Last night at TD Place in Ottawa, the Redblacks and Lions faced off for a 7:00 Saturday Night Football matchup, and the Lions got the best of it. With the Lions going 2-0 against Ottawa, they now share a 3-10 record with the Redblacks.
On Ottawa’s side of things, Mossis Madu came up on top early, running for over 50 yards on just the first drive. Madu’s running game stayed on the first drive, ending the day with 57 yards it seemed as if the Lions defense knew the plays we’d be running.
With the run game denied after the first drive, both Jonathon Jennings and William Arndt split time at quarterback totaling 14 completions for 182 yards and two interceptions as a group. Both Dominique Rhymes and R.J Harris shared 7 targets each which they’d catch a total of 5 passes for 102 yards while Dedmon who was back from injury caught 2 of 3 targets for 42 yards, including a 41 yard reception.
To pair with his receiving yards, Dedmon was back in the return game. Dedmon returned one kickoff for 45 yards. Although 45 yards was in Dedmon’s hands, Stefan Logan returned 10 total kicks (punts & kickoffs) for 172 yards, including a 19 yard punt return and a 32 yard kick return.
Pointing out bright spots are tough in big losses, although there’s a few that came out of this game. Chris Randle, who we signed in the off-season has shown to be one of our best free agency pick ups, had his first interception as a Redblacks defensive back! Along with Randle’s first interception, we were very close to see Will Arndt’s first career touchdown pass. Arndt played quarterback for the entire fourth quarter, and found himself in a groove where he could’ve thrown a touchdown, this also would’ve been the Redblacks only touchdown of the day.
The Redblacks will be facing a few familiar faces next week against Edmonton, hosting both Trevor Harris and Greg Ellingson since their departures in the off-season.
Last week, the Ottawa Redblacks had an unsuccessful road trip to Vancouver, after losing 29-5 to the B.C Lions, there has been a variety of negativity going around the league about the Redblacks. Luckily for the Redblacks, they have another shot at it. The Lions will be making their ways to Ottawa for this week’s rematch from last week. It wasn’t just last week’s game that the team would like to have back, as the Redblacks are nearing the 10 loss mark of the season it seems like we’d like more than the one game back. Unfortunately for us, that can’t be done. For the last 4 seasons, the Redblacks have made it to the playoffs, this year we’ve taken it one win at a time.
As we reach week 15 of the CFL season, us fans find ourselves in a different position than usual. About a year ago, the Redblacks had beaten the Edmonton Eskimos 28-15 as they were marching their way to the Grey Cup. Now what are we doing? We just handed two teams their second win, and trying to fight adversity on getting win number 4.
Lets all get rid of the negativity and look at the positives, like what we can look for at the next few games along with what to look forward to next season.
A healthier roster
This season, we’ve suffered enormously in the injury department. Just a few weeks in, we lost R.J Harris, Seth Coate, Jonathan Rose and Antoine Pruneau who were all ready to play big roles on the team. Just when it seemed like we’d be on a roll to the playoffs, we were hit by the bug again.
Just a week after Pruneau had been back from his first injury, he was hit by another one that would sideline him for the remainder of the season, John Crockett faced an injury in Saskatchewan and is likely out for the season, and both Caleb Holley and R.J Harris have been battling injuries on a weekly basis.
As we’re gaining DeVonte Dedmon, and Rafael Araujo-Lopes in the receivers group this week, we’re starting to see what the future has in store for us. Both Dedmon and Araujo-Lopes are two rookie receivers that have combined for a few great games, for example DeVonte Dedmon’s two return touchdowns in Montreal. It gave us all something to cheer about, and now that he’s back in the lineup, we hope to cheer again. Along with Dedmon, Araujo-Lopes is back in the receiving core, Araujo-Lopes has just played one game in the organization, and was just getting the hang of the offense. In just the one game, he caught 6 of 8 targets for 57 yards recording a long of 19 yards.
As mentioned, both Holley and Harris have also struggled with injuries this season. When battling an injury, they weren’t playing at their full potential and both added up 677 yards in 8 games together. Next season, once they are injury free we will have a packed house in the receiving core and should be a good reason to keep cheering for Ottawa.
Will Arndt is young, and ready
This season, our quarterbacks group has struggled to air the ball out at their full potential. With injured receivers and no chemistry built within the offense, it has been tough to be successful in the air. There could be a cure to that, both Jennings and Davis are playing with the first string offense and have built chemistry with all of the starters, but once the starters are injured it seems as if we have no hope. That is when we look for William Arndt, he’s been practicing with these receivers all year and has only gotten a shot in 3 games completing 14 passes for 124 yards.
In the last home game against Toronto, he had the opportunity to play the last few drives and he went on a rally. Arndt threw the ball 7 times, completing in 6 times for 54 yards while also running the ball for 7 yards. Arndt seemed in control, and deserves more chances.
The 6’5 26 year old quarterback has spent the past 3 seasons with the Redblacks and has yet to start a regular season game. With the games meaning nothing, and the risk of injuries being so high with our luck, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Arndt start a few games to cap off the season. He is signed until the end of the 2020 season, and has a chance at a 2nd string job next season depening what happens with both Davis and Jennings.
Remember, the Redblacks will be facing off against the B.C Lions this Saturday at 7:00 EDT at TD Place in Ottawa. Hope to see you there!
Tonight at 10:00 pm ET the Ottawa Redblacks will be facing off against the B.C Lions. While the Redblacks are fighting their way for a playoff spot, BC will be looking to get their second win. Last week, the Redblacks handed the Toronto Argonauts their second loss, therefore it will make up an entertaining game this evening.
Michael Clemons, the 54 year old Dunedin, Florida native is a Canadian Football Hall of Famer. Before he got his legendary status, Pinball was born into a young family which was built around 18 year old Anna Marie Bryant, his mother and his father Willie Clemons who was attending University during Michael’s early years. While his father was still pursuing his dream to become a school teacher, and not spending too much time with Michael, Michael and his mother were living in the city of Dunedin.
Living in Dunedin, Florida, there was a heavy dose of sports wherever you’d go, and Michael started to play football around 8 years old. He played for the Dunedin Golden Eagles who were a part of the Police Athletic League in the Dunedin area. He grew to love the sport of football, and got into in even more when he was in High School.
At the Dunedin High School, Michael Clemons was an all around great player! Playing all the positions he can, and not only could he play them, he was great at them too. As a great player at the sport, it was shown that he might have a future in sports. To have a future in sports, you must have good school grades, and that’s something that Michael had.
Michael Clemons went to play football and study at the University of William and Mary. At William and Mary, Michael Clemons was known for a few things, but mostly his ability on the field. In just four seasons spent with the University, he stacked up 4,778 all-purpose yards and was named an All-American as a running-back.
The All-American went out of university as a pro, he was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL in the 8th round in the 1987 NFL Draft.
Unfortunately for Clemons, his time with the Chiefs was limited to just one season, and was later signed to the 1988 Tampa Bay Buccaneer practice squad. After just two seasons in the NFL, it seemed like he wasn’t good enough for the pros, at 5’5 Michael might not of had the size to be in the NFL. The key was, he didn’t have the size for the NFL, but he was big enough for the CFL.
After having just 162 yards in the NFL, Michael bounced off tacklers like crazy with the Toronto Argonauts! Bouncing off defenders like a bouncy ball, Michael was gifted the nickname “Pinball”. The transition from the NFL seemed pretty easy for Clemons as he broke the record for most all-purpose yards in one season with 3,330 yards in just his second season in Canada.
With familiarity to the game up north, he and the Argos had a little fun with the game. Since he was named “Pinball”, the Argonauts PA group used The Who’s song “Pinball Wizard” whenever Clemons made a big play.
After all, it seemed as if “Pinball Wizard” was playing every play at the Argos games as Clemons went on to have an outstanding career in Toronto.
Pinball rapped up his fantastic playing career with 25,438 all-purpose yards, along with 85 touchdowns.
He got a lot of touchdowns, but he liked to get trophies too! Clemons was named a CFL All-Star twice in his career, and was the 1990 CFL Most Outstanding Player. Along with the MOP award, he won 3 Grey Cups as a player and later won 3 as a coach.
Yes, he was a coach! He instantly became a coach for the Toronto Argonauts after such a great playing career, his success was brought to his coaching one too. He was 67-54 as a Head Coach, winning 1 grey cup. After being a coach, he was brought in to be a part owner of the Argos.
As he capped off his playing and coaching career, he fell in love with Toronto and felt like that was his new home. Its only fitting to make it feel like home and let everyone know who you are, and by that he started his own campaign to help children and was also becoming a part owner with the Toronto Argonauts.
Michael Clemons has become a huge role model for so many young kids, not just athletes but all youth. With all that he’s accomplished throughout his life, I don’t see a reason why you wouldn’t look up to him.
One person in particular that was touched by Pinball would be DeVonte Dedmon. DeVonte went to the University of William and Mary where he was tought about Clemons and his football story. Dedmon has taken Pinball’s path and is now playing for the Ottawa Redblacks of the CFL.
DeVonte “Pinball 2.0” Dedmon
DeVonte Dedmon spent 5 seasons with William and Mary, recording 2,164 all-purpose yards along with 22 total touchdowns, and made a name for himself. That name is, DeVonte “Pinball 2.0” Dedmon. Out of University, Dedmon was not looked at any NFL teams, for any football player that is always the dream and sometimes it seems like the only possibility, although for Dedmon it was only one of the options.
After being undrafted, Dedmon was signed by the Ottawa Redblacks of the CFL where he’d be fighting for a returning role in the 2019 pre-season.
In the pre-season fight, Dedmon would be paired with both Troy Stoudermire and Ryan Lankford who are both CFL veteran’s at their respective positions.
Does veteran status mean much if the other guy returns a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown? The question was answered by the REDBLACKS, touchdowns over veterans. In just his first ever CFL preseason game, DeVonte Dedmon returned a kick 100 yards to the endzone, talk about a debut!
After a great pre-season, Dedmon suffered a leg injury which would send him back home to rest.
After a few weeks of struggling kick returners in Ottawa, Dedmon was back in Red and Black. He may be on a team in pro football, but he hasn’t been into big talks, but it didn’t take long for him to be talked about!
In just his third regular season CFL game, Dedmon was back in the pinball talks! He faced off against the Montreal Alouettes, and he proved why he is in the league.
Unfortunately for Dedmon, his rookie campaign has been a little delayed due to an on going leg injury and his season may be done with just 4 games.
Although it is only 4 games, DeVonte Dedmon has put up record setting numbers, stacking up 858 all-purpose yards along with his two return touchdowns.
With these numbers, Dedmon turned some heads, and those heads weren’t just on the bodies of fans, but some legends too!
Fellow William and Mary alumn Michael Clemons is in shock of what he’s done this early in his football career.
One on One with Pinball Clemons
After last week’s meeting between the Redblacks and Argonauts, I was very lucky to get a conversation with Clemons about Dedmon’s success, and what he thinks about his fellow William and Mary alumn passing him in the books.
Lil Z: The Redblacks’ has a returner, he’s hurt right now but DeVonte Dedmon, he’s received the nick name “Pinball 2.0” and is on his way for a great career, what do you have to say about your fellow alumn from William and Mary?
Pinball: “Yes! I am so so proud of him (Dedmon) and so excited for him. I just got to meet him a few moments ago and had a great talk with him about his success and he is an awesome guy and deserves everything! I am officially the second best kick returner from William and Mary (Dedmon #1) and I’m proud of that!”
The Ottawa Redblacks faced off against the Toronto Argonauts this afternoon at TD Place. The Redblacks’ family day game only got 22,489 fans, and the non-sellout may be a reason for the flat offensive performance.
With Jennings making his first start since the birth of his first child, the Redblacks were the favorites to win today’s game, and the favorites showed promise early on in the game.
Getting his first career interception, George Uko brought all of the momentum towards the Ottawa bench. Once on offense, Jennings went 2 for 2 for 22 yards towards Mossis Madu before throwing a 12 yard touchdown to Brad Sinopoli! The so called “not-used Sinopoli” caught his 3rd touchdown of the season tying Dominique Rhymes to lead the team.
After the game, I got a chance to talk to Uko about that interception, how it feels to get those two turnovers and what went through his head following his first interception.
Uko:“At first I was like ‘Damn I caught it!’ then I realized I had to run with it, and got tired a little bit. As a d-lineman , I don’t get to do it often, so I had fun doing it!”
Looking back at the rest of the game, that was really the only touchdown from the Ottawa offense. The defense stopped the Argos a good number of times, but the offense wasn’t having an easy time taking those turnovers and turning them into touchdowns.
The Redblacks’ went on to lose 46-17, while Lewis Ward stole the show, again. Ward was 3/4 from field goals, getting one rouge and one extra point conversion, which gives him 11 points on the day.
Bright spots of the loss
Sure, Lewis Ward is the one with most of the points at the end of the day, but we have an offense and defense too!
Although they gave up 46 points, the Redblacks’ defense started the day lights out! De’Chavon (Gump) Hayes was one of the additions to the team mid-way through this season, and today proved why we have him. Not just the tip-drill interception that he almost took to the house for a pick-6, but he had a few solid pass deflections to go with his 4 tackles on the day!
Along with Gump Hayes’ success on the day, the offense’s stars would be Jonathon Jennings, Mossis Madu and Dominique Rhymes.
Jennings made his third start of the season following a 200 yard performance just two weeks ago, and gave the Redblacks a reason why they signed him in the offseason. Jennings may have had a few questionable throws here and there, but he did end the day with 327 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown and 14 rush yards. If Jennings were to play like this every week for the remainder of the season, we may have a chance at the playoffs!
Along with the run game, running back Mossis Madu showed us that he is a pass catcher too! Madu got in rhythm early after catching 2 balls on the opening drive and went on to catch 12 of 14 targets for 80 yards while running the ball 6 times for 21 yards. With John Crockett placed on the 6-game injured list, we’ll have some fun watching Madu for which can be the rest of the season!
The 3-7 Redblacks are coming off a bye week which was placed last week, Labor Day weekend and are now looking forward to facing the Toronto Argonauts who are 1-9 going into this week.
In just the past few weeks combined, there have been multiple injuries that have hurt this Redblacks team to win games, but this week they hope to change the sequence!
In the tweet attached to this article, you will see Tim Baines mentioning that the Ottawa Redblacks will be missing Caleb Holley this week along with a possible Jerod Fernandez injury which could sideline him this week.
With Holley’s absence to the Ottawa Redblacks offense, you will be seeing wide receiver Jerminic Smith take the field.
Smith played two seasons with the Iowa Hawkeyes before transferring to South Baptist University. At Iowa, Smith caught 29 passes reeling them in for 455 yards and two touchdowns.
Along with the injury problems in Ottawa, the Redblacks have also signed three players to the practice squad.
Signed American Quarterback, Bryan Schor, James Madison University
Signed American Receiver, Jaelan Austin, Texas Christian University
Signed American Linebacker, Nick McBeath, Holy Cross
Released Canadian Linebacker, Brandon Calver, Wilfrid Laurier
After the CFL season ended last year, there was a solid group of CFL players going for workouts with NFL teams. Diontae Spencer was one of the CFL players trying to make the transition down south. The former Redblacks receiver had two straight seasons where he gained over 2,500 all-purpose yards in Ottawa.
Those yards include the outstanding record he has for all proffesional leagues, which marks up of 496 all-purpose yards in a single game. That game came against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on October 27th, 2017 which had been Week 19, where the Ottawa Redblacks were still fighting for a playoff spot. Diontae Spencer shattered Christian McCaffrey’s old record which was 461 all-purpose yards which he received in his 2015 season at Stanford where he also became the first Stanford running-back to rush for 2,000 yards in one season.
The Steelers were one of multiple NFL teams that brought him in for a workout this off-season, and they were the most pleased at the time.
On January 4th of this year, Spencer had signed with the Steelers. Diontae went on to train with the team for both mini camp and training camp where it also looked as if he’d have a spot on the 53 man roster.
The week of his first NFL game, I was lucky enough to interview Diontae about his time in Ottawa and the time he hopes to spend down south with the NFL.
Diontae Spencer went through training camp just fine, spending time with the players and coaches off the field, and showing what he’s got on the field.
Here comes the pre-season! Diontae Spencer goes into the pre-season as a player fighting his way onto the roster. Spencer was listed as the 3rd receiver on the left side in depth charts, and was making his ways up.
Making his ways up onto the depth chart was something he progressively did throughout the pre-season.
With the receivers group staying the same, the Steelers became more attached to Diontae’s abilities and moved him to the 2nd string left receiver for the final game.
Before the final pre-season game, Diontae only had 2 catches for a grand total of 17 yards. His hands weren’t the key thing looked at in camp though, Spencer’s 4.34 speed is electrifying and the Steelers fell in love with it this pre-season.
The offense used him as a flex receiver where he’d run reverses out of the backfield along with routes as a receiver. After his big performance last Thursday, Spencer’s pre-season totals added up as 4 receptions for 39 yards, 2 carries for 48 yards, 1 kickoff return for 35 yards along with 8 punt returns for 108 yards. Spencer ended his pre-season showcase with 15 touches for 230 yards.
Although us Redblacks and Steelers fans liked what we saw out of Diontae Spencer, the Steelers front office didn’t see enough to put him on the roster.
A roster spot may be tough to come by, but the Steelers and every other NFL team is granted 10 practice roster positions, and the Steelers offered Spencer a spot on their practice roster.
It may have seemed like a no brainer at the time to have accepted the spot, although there were a few transactions happening in the silence that Diontae Spencer was aware of.
Spencer happily declined his spot on the Steelers practice roster due to an opening on the Denver Broncos 53 man roster.
After Diontae Spencer had been waived by the Steelers, the Denver Broncos decided to sign the former CFLer to be a punt returner for the team.
Spencer and the Broncos will face off against the Oakland Raiders for Monday Night Football this week to open up the season.
The Ottawa Redblacks are coming off a bye week, and playing at TD Place this Saturday, September 7th against the Toronto Argonauts. The Ottawa Redblacks who are 3-7 will face off against their East rival, 1-9 Argonauts.
Two weeks ago, the Redblacks starting quarterback was Dominique Davis. After just one quarter of play against the Saskatchewan Roughrider defense, Davis’ numbers were 3/6 for 23 yards and 3 interceptions. Luckily for the Redblacks, Jonathon Jennings was warmed up and ready to go!
Coming off the bench, Jennings threw a 75 yard dot to Dominique Rhymes which added to his totals to the 3 quarters of football, throwing for 208 yards and the touchdown to Rhymes.
Today at Redblacks’ practice, I was able to talk to Jennings about that opportunity in Saskatchewan.
“This means everything! Its exciting, and a great time to play football. The second half of the season, things amp up a little bit and it’s fun to be out there!”
In the past few seasons that Jennings has been around for, his game has been stopped from going to its full potential due to a few aging injuries, including a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the majority of the 2018 season.
Although injuries have hurt Jonathon Jennings in past seasons, but this year is different! Last game, Jennings shoulder looked great as he threw for a 75 yard touchdown pass!
“It was a fun way to get back on the field and make a play. Its been something I’ve been wanting to do, and to get out there to make a big play was great! It was a confidence booster, and something we want to build upon next week.”
This weekend, it was announced that Jonathon Jennings would be the starting quarterback of the Ottawa Redblacks this upcoming game against the Toronto Argonauts.
“I’m going to go out there, lead the guys and try and make big plays! We’re all motivated and we want to let everyone know we can make plays too!”
Last week the Redblacks were on a bye week, and during the bye week Jonathon Jennings and his wife had given birth to their first child, Ava Jennings. Now that Jennings is back off the bye, he’s got one more thing to think about, football!
“Our mindset is to go out and win! We don’t have enough wins right now to get us any where, therefore we’ve got to get on track get get a few wins. We’re focused on the wins right now, and we’re going to work as hard as we can to get the job done.”
This off-season, the Redblacks lost a few big pieces to their roster which includes the 2018 starting quarterback, Trevor Harris.
After making it to the grey cup, it seemed as if we’d see a similar roster in 2019, but it was the opposite. On February 12th, 2019 CFL free agency officially opened, and the Ottawa Redblacks roster was ripped a part.
Although it seems February 12th was the day of big losses, when we lost Trevor Harris, Greg Ellingson, William Powell, Sir Vincent Rogers and Rico Murray, but it all started on January 4th, when Redblacks receiver Diontae Spencer signed an NFL contract with the Steelers. By the end of free agency, the Redblacks practically lost their whole starting offense.
How are they doing?
Sure these former Redblacks were good in Ottawa, but how would their careers play out with another team?
Well, that question was answered after week two!
After week two, Trevor Harris had thrown for 6 touchdowns on 744 yards, while rushing for two touchdowns on 16 yards.
After two weeks of 300+ yard games, Harris was loved in Edmonton, and he loved Edmonton back!
Now we fast forward to week 12, Harris leads the league with 3,481 passing yards and has the fourth most rushing touchdowns at 6.
Harris doesn’t only have those stats to brag about, but he also has the least amount of interceptions thrown this season at 3, and he’s also beaten his former team the Ottawa Redblacks 16-12 in Edmonton.
In Saskatchewan, William Powell has the most rushing touchdowns in the CFL with 9, and 3 of which came against his former Ottawa Redblacks.
The former Redblacks running back who rushed for 1,000 yards in two straight seasons in Ottawa is on pace to do the same out west.
The Roughriders are on a 5th game winning streak, where William Powell has a touchdown in the past 3 games, 2 coming in a 40-18 win over Ottawa last week.
As I mentioned, Powell is on pace to break 1,000 yards once again this season, with 8 games played, Powell has rushed for 597 yards and 9 touchdowns while catching the ball 19 times for 124 yards. With those totals, he only needs 279 all purpose yards to break 1,000 yards, which is possible to do in next week’s labor day special against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
This off-season, Trevor Harris signed with the Edmonton Eskimos, and it would only be fitting if he brought his favorite target with him.
Bringing in Ellingson was a huge signing for Edmonton, as he already has caught 53 receptions for 710 yards in just 9 games played.
Along with the season stats, Edmonton really fell in love with Ellingson after a huge week two outing where he caught the ball 9 times for 174 yards and two touchdowns.
Ellingson caught and ran for 1,000 yards in 4 straight seasons in Ottawa, and is on pace to do it a 5th time in different colors.
Diontae Spencer was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers on January 4th, but has only gotten the opportunities in August.
In Pre-season football, Diontae Spencer has played 3 out of 3 games so far, tallying up 2 receptions for 17 yards, 2 carries for 48 yards, 1 kickoff return for 35 yards and 7 punt returns for 103 yards.
Although he is listed as a wide receiver, Spencer has played all kinds of roles with the Steelers this pre-season, and they sure love seeing him run a reverse. Just last week against the Tennessee Titans, he ran a reverse for 29 yards showing his explosiveness he had here in Ottawa.