With a 7-2 record and the gap between the bottom three spots in this Western Division widening more each week, you can certainly claim Vernon Adams Jr. and company have set themselves up nicely for the second half of this season. And while they appear to be on a collision course with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for top spot in this seemingly lopsided division, the quarterback will ensure his Lions won’t lose focus of what’s ahead of them.
That mindset continues this Sunday with a battle against the 4-5 Saskatchewan Roughriders at Regina’s Mosaic Stadium. It represents the fifth consecutive week in which they will face a Western foe, having already beaten the Riders, Elks and Stampeders in this stretch while the only hiccup came two weeks ago in Winnipeg. Four outta five wouldn’t be bad at all.
Adams joined Sekeres and Price on Monday to break down the latest test against a Riders squad that should be fired up after coming off a lopsided defeat in Montreal last week.
“They’re going to be well-rested, and they’re really good. When I first played them this first time this year, that’s the game I hurt my knee and you know they were trying to get after me; the D- line, linebackers and their front seven did a really good job,” explained the Lions’ quarterback.
“So, this time around, we want it to be different. We want to do what we have to do to get this win, get them playing on their heels and make them play honest. We’re going to do everything we can. We’re going to prepare hard; the preparation starts today, we take it day by day and try to get this win this week.”
Indeed, the Riders’ front with the likes of Pete Robertson and Micah Johnson had the plan to be aggressive and disrupt Adams Jr.’s timing in a gritty 19-9 Lion triumph in week seven on July 22nd. That will be a major part of the preparation and film study going into Sunday, another one of those matchups where it will take all three phases doing their thing.
With the offence clicking and the defence continuing to keep opponents out of the end zone at home with just one touchdown allowed in five contests at BC Place, it has created a solid vibe both on the field and in the locker room. Adams Jr. said a key component to that is the units have held each other accountable in good times and bad.
Tuesday on S&P ⤵️@risingaction – #Canucks signing Suter, offensive upside, preferred linemates; Hronek’s impact; Rypien’s legacy@VernonAdamsJr8 (@BCLions) – #BCLions‘ win over Stamps; defence helping offence; game vs Sask.
Applewood Auto Group | https://t.co/Zrf58NXKIu
— Sekeres and Price (@sekeresandprice) August 15, 2023
“We love when our defence gets a two-and-out and brings it back to us,” said Adams.
“We know we want to give them a rest. Early in the second half there in this last game, we had a couple of two-and-outs and I was telling the guys, ‘Hey, we have to give the defence a rest.’ That’s because especially with a team like Calgary or any of these teams, you give them too many opportunities and eventually, they’re going to start moving the ball and trying to get points as well.”
A big part of keeping the defence rested is Adams utilizing all of his playmakers to sustain these long scoring drives. No less than seven Lions caught at least one pass in the win over Calgary with Ken Hatcher racking up his career-high 170 yards and a major on nine receptions. Not bad at all considering injuries have prevented the full slate of receivers from playing together most weeks.
“The receivers man, they caught a lot of balls coming to them, and we’re just kind of making me look good,” Adams said with a laugh.
“The offensive line also held up their end of the bargain and Smoke (Taquan Mizzell) caught a touchdown out of the backfield as well. It was just it was a fun win. I think it was, like I said, a total team win. And I can’t do it by myself. Credit to all of the players around me.”
They know they must continue that brand of football in a hostile environment this weekend.
“You can’t say, ‘Oh we beat them before we’re going to beat them again.’ You’ve just seen Calgary beat Toronto. On any day, it can be that teams day,” reminded Adams.