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Buono hopes Buck can make change in B.C.

Pivot expected to help stop inconsistent play

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SURREY, B.C. -- B.C. Lions general manager Wally Buono says he's not finished looking for possible roster revisions following the acquisition of veteran quarterback Buck Pierce.

"Are we gonna stop (trying) to improve ourselves? No," Buono said Monday. "We are looking at bringing in other players."

Traditionally, CFL clubs look at final NFL cuts at this time of year to mainly build for future seasons. But while rendering a blunt assessment of his club, Buono indicated the Lions could bring in talent for the current campaign.

"There are going to be players available that can help you to better yourself," he said. "Whether you better youself in one or two positions, the whole idea is to better yourself."

The Lions acquired Pierce, who spent his first five CFL seasons with B.C., from Winnipeg on Sunday for non-import receiver Akeem Foster. Buono and coach Mike Benevides stressed that Pierce, whose history of concussions led to his release from B.C. in 2010, was acquired strictly for depth purposes.

But Buono hopes, through his experience and leadership, Pierce will help the Lions stop their inconsistent play.

"There should be an urgency," said Buono. "There's eight games left in the season, and we've been on a very rhythmic kind of procedure -- one good game, one so-so game, one good game, one so-so game. That's not the way we envisioned (the season). Whether this is sending a message or not, I guess the message I want to send is: We need help, and Buck can help us."

The Lions, 6-4 following a loss to Hamilton in Guelph, Ont., over the weekend, are in danger of having to play away from B.C. Place Stadium in the playoffs.

"Hamilton came here (the previous week), didn't win, they went home and they had an attitude," said Buono. "We came back after a Montreal loss with an attitude. You can't pick and choose when you're gonna play with an attitude. Right now, our club is picking and choosing when we're playing with an attitude, and that's a dangerous thing to do."

More consistency was expected from a veteran-laden club that finished 13-5 last season and was left seething from a loss at home to Calgary in the West Final. Buono said the Lions' current plight is a characteristic of a veteran club that realizes playoffs count most.

"How much does a (regular) season really mean?" Buono asked. "Well, to me, it means a lot, because a home playoff game is an important game to have. Biggest game of the year is something that we should be striving for. You have to be a real pro."

But it remains to be seen how much Pierce, who turns 32 in November, can really help the cause on the field given his injury history and his struggles this season in Winnipeg.

Buono released him after the 2009 season because he feared the QB risk suffering a debilitating injury following a series of concussions. But Buono said the situation is not the same now, because Travis Lulay, who passed for 300 yards in the back-to-back games against Hamilton and signed a new contract at the beginning of the season, is still the esablished starter.


-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 10, 2013 C6

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