Jennings marriage with Lions keeps growing


Jon Jennings was all ears as always when it came time to talk shop with Travis Lulay but it was what the backup quarterback of the B.C. Lions said to the starter about his new life off the field that could benefit him the most.

Face it, every married male on the planet could relate.

Jennings left bachelorhood on New Year’s Eve in Maui, a wedding attended by Lulay and his wife, and before much time had passed after the ceremony the father of two passed on a little advice about spouses.

“They’re always right,” Jennings relayed with a little grin what Lulay told him, proving again he is as good at accepting pointers in the real world as learning about operating an offence in the frenzied world of three-down football.

Truth is, what will win brownie points at home is still the right approach for Jennings as he approaches his second year as a CFL starter. After what he did in his first full season behind centre Jennings has established a lofty threshold to cross in the Lions’ quest to win a West Division final and finally return to a Grey Cup game.

The 24-year-old more than validated the faith shown in him by former coach Jeff Tedford during the quarterback’s first season with Wally Buono on the sidelines. Jennings threw for 5,226 yards, the third-highest total in franchise history, and started every game as a sophomore.

Jennings and Lulay came to Vancouver on their own this week to review last year and to look ahead to the May 28 opening of training camp. The starter doesn’t view a repeat of last year as an unattainable goal where pass yards are concerned, but his success has led him to think more can be achieved by taking his foot slightly off the pedal in the season ahead.

Jennings gave the Lions a much-needed shot of adrenalin in a marketplace which has yet to fully embrace his achievements, throwing for more completions (40) in excess of 30 yards last season. But it was Jennings who referenced up his league-high 15 interceptions as a grounds for improvement when he sat down with Lulay and offensive coordinator Khari Jones this week. He vows to keep throwing the deep ball, not the stupid ball.

“Turnovers are going to pop up; I’ve got to continue to be patient,” said Jennings when asked about his takeaways from last season. “My tendency to play aggressive hurts me sometimes. I’ve got to know when I can take a shot and when I can take a sack or throw the ball away.”

If Jennings does add one of the few missing attributes to his game and matches his first full season, the Lions could well find themselves in a situation similar to this winter when five players signed futures contracts in the NFL, only they will be trying to absorb the loss of their offensive leader.

In exchange for pulling down a reported $175,000 as a base salary this year, Jennings has a similar NFL option window after this season. Even if he does return to B.C. in 2018, the Lions would almost certainly have to renegotiate a deal that bumps up to $300,000 with another standout CFL season, which is one big reason Lulay wasn’t being traded as rumored to Saskatchewan a few weeks back.

For now, Buono has successfully mastered a transition at the most important position on the field, and knowing the Lions are a lukewarm success at best currently in the Lower Mainland, added considerable spark by somehow landing receiver Chris Williams in free agency.

Williams will have his training camp reps structured, Buono said, owing to season-ending ACL surgery last year, but between him and fellow injured receiver Nick Moore the Lions feel they can withstand the potential loss of Canadian Shawn Gore to retirement despite any ratio implications.

In the middle of the off-season, the Lions are in a comfort zone, at least on offence, with Jennings at ease with a familiar scheme and few conversions to make for the time being.

“This is really a luxury,” said Lulay, who has bonded off the field with Jennings much as he did with Mike Reilly before he left to become a cornerstone quarterback in Edmonton.

“The last couple of years it’s been new at this time of year. After going into ‘14 it was new with Khari, going into ‘15 it was (Tedford) and George (Cortez). Last year it was Khari and (new receivers coach) Marcel Bellefeiulle restamping. We feel head and shoulders better. The foundation is so much more exciting.”

There’s still the small matter of replacing the leadership of Adam Bighill, Ryan Phillips plus four other defensive starters. But the uncertainty that came prior to last year with an unproven quarterback is a thing of the past looking ahead for the Lions. It’ll also help Jennings knows to take out the trash when asked.




Lowell Ullrich

Lowell Ullrich

Lowell Ullrich has covered the Lions since 1999 and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2014. He is also a contributor to TSN1040.
Lowell Ullrich
Lowell Ullrich
About Lowell Ullrich (179 Articles)
Lowell Ullrich has covered the Lions since 1999 and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2014. He is also a contributor to TSN1040.

23 Comments on Jennings marriage with Lions keeps growing

  1. stampland // March 19, 2017 at 3:46 pm //

    great to see . Such QB stability in the west.Should lead to great competition:
    BC has Jennings
    Edmonton has Reilly
    Calgary has Mitchell
    Winnipeg has Willy
    Saskatchewan has ……well every division needs a perennial basement dweller

  2. Where have you been stampland? The Bombers parted ways with Willy last September. Winnipeg has Nichols. Saskatchewan has Glenn.

    • stampland // March 19, 2017 at 4:06 pm //

      lol sorry I meant Nichols.

    • stampland // March 19, 2017 at 4:20 pm //

      Of course until Bombers benched Willy for Nichols they were rather horrid.
      Yes off course I know riders have Glenn.While a good journeymen not someone you will build a team around.Young is a long shot at best and with no obvious future solution my comments on the riders are perfectly reasonable.

  3. I have never commented on this or another website before but Stampland makes me sick. Constantly putting down the Riders. As a person who was born and raised in Calgary, I find him very off putting and he makes Calgarians look bad. He seems to find something bad to say about the riders on almost every article that appears on this website regardless of who the story was originally about. It seems he is obsessed about the riders. Get over it Stampland.

    • stampland // March 19, 2017 at 9:41 pm //

      hmmm what makes you say I’m from Calgary? You must be following me on hear to make this comment…I wonder if you are this random person you claim to be…

      • I assume you are from Calgary or area because of your name Stampland which I assumed meant you followed the Stampeders. Face it, the Stamps don’t exactly have fans all across the country. Most parts of the country have their own teams to cheer for.

        I certainly do not follow you, but I read most of the articles on this website and have not failed to notice that you have a constant need to comment. While there is nothing wrong with commenting, most of your comments spew poisonous and negative points about the riders even when an article has nothing to do with the riders. It makes me wonder why you hate the riders so. It must be something personal to have such a hate for a team. This dislike you have colours your remarks so that even when you make points I do agree with on occasion, I find myself more likely to disregard any comments by you.

        • stampland // March 19, 2017 at 10:44 pm //

          Thanks for your input love the cfl. As it turns out I’m a born and raised Calgarian too.I’m sorry my comments upset you but I say nothing insulting or disparaging to any fans or anything personal against anyone in the riders organization.My comments are perfectly reasonable and if they seem sharp at times that’s my right to express them that way

          • Ryan Leaf's Sweaty Cap // March 20, 2017 at 1:28 am //

            Stampland: you would get more respect if you would just stop. Constantly. Commenting. You are not that relevant or interesting to anyone.

          • Ah, my Stampland friend, detest your team but enjoy your musings – keep them coming. And, when in doubt, last time I looked PET’s and QE II’s signatures were still on a 1982 parchment paper…

  4. The sooner Braley sells the team, the better!

  5. Hardy Har Har – Swampland gets spanked again! Bravo Love the CFL….love it!

    • stampland // March 20, 2017 at 1:57 pm //

      It amazes me how this always turns from constructive comments to pilling on and bully cheering

    • stampland // March 20, 2017 at 2:42 pm //

      Careful Rowdy, friendly reminder, a few weeks back several riders fans were removed from this site for piling on after encouraging this type of thing. Nobody wants that again

      • How do you know they were all Rider fans?

      • stampland // March 20, 2017 at 4:35 pm //

        I know they were

      • stampland // March 20, 2017 at 4:38 pm //

        they no doubt were

        • But you really dont know for sure. Your dislike for everything Green is clouding your judgement. St Patrick’s day must give you nightmares what with all the green around LOL. But hey buddy, everything I post is all in good fun …nothing personal.

          • stampland // March 20, 2017 at 5:29 pm //

            I love St Patrick’s day wore green,drank green beer.Never thought about riders once..don’t worry Rowdy what you say about me bares little personal concern 🙂

          • stampland // March 20, 2017 at 5:34 pm //

            believe it or not Rowdy,,there is more to associate with the color green with than just the roughriders you know

      • SaskWatch // March 20, 2017 at 5:26 pm //

        Yes, careful everyone. Stampland loves to poke at the beehive, then cries to the beekeeper when he’s stung.

  6. Yes Stampland there is also green with envy, which I think may be one of your underlying issues about the Riders but you don’t, or won’t, admit to LOL

  7. Jsbodeen redblacks // March 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm //

    Great young gunslinger.. Perfect for our league

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