This season has been a little disappointing for the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks and their fan base. The team went 3-15 in the 2019 season, the last time they had played and fans around the league, including the media counted the Redblacks out for the 2021 CFL season, even-though they had made a number of changes to it’s roster and organization as a whole. Bringing in coaches Paul LaPolice, Mike Benevides, and others alongside quarterback Matt Nichols, running back Timothy Flanders, receivers Michael Klukas, Daniel Petermann, Anthony Coombs, and CFL all-star defensive players in Cleyon Laing, Davon Coleman, Don Unamba and Micah Awe the Redblacks came into the 2021 CFL season a whole different team than the one they were in 2019, except after a 1-0 start to open up the season in Edmonton the results that the team are getting are very much similar to those in 2019. Ottawa shocked the league and beat the Edmonton Elks in week one in a defensive battle 16-12 but have since lost 4 straight. Once to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, twice to the B.C Lions and once to the Montreal Alouettes and as they sit down during their second bye week of the 2021 CFL season with a 1-4 record they will look to turn things around. Turning around the 2021 CFL season to a point where they can be a .500 team or better, which is still very much possible would help the players’ confidence on the field, the fan’s support off of it and will overall send a good message to the league regarding the team, telling them that the Ottawa Redblacks are indeed a contender in this league.
Starting to turn the table this season, the Ottawa Redblacks front office which is led by general manager Marcel Desjardins have made a number of moves. Signing former NFL receiver Terrance Williams, who is well known from the time he spent with the Dallas Cowboys, having caught for over 3,000 yards over his 6 tears in the NFL and veteran CFL receiver Kenny Stafford who has over 2,600 yards in the CFL to his name along with other receivers Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi and Terry Williams, running back De’Lance Turner and long snapper Maxime Latour. The signings each happened over the weekend following the 45-13 loss on the road against the B.C Lions and some may result in big signings moving forward this season for the Redblacks. With games against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Edmonton Elks, Toronto Argonauts and Montreal Alouettes in the near future the schedule is not getting an easier for Ottawa but if they improve with the signings that they’ve made already and the signings they may make moving forward this week and next they will be able to get back in the win column. To finish the season with a .500 record this season they will have to go 6-3 to close out the season. The team that the Redblacks have right now is competitive. Players like Ryan Davis, DeVonte Dedmon, RJ Harris, Sherrod Baltimore, Abdul Kanneh, Micah Awe, Avery Williams are all all-star caliber players. They each are able to make plays in this league and with others on the team capable of doing so as well they should have no issues making the plays but they will need to be consistent doing so and be able to make plays together.
Ryan Davis scoring a 33 yard touchdown against the B.C Lions last week was awesome, and the Ottawa Redblacks needed that to stay in the game early in Vancouver, however with a missed field goal return touchdown coming from Lucky Whitehead of the Lions on a Lewis Ward field goal and a few Michael Reilly touchdown passes the Redblacks were put out of the game quick to close out the first half and remained out of the picture for the entire second half. To insure that the team can win games, those plays have to be made together, to explain, Ryan Davis’ 33 yard touchdown pass from Dominque Davis would have heavily impacted the outcome of the Redblacks-Lions game if it was followed by a defensive stop or turnover and another touchdown or field goal from the Redblacks. Football is not an easy sport by any means, especially at the professional stage, however once you start making plays, and making plays as a team, the wins will feel more natural to the entire team, the players will get into a rhythm and so will the coaches, understanding what works and what doesn’t. Right now that is what the Ottawa Redblacks are missing out on, if they are able to make those plays consistently as a group, they will be able to win with the team they have right now and the additions that Desjardins and his front office are bringing in will only help the team out as well.
Ottawa’s next game will indeed be a home game at TD Place on Wednesday September 22nd against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. This will serve as a big test for the Redblacks, especially if the newcomers do happen to dress for the game.