Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/24/12
Tough Loss…Real Tough The Headline Reads: You Never Get A Second Chance To Make A First Impression It has been nearly a week since the B.C. Lions were knocked out of contention for the 100th Grey Cup.  It has been long enough for fans to calm and reflect on the season.  Enough time has passed in order to fairly grade the effort of the Lions and their first year coach Mike Benevides. Maybe a phone call to Miami Heat head coach Erik Spolstra would help sooth the pain. After a disastrous start to the Western Conference Championship, which saw the Stampeders capture the first seven points of the night on the third play of the game, the energy under BC Place quickly declined. Even after Korey Banks returned a pick six and the Lions tied the game, it did not seem that the orange and white clad Leos were playing with their usual swagger. While the Stamps were playing the more aggressive attacking game, the Lions appeared to be content with a more passive approach, one that left fans bewildered.  Why wasn’t Coach B going for the first down more often when they were within a couple of yards? What was going on with Travis Lulay? If he wasn’t 100% maybe throwing Mike Reilly in would spark the offence, even if it was just for a couple of extra yardage sets.  In what could have been, and was, the final game of the season, wouldn’t you just take a chance and go for it, instead of playing safe and kicking field goals while the opponent was running into your “house” for TD’s. The team does not need major changes. The unfortunate thing is, the general fan will judge the season and Benevides job based on a single game loss.  So was the season a complete bust for Coach B?  With a league best 13-5 record and the stingiest defense, the Lions can still hold their heads up. While at the end of the day the regular season does not define your overall success, one has to take into consideration that on Sunday November 18th, the better team on that day won. Facts are, the Lions were a banged up team. Untimely injuries to key offensive threats hurt the team last week. The Lions are going to spend the off-season filling the holes in their roster and taking into deep consideration the average age of their lineup, being one of the older teams in the league. The team does not need major changes as Coach B has a lot of options to choose from, be it on offence or defense, but there will be need for some adjustments to the roster. First Season Success For a coach that won more games in his first season as the main man on the sidelines, Coach Benevides had a successful first season, one that could and should result in being named Coach Of The Year. After four years as an assistant coach, he had to learn what it was like to take on 100% of the responsibility on the field and also the pleasures and pains off of it. He dealt with early season injury in training camp, early season off field drama with Khalif Mitchell and gave promising WR Kierrie Johnson his pink slip at the end of the season right before playoffs started (a move he may regret). The Miami Heat were a team predicted to win the NBA Championship two years ago and fell short, even with the arguably the most talented starting trio in the league. One year later, they retooled and regrouped and now have rings to prove it.   As long as Benevides makes sure that the number he calls is Spolstra’s and not Mike Brown’s, the advice he may receive could lead to hoisting the 101st Grey Cup Championship. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT OUR B.C. LIONS BLOG IN THE NWSB LIONS CLUBHOUSE!
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