Today the Ottawa Redblacks, alongside the Toronto Argonauts will be kicking off to play their second game in week 10 of the 2021 CFL season. The Redblacks will be in Montreal, playing against the Alouettes at 1:00 eastern and the Argonauts are in Hamilton for a 4:00 eastern kickoff. Going into the week the Ottawa Redblacks looked to win both games and sit at 4-5 to close out week 10, coming off of a momentum boosting win over the Edmonton Elks in quarterback Caleb Evans’ CFL debut but after losing to the Argonauts in Toronto on Wednesday 35-16, Paul LaPolice and company shift gears and look at a must win Montreal Alouettes game on Canadian Thanksgiving which would bring the Redblacks to 3-6 going into week 11 against the Alouettes once again.
To be able to win today’s game in Montreal the Ottawa Redblacks must click as an entire team, playing winning football on all sides of the ball and play as a team. Often this season we have seen this Redblacks team play very good football and they’ve remained in the majority of their games but it is the big plays and the small mistakes that end up costing them in the long run. Against the Alouettes, Caleb Evans and the Redblacks team he leads will need to eliminate all game shifting mistakes and will do so by filling the game plan with plays and systems which can help them win against Khari Jones’ Montreal Alouettes.
In that game plan for the Ottawa Redblacks today is going to be; establishing the run game with new running back De’Lance Turner, getting the playmakers, Ryan Davis, and R.J Harris involved, getting to Vernon Adams as much as possible, locking down the Alouettes versatile pass game and changing the game on special teams with Bob Dyce’s electric special teams unit led by Lewis Ward, Richie Leone and DeVonte Dedmon.
To start off, the run game will be key for the Ottawa Redblacks, on both sides of the ball really. On offence, the Redblacks will get their first in-game looks of running back De’Lance Turner. Coming in for Timothy Flanders, Turner who ran for 1,357 yards in his senior year at Alcorn State University, averaging 7.5 yards per carry and 130 yards of offence per game played should bring speed and big play potential to the Ottawa Redblacks’ offence. With rookie quarterback Caleb Evans under centre, having a consistent run game will only help him manage the game, especially adding in his own ability to extend plays and run the ball. As for the defensive side of the ball, the Montreal Alouettes will be without star running back William Stanback in today’s game, but just because he will not be suited up for the Alouettes, the Redblacks will still need to stop the run game. Mike Benevides will have to game plan to stop running backs Cameron Artis-Payne who spent time in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers and Canadian Jeshrun Antwi who had 35 yards on 6 carries the last time Montreal and Ottawa faced each other. Quarterback Vernon Adams, like Caleb Evans for Ottawa has the ability to run the ball himself, and has done so extremely well early on in his CFL career, having scored 12 times on the ground in 2019 so his abilities should also be considered in the defensive play calling.
Stopping a quarterback like Vernon Adams can be very difficult, and the Redblacks had their struggles against him already this season, however if Benevides establishes the pass rush, which has been looking very good recently, Adams may have his own struggles against this Redblacks team. Linemen Praise Martin-Oguike, Avery Ellis, Davon Coleman and Cleyon Laing as well as linebackers Micah Awe and Don Unamba on the outside will have to play lights out against Adams and if they do a good job in stopping not only the run game but the pass game up front, the Redblacks secondary, which now has both Abdul Kanneh and Sherrod Baltimore back from injury shouldn’t have much trouble against the Alouettes receiving core. Baltimore, Kanneh, Brandin Dandridge, Randall Evans, and Antoine Pruneau will lead the Redblacks defensive backfield, and will look to win the turnover battle like they did a week ago against the Edmonton Elks.
Also crucial in today’s game and some things that will only help win the game for the Ottawa Redblacks against the Alouettes would be incorporating playmakers RJ Harris and Ryan Davis into the offence and winning the special teams battle with Richie Leone, Lewis Ward and DeVonte Dedmon. With Caleb Evans at quarterback, both Harris and Davis have a combined 344 yards on 21 receptions and one touchdown in two games. It is clear that they are both Evans’ favourite targets and with Anthony Coombs, Nate Behar and Michael Klukas also starting on offence expect a big game out of both 84 and 15 against the Alouettes as they look to make a name for themselves as number one receivers in the league. On special teams, both Richie Leone and Lewis Ward have proven themselves as two of the best kickers in the CFL and maybe even history as a duo in the league, but coming off of a game where the Redblacks had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown for the Argonauts, Leone and Ward will look to rebound against the Montreal Alouettes while DeVonte Dedmon will have the opportunity to have his second breakout game at Percival Molson Stadium in Montreal. The last time he played there, August 2nd 2019 he returned two kicks for touchdowns and had 377 return yards on the day to break an Ottawa franchise record. With 1,346 return yards and 3 all-purpose scores on the season Dedmon has the opportunity to score big again against this Alouettes team. When they faced off against each other earlier this season Dedmon had a 75 yard kickoff return, one tackle shy of the end zone and a 44 yard catch and run, one tackle shy of the end zone as well. Watch for number 17 as he looks to breakout at Percival Molson once again.