After a hot start in 2019 when the Ottawa Redblacks opened their season 2-0, winning two big games against the Calgary Stampeders and Saskatchewan Roughriders, things went down hill in the nation’s capital. The team lost too many key parts in the free agency period leading into the season and never replaced those players, ending the season on a 1-15 note with both Dominique Davis and Jonathon Jennings getting most snaps at quarterback, Mossis Madu and John Crockett at running back, Dominique Rhymes, Brad Sinopoli and RJ Harris at receiver while the defensive side of the ball was faced with a number of injuries, eventually placing them in dead last in most defensive categories. The front office in Ottawa has since chosen to improve the defence, signing a number of talented players over the long off-season and bringing in not only a great defensive co-ordinator in Mike Benevides but an entirely new look coaching staff and team which looks to have been largely improved since the 3-15 season in 2019.
Although they have improved, brought in a number of proven veterans on the defensive side of the ball and hired a great group of coaches it still isn’t enough for the outsiders to respect the team like they once did. Media covering the league and fans around the country have extremely low expectations for the 2021 Ottawa Redblacks led by quarterback Matt Nichols but they simply do not care about the outside noise. It has been completely blocked out by many on the team. Nichols even saying on TSN 1200 radio with Lee Versage just prior to training camp opening, “I hope everyone picks us to finish dead last, I love playing with a chip on my shoulder.”
The Redblacks will definitely be playing with chips, the size of boulders on their shoulders on Saturday when they play the Edmonton Elks at Commonwealth Stadium at 10:00 eastern day light time and a lot of those players doing so will be new. As mentioned the team has a new look, a new, and improved look this year but many do not believe that the additions of new receivers Jordan Smallwood, Ryan Davis, Daniel Petermann, and Anthony Coombs to the starting line up alongside Timothy Flanders at running back are good enough. CFL fans across the country and even major media outlets like TSN have already counted the Redblacks’ offence out, simply because they “don’t know who the players are.”
Well, they will learn who the players in Ottawa are very fast as they look to make play after play in the season opener.
See the Ottawa Redblacks 2021 CFL season opener depth chart below.