The CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks have opened the 2021 CFL season 1-3. Following the win over the Edmonton Elks opening up the season in week one Ottawa has lost three consecutive games against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Montreal Alouettes and B.C Lions. They look to get back in the win column in week 6 against the B.C Lions who originally beat them 24-12 in the Redblacks’ home opener at TD Place. Paul LaPolice and the Ottawa Redblacks have made some changes since their week 4 game against the Lions, and will continue to make changes for the better to win their rematch against them on Saturday September 11th in B.C at 10:00 eastern.
Among those changes is the quarterback change. After the first quarter of the Redblacks-Alouettes game last week the Redblacks elected to put quarterback Dominique Davis in over Matt Nichols who started the game 2/5 for 23 yards and an interception. Davis started out the game hot, moving the ball 135 yards on two scoring drives in the second quarter alone and finished the game with good numbers as well. He was 23/33 for 291 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 38 yards and a touchdown on 8 rushes but threw two interceptions, one ending in a 72 yard Patrick Levels pick six. The turnovers can be fixed from watching film and continuing to practice but after watching Matt Nichols struggle over the first four games of the season, throwing for just 476 yards and zero touchdowns opening up the season it is clear that Davis was an improvement to the Redblacks offence and should be back in the lineup in week 6 against the Lions in Vancouver. Also in the lineup on offence will be receivers R.J Harris, Nate Behar, Ryan Davis, Daniel Petermann and DeVonte Dedmon who each made plays in last week’s game against the Alouettes and have stayed consistent throughout the season thus far. Nate Behar has caught 10 of 14 passes for 123 yards over the past two games, R.J Harris has 204 yards on 15 catches this season, Ryan Davis has generated 170 yards of offence on 25 touches, Daniel Petermann is coming off of a 77 yard, two touchdown performance and DeVonte Dedmon has been electric every time he’s touched the ball, whether that be on offence or in the return game. He goes into the week 6 game against the Lions with 787 all-purpose yards in 4 games, averaging 17 yards per touch and is coming off of a game against the Alouettes where he had 326 yards all-purpose.
The offensive weapons are bound to make an impact in the upcoming game against the B.C Lions and will need to make big plays as the Redblacks will look to go 2-3 heading into their second bye week of the season. Also some players that Redblacks fans would like to see have impacts on the game would come on the defensive side of the ball. The Redblacks’ defence was what kept them in the games early on this season, single handedly winning the season opener against the Elks and keeping both Saskatchewan and B.C out of the end zone on multiple occasions but early on in the last game they kept the Redblacks’ out of the game. Not completely, as they were still able to score points and see some success throughout the game, however after giving up 27 points in the first half, the game quickly became out of hand. Of course it wasn’t all of the defence’s fault as the offence did turn the ball over on 3 occasions, including a pick six and struggled at times to move the ball but there is definitely room for improvement and I’m sure R-Nation would love to see some of those improvements come in to play against the Lions this Saturday. Some players that need big games in the upcoming game on defence to get a win would have to be linebackers Micah Awe, Avery Williams and Don Unamba, defensive linemen Cleyon Laing and Praise Martin-Oguike and defensive backs Gump Hayes and Brad Muhammad. The group of defensive players have made impacts in the last couple of games, the linebacking core has been a bright spot to the Redblacks’ defence, generating over 70 tackles over the four games played together, edge rusher Praise Martin-Oguike now has three sacks in his two CFL games played and with another game against the explosive receivers in B.C the Redblacks secondary will need to make plays in order to stay in the game defensively.
It is clear that the Ottawa Redblacks are a long way from perfect, however after four games in the 2021 CFL season they have continued to show improvements and can look like contenders in this league in a heart beat if they get in the win column over the next couple of weeks. They are a team that nobody should count out just yet as the coaching staff and players have accomplished a number of things over their respective careers and do have it in them to turn the season around. Watch the Ottawa Redblacks on the 11th as they take on the B.C Lions with the goal of going 2-3 into their second bye week of the 2021 CFL season.