This week, the Redblacks are at home facing off against the 2018 Grey Cup champions, Calgary Stampeders. The game is tonight at 7:00 pm Eastern time at TD Place in Ottawa.
The Redblacks hope to end a 3 game losing streak, while the Stampeders fight to go 4-2.
Last week, the Redblacks faced a big change on both sides of the ball, after losing multiple starters due to injuries. Those starters include Dominique Davis, Mossis Madu, Jonathan Rose, Antoine Pruneau, RJ Harris, Seth Coate, Kevin Brown and Chris Randle.
After a 31-1 loss in Winnipeg, the team stays nearly the same. Both Jennings and Crockett stay in the backfield, while Coate and Harris remain out for another week or two.
On the defensive side of the ball, Pruneau and Rose stay on the 6 game injured list, but the club does get Kevin Brown, and Chris Randle back this week.
New guys performing well
With all the injuries the team has faced within the first five games, the team has seen a lot of change. Guys who we’ve signed recently are starting, and making impact while we also use the “next man up” system for the players coming off the practice roster.
With change happening at 12 different positions since we first faced Calgary in week one, the team hasn’t done too bad with all of the new talent coming in.
After losing key pieces to the defense and offense, the fans may have been worried about the next few performances. Even though there were changes on paper, it didn’t show on the field. Linebacker Jerod Fernandez started his first ever CFL game last week, and rallied up 7 tackles.
I was able to speak to Fernandez regarding this experience for him.
Q: Last week you started your first game professionally, despite the loss, what was this experience like for you?
A: “I thought it was good, I missed some plays here and there, but I’m still new to it. After making mistakes, all I’m going to do is learn from them and make sure I don’t make them again. Other than that, I thought I had a pretty solid game as a core we had some great communication, and other than the final score, it was fun to be out there.”
Q: In the first few weeks the Redblacks have struggled to win the turnover battle. In 2017, you led the ACC with 6 forced fumbles, what kind of impact will you give the Redblacks defense this week against your former Calgary Stampeders?
A: “I’m just going to come out here and play hard, get to the ball, make plays. Obviously I’ve got a lot of love for the guys in Calgary for giving me the opportunity, but now isn’t the time to show love, its the time to work and make the defense better and put everything on them.”
On the offensive side of the ball, the injuries have been just as bad. Losing quarterback, Dominique Davis from a leg injury led to Jonathon Jennings getting the job in Winnipeg.
After a tough first half and 3rd quarter in last week’s game, the coaching staff wanted change, and they got it.
Going into his second season in Ottawa, Quarterback William Arndt is showing what he’s made of.
This Tuesday at Redblacks practice, Arndt shared some time to talk about what he can do for the offense if this opportunity ever comes around again.
Q: With Dominique Davis out for this week’s matchup, its just you and Jennings at QB, if anything happens, and you get in, what kind of impact will you make on this offense?
A: “I’m just going to come in and operate, be another piece to the next man up. I have a lot of confidence, I’ll execute every big play I can give.”
Q: What can the fans expect from you if we see number 8 on the field again?
A: “Someone that will play hard, give it my all, play to the whistle and I play for my teammates. I’ve had struggles in the past so I know that if I help out the guys around me, we will get it done. I’ll leave it all on the field.”
Q: Last week, Jennings was pulled in the 4th quarter and you were given the opportunity to throw your first passes as a professional athlete, what was this like for you?
A: “It wasn’t the circumstances I’d like it to be in. As a kid growing up you never dream of it to play out like it did. But we were in a tough environment, and I was hoping to just put the ball in the endzone. I hope I showed enough of what I can do, and I hope for more opportunities.”