Calvillo injury won’t change preparations for Lions 0
Montreal Alouettes' Anthony Calvillo (13) looks to pass the ball against the BC Lions during the CFL football action in Montreal, August 31, 2012. (REUTERS/Olivier Jean)
The B.C. Lions must be grinning ear-to-ear as they head into Thursday's showdown in Montreal — even if they won’t admit it.
Despite dealing with a short week, and one that requires them to fly to the other side of the country, the Leos should catch a big break with the potential absence of quarterback Anthony Calvillo.
The three-time CFL most outstanding player and pro football's all-time passing yards leader suffered a suspected concussion in the first half of the Als' game on Saturday, after taking a hit from Saskatchewan Roughriders' Ricky Foley.
And with a short turnaround for Montreal as well, the team may lean more towards a better-safe-than-sorry approach when it comes to their offensive leader's health. It means backup Josh Neiswander, who completed 12-of-30 passes for 147 yards and two interceptions after replacing Calvillo in the loss to the Riders, will likely suit up again and make his first CFL start.
How will all that alter things for B.C.? It won't, according to veteran defensive back Ryan Phillips.
"It doesn't change as far as to how aggressive we're going to play and the intensity we're going to play with," Phillips said. "We can't change our approach, whether it's A.C. or whoever else we're going to play that day. We just got to make sure that we play our scheme and after that, if we execute, we definitely should get a win."
Then again, the Lions know all too well about not taking a backup quarterback lightly after the trouncing they received at the hands of Zach Collaros and the Toronto Argonauts just three weeks ago. The 24-year-old, who replaced the injured Ricky Ray, threw three touchdowns and 253 yards to embarrass the Lions.
"It's very recent the memory in our mind where a hall of fame quarterback did not play and their backup beat us," Lions coach Mike Benevides said. "We need to make sure we stay vigilant.
"I know they will be prepared and everyone will step up their game."
To add to the Lions fortunes, the Als could be missing seven other players — all injuries suffered this past weekend in Regina — including five Canadians. That makes it all the more difficult for Montreal to fill those spots. But in the end, the biggest factor could be whether the 40-year-old QB can suit up.
"The things they like to do doesn't stop if he plays or not," said linebacker Solomon Elimimian, who had eight tackles in the Lions win against Calgary on Saturday. "It's always about us. If we play fast and physical, we'll be OK no matter what quarterback is in the game."