When DeVier Posey hits the field Saturday night, he’s going to be focused on keeping his emotions in check and playing football.
The B.C. Lions wide receiver wants to bounce back from a tough loss, but Saturday will also be the first time Posey lines up against his former teammates on the Toronto Argonauts.
“I just kind of want to stay locked in, stay mentally prepared,” the MVP of last year’s Grey Cup said after practice on Friday.
After winning the championship with Toronto, Posey signed with the Baltimore Ravens.
He joined the Lions last month after being released by the NFL club and has since tallied 11 receptions for 111 yards in three games, including last week’s blowout loss in Hamilton.
The Lions (6-7), last in the West Division but just two points back of Winnipeg and Edmonton, have spent all week atoning in practice for the 40-10 loss, Posey said.
“We just feel like last week a lot of those things slipped and that’s why the score got out of control,” he said, adding that players have been more focused in training in recent days.
“It’s just the idea of taking each rep as if it’s your last, working on the small details and things.”
Sometimes athletes need a tough result to “zap you into reality,” said Lions quarterback Jonathon Jennings.
“You need to slap yourself in the face a little bit to get back to being focused and the team that we were before,” he said.
Jennings threw for 146 yards and three interceptions in the loss to the Ticats.
Lions head coach Wally Buono said indecision and doubt impacted the 26-year-old’s performance.
“At the quarterback position, where you’re talking about fractions of seconds, that can get up on you real fast,” he said, noting that many on his team were unhappy with how they played.
“When you look at the Hamilton game, I’m not really sure that anyone was proud of their work, their effort. This is a different week, this is a different opportunity.”
Both B.C. and Toronto (3-10) are coming off losses, but the Lions went 3-1 in September, while the Argos have now lost five in a row.
They may be on a losing skid, but the Argos will still come into Saturday’s game ready to fight, Jennings said.
“They’re a professional team,” he said. “They’re going to come out to play for their pride and play for their jobs. And we’re going to have to make sure that we’re strapped down, that we’re saddled up and ready to go because any team in this league can beat any team. And we’re not taking it for granted.”
After Argos got trampled 38-16 by the Stampeders last Saturday, the club’s top brass opted to keep the squad in Calgary for the week.
Argos coach Marc Trestman said the Lions have plenty of weapons at their disposal.
“Offensively they are a loaded football team,” Trestman said in Vancouver Friday. “Jennings is an explosive passer. Defensively they are so multiple. We all know pass-rush wise they are as good as anybody in the league.”
Toronto essentially needs to run the table the rest of the season to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson admits this season has been a tough one, but said he still has hope.
“It’s execution. We are worried about what we have to do,” he said. ”When it all comes together its going to be amazing. It’s going to be a fun time. We are very close to where we want to be.”
TORONTO ARGONAUTS (3-10) AT B.C. LIONS (6-7)
Saturday, B.C. Place
Neither the Lions or Argonauts are currently in the CFL’s playoff picture, but a win for B.C. could be a big step towards a post-season berth. Victory would improve the Lions’ record to 7-7 — matching what both the Edmonton Eskimos and Winnipeg Blue Bombers held going into this week.
Both B.C. and Toronto have struggled on the road this year. The Argos have lost all six away games so far, while the Lions’ record is 1-6. The Leos have fared much better on home turf, posting a 5-1 record at B.C. Place.
The Argos claimed a narrow 24-23 victory when the teams last met in August. If the Lions win Saturday and the series is split, it will mark the sixth year in a row that each organization has taken home a win.
Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press