. “We’re still struggling. Winnipeg is hungry for a win and so are we. We have to keep building on the success of the last two weeks. It’s going to take more to get where we want to go.”
In many ways B.C. and Winnipeg look like teams heading in opposite directions this CFL season. After a 1-4 start, the Lions have clawed their way back to 3-4 and could be .500 heading into their bye week.
The Bombers have dropped three of their last four games and are 2-5. The 125 points Winnipeg has scored this year is the least of any team in the league.
On the positive side, running back Fred Reid leads the league with 535 rushing yards on 89 carries while the Bombers’ 16 interceptions is tops in the CFL.
Quarterback Michael Bishop thinks a win over the Lions (TSN, 8:30 p.m.) could help turn the Bombers’ season around.
“From watching film they have a defence that can get around a lot of balls,” said Bishop. “They do make plays and I understand that.
“At the same time we have a bunch of playmakers on our side. This week would be a great situation for our playmakers to out play their playmakers.”
A concussion to Buck Pierce means Jarious Jackson will get his first start of the season for B.C. Jackson came off the bench last week in the Lions’ 36-28, come-from-behind win over Toronto. He also replaced an injured Pierce in the Lions’ first win of the season over Edmonton.
Jackson has a rocket launcher for an arm, and can steamroll over people when he pulls down the ball and runs.
The criticism against him is he’s inconsistent and is better coming off the bench than starting. Still, Jackson doesn’t think he has anything to prove this week.
“I think we need a good outing for the team,” said the Notre Dame product who has thrown for 622 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions this season. “If someone doesn’t think I can play now, then I don’t think they ever are going to think I can play. It’s not about going out and proving nay-sayers wrong. It’s just going out and trying to get a win for this team.”