5 things to know for 2024 | BC Lions

As the 2024 season approaches, CFL.ca is here to catch you up with the 5 Things To Know series. Each article will look at key storylines facing each team this season, while examining off-season movement and where your team might stand in 2024. 

There was some uncertainty about what 2023 would look like for the BC Lions.

They had lost the reigning Most Outstanding Canadian Nathan Rourke and in came Vernon Adams Jr. wanting to show the league he could be a consistent winner and prove the Montreal Alouettes wrong for moving him to the West Coast in late August of the 2022 season.

The question at the time was: Could they come close to replicating their 2022 season that saw the Lions go 12-6? They finished the year off defeating the Calgary Stampeders in the Western Semi-Final only to lose to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Western Final.

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Well, with the last year behind Vernon and a trio of dangerous receivers at his disposal, the team went full Groundhog Day with a 12-6 record in 2023 and had the same result in the playoffs, beating Calgary then losing to Winnipeg.

Adams Jr. answered just about every question except for one: Can the Lions overcome the Bombers?

They beat up on Mike O’Shea’s team early in the year only to lose their last three games against Winnipeg by scores of 50-14, 34-26 and 24-13 in the playoffs. The Lions proved they could overcome the loss of Rourke, and now comes the next obstacle ahead of them: Zach Collaros and the treasure trove of talent that is the Blue Bombers.

Here are five things to know about the Lions ahead of the 2024 season.


In his second year in BC, Alexander Hollins hauled in 78 passes for 1,173 yards and nine touchdowns (Jimmy Jeong/CFL.ca)

Coincidentally, only Winnipeg can make an argument for having a better collection of receivers than the Lions. What can’t be argued is the level of stability in the Lions’ receiving room. The “bronze medal” receiver Jevon Cottoy signed a three-year extension after setting career-highs in all three major categories; receptions (57), yards (807) and touchdowns (4). The former Langley Rams star is an absolute beast who can box out any physical corner.

Next up is Alexander Hollins and his new contract that will keep him in Vancouver through the 2025 season. Hollins made huge strides in 2023 going from a part-time receiver in 2022 to ranking fourth overall in receiving yardage (1,173) this past year.

Finally, the West’s leading receiver, Keon Hatcher, finished 44 yards short of leading all CFL pass-catchers, finishing second to Tim White in yards. Hatcher saved his best for the playoffs, burning the Stampeders for 195 yards and a score. The 2023 CFL All-Star, like Cottoy, also signed a three-year extension. That is an embarrassment of riches!

Photo credit: Jimmy Jeong/CFL.ca


I promise I won’t use the “like a fine wine” cliché but doesn’t that expression work for Lions kicker Sean Whyte?

At the age of 38, Whyte made his first CFL All-Star team after going 50 for 53 on field goals, an impressive 94.3% clip! Year in and year out, Whyte has been one of those kickers you can win games with, the type of kicker that doesn’t make you feel queasy when the game is on the line.

Quick wine tangent. If you are someone who enjoys a glass of wine may I suggest supporting the B.C. wine industry that has been devastated with horrible freezes this past winter? A lot of farmers and winemakers need all the support they can get.


What would an off-season be without the Lions losing an elite player? First it was Rouke in 2022 and in 2023 the league’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player Mathieu Betts has found his way on an NFL roster.

Pete Robertson does not have the same gaudy statistics as Betts, but he has been a consistent pass rusher in his three years, putting up 21 sacks in 42 games. Robertson has shown he can be one of the best pass rushers in the game, we all remember his seven sacks in four games to kick off the 2022 season.

In addition to getting to the quarterback, Robertson has shown he can hold up against the run after amassing 55 tackles with Saskatchewan a year ago. Finally, this was a shrewd signing as Pete came away with a sack in all three games against the Lions. Why bother trying to block him when you can just sign him away from Regina?


There are always two sides to any story. Listening to Alouettes general manager Danny Maciocia, Montreal had to let go of their top running back because of cap considerations. Stanback will tell you the team had no interest in retaining his services and in fact held him back for part of the regular season.

The truth is usually somewhere in the middle.

All I know is that Stanback is going to a great situation hooking up with close friend and former teammate Vernon Adams Jr. Stanback led the league in rushing in 2021 and was on a 1,000-yard pace last year. Fingers crossed the two-time CFL All-Star is fully healthy for the Lions Week 14 trip to Montreal.


Think ‘Godfather II’ not ‘Caddyshack II’. It is rare in professional sports to be able to retain high-end talent year after year, but that is exactly what’s going on with the Lions from a pitch and catch standpoint.

The receivers aren’t going anywhere, and neither is Adams Jr. who signed a contract extension that will keep him at BC Place till at least the end of the 2026 season. It is a good bet that Adams will lead the league in several passing categories, but the big question is can he find himself middle of the pack or near the bottom when it comes to interceptions?

His six-interception game against the Toronto Argonauts was bizarre but it was his three-interception day in the Western Final that sticks out. It is so difficult for a quarterback to find that balance between being aggressive while limiting mistakes but that is what both the quarterback and head coach Rick Campbell are going to have to do if they want to overtake Winnipeg in the West.