The Ottawa Redblacks have opened up their 2021 CFL season in a disappointing fashion. After going 3-15 in 2019 they made a number of changes to the organization, from the coaching staff to the offensive line, the team has a whole different look and the fans expected a very different outcome to this season than the one they got in 2019 but it doesn’t look like that’ll be happening for R-Nation. They’ve opened the season 1-5, and as they approach the mid-season mark of the season in their seventh game against the Edmonton Elks next Tuesday it may be too late to turn the season around.
The eastern division consists of the 4-3 Toronto Argonauts, 4-3 Hamilton Tiger-Cats and 2-4 Montreal Alouettes. Even if the Redblacks were to win out to close the season they would sit at just 9-5 and after 6 games played this season it doesn’t look like they will be able to win 8 straight games, they’ve had trouble winning a second game this season, but if there is a game where they can indeed see that second win of the 2021 CFL season it would be this coming week against the Edmonton Elks at TD Place on Tuesday night. Ottawa’s only win this season came against the Elks in week one of the season, and that Elks’ team is now without quarterback Trevor Harris as he battles a neck injury from a game two weeks ago against the Calgary Stampeders. In to replace him will be rookie CFL quarterback Taylor Cornelius who spent his collegiate career with the Oklahoma State Cowboys but in the backfield with him and around him on the offensive side of the ball is James Wilder Jr, Greg Ellingson, Derel Walker and Mike Jones that each have big play potential and need to be stopped by the Redblacks defence.
Also needed to be stopped by the Ottawa Redblacks would be the Edmonton Elks’ pass rush. The Elks have 12 sacks and 4 forced fumbles on the year and with the Redblacks’ offensive line and quarterbacks as banged up as they are, there will need to be a game plan in place to stop the pass rush which is led by former Redblacks’ lineman Jake Ceresna.
It may seem like the Redblacks have their hands full against the Elks, especially considering the situation they are in with the injuries they’ve faced this season. Being without defensive stars Abdul Kanneh and Sherrod Baltimore yet again as well as a number of offensive linemen and others on the offensive side of the ball makes it tough for Redblacks fans to expect the Redblacks to win, however it is not impossible.
The Redblacks opened up week 9 of the 2021 CFL season today in practice and will continue to practice on Sunday and Monday prior to Tuesday’s game against the Elks. On Tuesday the Ottawa Redblacks will need to be the best that they can on all sides of the ball. Already this season, they have had success on both defence and special teams. The defence has kept the Redblacks in games early this season while the special teams unit has helped the offence on multiple occasions as well, but it will be the offence that will need to score points against the Elks to make the real impact. Players like Ryan Davis, RJ Harris, DeVonte Dedmon, Anthony Coombs and Nate Behar will have to prove that they are playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, regardless of who the quarterback is or what the offensive line looks like, they need plays from them and running back Timothy Flanders. If they are able to do so and make plays for the Redblacks offence and both the special teams unit and defence of the Redblacks are able to see success as well against the Edmonton Elks on Tuesday, maybe that win that the Redblacks and their fans are hungry for will come.
Continue to keep eyes on the Ottawa Redblacks this weekend and during the week as the team may see some changes, and changes for the good as quarterback Devlin Hodges is set to practice for the first time as a CFL quarterback with the Redblacks. He is among the recent signings by Marcel Desjardins and his front office in Ottawa and may just be a part of the change that is about to come for the Redblacks and their R-Nation community.