He's heard the talk around the CFL and Paris Jackson isn't happy.

The Canadian slotback with the soft hands and hard-nosed attitude thinks it's time to put some growl back into the B.C. Lions.

"We need our respect back," Jackson said. "I have been hearing guys on different teams saying we lost our swagger, we're beatable.

"I've been around this team (when) there were teams fearing us. Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatchewan. Now they are talking bad about us."

B.C. had a miserable season in 2009. The club finished fourth in the West with an 8-10 record, the worst since Wally Buono became coach and general manager in 2003.

The Lions needed overtime to beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the East Division cross-over playoff game, then were humiliated 56-18 by the Montreal Alouettes in the East final.

Ending the season with a whimper meant a long, cold winter for the B.C. veterans.

Geroy Simon wants this year's team to be more intimidating.

"Teams, when they come to play us, have to know they are going to be in for a tough game," said the veteran slotback, who needs nine touchdowns to tie Willie Fleming for first on the Lions' all-time list with 87.

"At times in the past year or so we didn't have that. With the talent we have, we have to go out and show that talent. Then teams will be nervous about playing the B.C. Lions."

Buono, whose 235 career victories is the most of any CFL coach, saw a different attitude in training camp. Any sense of entitlement among the players has melted away.

"I've been most impressed with their work ethic, their level of intensity," said Buono, who is entering his 21st year as a coach. "If those two things improve, I think we have gone a long ways to improving this football club.

"I do believe we have more skill and more size. I'm happy with where we are at. I'm happy with the amount of work we put in."

The Lions open their regular season July 4 against the Edmonton Eskimos at Commonwealth Stadium. The Leos split their two pre-season games, beating Saskatchewan 19-17 and losing 36-32 to Edmonton.

The return of Casey Printers late last season, the CFL's outstanding player in 2004, has brought stability to the quarterback position. For the first time in years the Lions went to camp with an established No. 1 pivot.

"We don't have to worry about trying to jell with three different quarterbacks," said Simon. "We can worry about jelling with one and being on the same page with him."

Printers, who threw for 686 yards and three touchdowns in his five games with the Lions last year, is looking to re-establish himself after a failed attempt at the NFL and two disastrous seasons in Hamilton.

"We have a lot of potential," said Printers, who is anxious to regain the form that saw him throw for over 5,000 yards and 35 touchdowns in 2004. "Potential is a very dangerous word because it can go one way or the other.

"As long as we come to work every day and do our jobs, then go out and play like we practice, I think we will be fine."

With his size, arm strength and scrambling ability Printers always had the tools to be a good quarterback. In the past his leadership abilities have been questioned.

Buono sees a different player than the one who left after the 2005 season.

"I think his maturity level and all the experiences he's gone through have made him a better person, a better quarterback," said Buono.

"Quarterbacking is about dealing with adversity. It's about dealing with setbacks and learning how to rebound from them. He has done an excellent job of that. He is at a point in his life now that he wants to lead a football club to a championship. I think he's ready for that."

Backup Travis Lulay has already shown the potential to be the Lions' quarterback of the future while Jarious Jackson had three starts and played in 10 games last year while battling shoulder problems.

B.C. had some big holes to fill after losing rush end Ricky Foley, running back Martel Mallett, fullback Rolly Lumbala and receiver Ryan Grice-Mullen to the NFL.

Buono also did some housecleaning, releasing quarterback Buck Pierce, offensive tackle Jason Jimenez, defensive back LaVar Glover, defensive lineman Nautyn McKay-Loescher, tailback Ian Smart, and linebacker Javier Glatt.

Safety Barron Miles, who led the league last year with eight interceptions, retired and has become a defensive coach.

In their place, B.C. has added running back Jamal Roberston from the Toronto Argonauts, receiver Derick Armstrong from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and defensive end Keron Williams plus cornerback Davis Sanchez from the Montreal Alouettes.

The offensive line has been reshuffled with Dean Valli taking over as starting centre with veteran Angus Reid moving to a backup. A knee injury suffered in the final exhibition game means B.C. will start the season with offensive lineman Sherko Haji-Rosouli on the injured list.

Defence is an area B.C. must improve this season. The Lions allowed 502 points last season, the most since the 2000 season, and the team ranked in the lower third in many defensive categories.

Veteran defensive end Brent Johnson said adding Rich Stubler as defensive line coach to work with defensive co-ordinator Mike Benevides has been a positive move.

"Those two heads together are going to come up with even better ideas on how to utilize our talent," said Johnson. "I think the potential is amazing.

"We're not there yet. It is going to take some time. The big goal is to be able to stop the run. I know we can rush the passer."

The Lions will return to their roots this season as they play outdoors at Empire Field. The 27,500-seat temporary stadium was built on the site of the old Empire Stadium on the Pacific National Exhibition grounds in East Vancouver.

The change in venue was necessary because of construction of a new $458-million retractable roof at B.C. Place Stadium in downtown Vancouver.

So far the stadium has earned praise from the players.

B.C. will host the 2011 Grey Cup in the renovated B.C. Place. But

Paris Jackson doesn't want to wait that long to win a Grey Cup.

"We want to host the Grey Cup as defending champions," he said. "The only way we are going to do that is by starting off strong and finishing strong."