Crockett and company look to find endzone in this weeks game in Saskatchewan

John Crockett, running back for Ottawa has been nothing but awesome for the Redblacks this season. Rushing and receiving for over 400 yards in just 4 starts has been an incredible start to his Canadian career.

Before coming to Ottawa, Crockett played at the University of North Dakota where he’d play with former Redblacks QB Brock Jensen and 2016 NFL second overall pick, Carson Wentz and rush for over 3,000 yards in two seasons as a starter before going to the big leagues.

After playing on a tremendous North Dakota team, the running back was signed by the Green Bay Packers to play with QB Aaron Rodgers and company.

With the Packers, Crockett only played one game, where he’d rush the ball 9 times for 21 yards. The game he played, was the same game Aaron Rodgers found Richard Rodgers for a hail Mary touchdown. One thing a little un-noticed about the play would’ve been the running back who blocked Aaron Rodgers’ way to scramble for that hail Mary throw. Yes, John Crockett was on the field blocking for Rodgers when Rodgers threw for his first ever Hail Mary.

About three years after the iconic Rodgers to Rodgers Hail Mary hookup that Crockett was a part of, John Crockett would find himself at Redblacks 2019 training camp with an interview with me.

Going into the season, Crockett sat behind Madu for a few games. Mossis Madu who is a veteran running back in the CFL rushed for 268 yards and before the Redblacks’ plugged John Crockett into the lineup.

Crockett: “Mossis Madu is a great player! I love him as a person and a player. He’s one of those guys I look up to, because he’s had so much experience within the league, and I’m glad to say he’s my teammate!”

Now we fast forward a few weeks, Crockett has now started four games after taking the job away from Madu in week 6 and the Redblacks are set to play their 10th game of the season which will come against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday. Coming into week 11, Crockett has 394 rush yards and 48 receiving yards on the season and is looking to find the endzone for the first time this week against Saskatchewan.

Crockett: “It’s a little tough to see a zero under the touchdown stat, I’ve been fortunate to have some big runs that can make it easier on the team, but I’d love to help the team get in the endzone and when I do get a touchdown, I hope it comes in bunches!”

To go with the 400 all purpose yards he is now over this season, Crockett was also announced top rookie so far this season by TSN.

This Saturday the Redblacks look to go 4-6 with their 4th win of the season!

Joe Paopao believes his time as a Quarterback will indeed help as a play caller

This week following a loss to Hamilton, the Redblacks announced that running-backs coach, Joe Paopao would change roles and become the offensive play caller while also coaching Quarterbacks.

Today at Redblacks’ practice, I was able to catch up with Paopao about his coaching change.

Paopao: I’ve been a play-caller most of my life. Making decisions is almost like second nature for me. As a quarterback and as a coach, I’ve called plays throughout my football career, and I look forward to calling plays this season.”

Joe Paopao entered his 27th coaching season as a running-backs coach, where he’d have the opportunity to coach both John Crockett and Mossis Madu. Both Madu and Crockett have a combined 777 yards on the season, and along with the coaching change, I talked to Paopao about those numbers and the running backs they are.

Paopao: “They work hard! Their mindset is to do it all right, and they do it in practice which all carries into the games. I’m not surprised of the success they’ve had this season. The numbers are just numbers, we know what they’re capable of, and as long as it helps to win games, I’m happy!”

Paopao hasn’t spent all his time as a quarterback’s coach, entering his 27th year as a coach, Joe Paopao is experienced as a head coach, and offensive coordinator, a quarterback and a general manager.

As a quarterback, Paopao spent 10 seasons where he started a significant amount of games, tallying up 19,000 yards, 117 pass touchdowns and 251 rush yards.

Paopao: As a quarterback, I didn’t win a lot of games, as a head coach, I didn’t win a lot of games. I have a lot of experiences that I’ve learned from, and my timeline will have a big help for me calling plays this season, I look forward to getting some wins as we move on to the second half of the season.”

Standing ovation “something special” for Lewis Ward in tough 21-7 loss to Hamilton

On Saturday at 4:00, the Ottawa Redblacks faced off head to head with divisional rival, Hamilton Tiger Cats. The Ti-cats ended up beating the Redblacks 21-7, leading Ottawa to 3-6 and Hamilton to 7-2.

Pointing out the bright spots

Of course, the Redblacks are 3-6 and have had multiple struggles not only in Today’s game, but also all season long, but the team has had multiple bright spots within the losses.

Today, running back John Crockett sat out due to injury, and veteran Mossis Madu replaced him and had 71 all purpose yards along with a 35 yard run in quarter 3.

To go with the run game, the pass game showed bits and pieces of what it can do. Both receivers, Caleb Holley and Dominique Rhymes had over 70 yards each on the day, while Davis had 238 total pass yards.

Unfortunate, but awesome event

Lewis Ward’s field goal streak ended at 69 today, but Ottawa loves him too much.

After every single Redblacks fan was shocked about Ward’s second career regular season miss, it was first nature to give Ward a standing ovation.

Talking to Ward after the game, he commented “Was definitely something special! It sucked that I missed the kick obviously, but seeing everyone stand up and cheer was awesome.” He also added, “The support (Ottawa) gives me is unreal, and I’m going to do my part to win football games.”

Moving on

The Redblacks will be on the road next Saturday against the 5-3 Roughriders.

October and his offense looks to improve to 2-1 in divisional games

Winston October, the Ottawa Redblacks’ wide receivers coach and offensive play caller is doing all he can to be a contender in the CFL, and it shows.

The Redblacks may be 3-5 this season, but October and the other Redblacks’ coaches have been moving players all over the roster, changing plays and doing everything to help the football team.

In his career, October played six season in Canada while spending one with the Washington Redskins as a Wide Receiver and Defensive Back. In the CFL, he played for both Montreal and the Eskimos, totaling up 3 return touchdowns, and over 1,500 total yards on the career. October said, my time as a player has really helped me as a play caller this season, and the fact that I played Defense and Offense has really stepped in because I know what is happening on the field as a coach.

October with the Edmonton Eskimos

After his playing career, October went on to pursue a coaching career at William & Mary, where he coached the same team Redblacks receiver and returner DeVonte Dedmon played with. October said today, I had nothing to do with the signing, but as soon as I heard the name, I had a huge smile on my face, knowing what we were getting.

Once he reached the end of his contract with the University, he’d been hired as a receivers coach by the Ottawa Redblacks. Last season (2018) was October’s first coaching experience in the CFL and he coached his receivers to three 1,000 yard receivers on the year. October mentioned, the guys last year were already together for three seasons, and the fact that Harris and Rhymes have already been together for their second season, they will have a great future together in Ottawa.

October coaching William & Mary

With the success and hard work he showed in year one with the team, Marcel Desjardins and the front offices gave Winston October all responsibilities to call offensive plays for the 2019 season.

Working with two quarterback’s has been even tougher on October to call plays, and with the lineup changing nearly every week with the injuries the team have suffered, he’s had a hard time finding the right plays for the right personnel.

Considering all the new faces and all the obstacles he’s had, October has had a great first season as a play caller and will likely be the play caller again next season if the team doesn’t bring in someone else.

October and his offense is set to kickoff against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats this Sturday at TD Place at 4:00 pm EDT for Ottawa’s “Pride Game”

Sherrod Baltimore is ready to take on divisional opponent as we reach mid-season

This season has been a little more of a struggle than past seasons, but the defense doesn’t show fear as they get set to play 6-2 Hamilton Tiger Cats this Saturday at 4:00.

The Ottawa Redblacks sit at 3-5 going into week 10 of the CFL season, but the record doesn’t show the amount of success our Redblacks’ defense has had this season. At week 10 of the season, the Redblacks defense is red hot, only giving up 60 points in the last few games, while being successful getting turnovers.

Even though the defense looks as if they’ve been playing together for a few years, they havent been. Its almost the opposite as that. The majority of the defense this season were actually signed by the Redblacks during this season.

With the Redblacks’ defense mostly new to eachother, the veteran players like Antoine Pruneau, Jonathan Rose, J.P Bolduc and even guys like Avery Williams and Sherrod Baltimore have all taken roles to improve and mentor the younger guys as we get moving in the season.

Jerod Fernandez is a key example of a young guy stepping up. Being signed early July, the team had already played 4-5 games and as a 25 year old CFL rookie, he hadn’t been familiar with the league or the team when he’d been signed. He took the role to be a middle linebacker between both Anthony Cioffi and Avery Williams and has had a forced fumble in the last two games and has had an extremely great rookie season. Baltimore: Fernandez is a baller, he has like 2 or 3 turnovers in the last few weeks and he has so much potential, its crazy.

Today at Redblacks walkthroughs, I had the time to ask Baltimore about Jerod Fernandez and the whole next man up system here in Ottawa…

Baltimore: In Ottawa, you have to be ready because they give everyone opportunities. I feel like Ottawa is a great place for players to grow their careers.

Baltimore has also built a great relationship with Jonathan Rose who is a defensive back for Ottawa. Baltimore: On the field with him is crazy, our communication on and off the field is awesome, and I cant wait to play with him again.

REDBLACKS and CFL reveal negotiation list

The CFL has a system, where if a team likes a player that has NFL potential, or already is in the NFL, you would have to get his “rights” before being able to sign him.

For example, Lucky Whitehead of Winnipeg. He played 3 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and was later released by the Cowboys. During the time spent with Dallas, Winnipeg acquired his “rights”, therefore once Whitehead had been released by the Cowboys, the only CFL team able to sign him would be Winnipeg.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead (13) celebrates with wide receiver Dez Bryant after scoring on a 8-yard touchdown pass during the second quarter of NFL preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings at AT&T Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015, in Arlington. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News)

Lucky Whitehead is a Winnipeg Blue-Bomber.

The Ottawa Redblacks have one player that they acquired from the negotiation list, Randall Evans, Defensive back.

Today the newest list had been released by the CFL, and the Redblacks list contains:

  • Wide Receiver, Floyd Allen (Ole Miss)
  • Quarterback, David Blough (Purdue)
  • Wide Receiver, Rashard Davis (James Madison)
  • Quarterback, Eric Dungey (Syracuse)
  • Quarterback, Luke Falk (Washington State)
  • Defensive End, Charles Harris (Buffalo)
  • Wide Receiver, Deonte Harris (Assumption College)
  • Quarterback, Devlin Hodges (Samford)
  • Defensive End, Malik Reed (Nevada)
  • Quarterback, PJ Walker (Temple)

Thoughts…

I believe that this is an awesome negotiation list! There is a lot of potential within the 10 players given, and we might see a few of these guys on the field soon.

A few of those players are actually available right now. So if we’d like we can sign one today.

Eric Dungey is a great player from Syracuse and put up some crazy numbers as a mobile QB at Syracuse. Dungey threw for 9,340 yards and rushed for 1,993 yards while combining for 93 total touchdowns in 39 games played. Dungey is a current free agent, and was cut by the Giants in May after attending mini camp.

Along with Dungey, the Redblacks also have wide-out Floyd Allen, from Ole Miss. Allen only had 5 touches for 54 yards in his university career and still got a spot with the Houston Texans.

Floyd Allen makes catch at practice with Texans

With the Texans, Floyd Allen has already played one preseason game getting one reception for 17 yards against Green Bay. Allen is set to play three more preseason games.

Redblacks sign Logan, cut Thomas Jr. as they prepare for Hamilton

The Redblacks remain in the headlines this week with a few transactions.

The addition

The Redblacks announced the signing of 38 year old running back Stefan Logan.

Logan has spent 8 seasons in the CFL and 5 seasons in the NFL splitting time with the Miami Dolphins, B.C Lions, Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit Lions, Montreal Alouettes and now the Ottawa Redblacks.

MONTREAL, QUE.: JULY 4, 2019 — Montreal Alouettes kick returner Stefan Logan runs away from Hamilton Tiger-Cats Connor McGough during Canadian Football League game in Montreal Thursday July 4, 2019. (John Mahoney / MONTREAL GAZETTE) ORG XMIT: 62784 – 8283

In the time spent in the CFL, he took all kick return duties along with his offensive flex role. In his whole career, Logan has over 10,000 kick return yards, 4 return touchdowns to go with over 2,000 rush yards and 900 receiving yards.

The Redblacks make this signing after two injuries that sideline both DeVonte Dedmon and Rafael Araujo-Lopes this week against Hamilton.

Stefan Logan was released by the Alouettes four games into the 2019 season, therefore we know that the 38 year old still has some wheels!

The departure

Along with the signing of Logan, the team parted ways with Wide Receiver and Slot Back, Noel Thomas Jr. Thomas was in his second season with the Redblacks and was on pace for a great season. Only playing in a few games this season, he caught the ball 15 times for 123 yards.

Redblacks release former Blue-Bomber, Julian Feoli-Gudino

The Ottawa Redblacks had released news today that they cut veteran receiver Julian Feoli-Gudino.

Calgary Stampeders defensive back Ciante Evans (0) fails to tackle Ottawa Redblacks wide receiver Julian Feoli-Gudino (83) during the first half of the 106th Grey Cup in Edmonton, Alta. Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

The now former Redblack had spent his first two seasons in Toronto, where he’d go on and win the 100th Grey Cup in 2012. Before winning the big game, he’d been drafted by the Argos from the University of Laval where the receiver wold produce outstanding numbers, good enough to be the MVP of the 2008 Vanier Cup.

The former MVP went on to spend 4 seasons with the Winnipeg Blue-Bombers. During the time spent out west, Gudino would have a few major seasons which would give him 1105 yards on 111 catches, 7 of the catches went for touchdowns.

After spending his 2017 season with 432 yards, he’d be signed by the 2016 Grey Cup Champions. The Ottawa Redblacks, who had lost Jake Harty in free agency were out to get a National receiver, where Gudino came in.

After being one of the top pick ups in Free Agency, the Laval product would give the Redblacks just over 300 yards and 2 touchdowns in the 2 years spent in Ottawa along with a touchdown in the 106th Grey Cup.

On August 12th, 2019 Julian’s battle with Ottawa had ended. He is now a free agent.

The Redblacks fall short of 4th quarter comeback in Edmonton

The Redblacks faced off against Trevor Harris and the Edmonton Eskimos Friday night at 10:00 EDT. Trevor Harris and Greg Ellingson who were one of the best duos in the CFL a year ago here in Ottawa would be back together against the Red and Black.

With little time left on the clock, the Redblacks offense carried by Dominique Davis was stuffed at the Eskimos 11 yard line which ended in a Edmonton win at 16-12.

What went well

Run game

In the hard fought loss to Edmonton, the offense came to play. By the offense, I mean John Crockett and company.

John Crockett, who had started his 4th game of the season in Edmonton would look to reach the endzone for the first time in the new league.

Although he didn’t reach the end-zone, the back continues his success here in Canada. He rushed for 89 yards on 13 carries while also catching the ball twice for 19 yards. It had shown that Crockett could move the ball against one of the best defenses in Edmonton.

The pass game showed up, and stayed

Dominique Davis who led the Redblacks to victory last week in Montreal would look for his 4th win on the season in Edmonton on Friday. He came up short on the last drive which would later lead to a Eskimos win and of course a Redblacks loss.

Although he didn’t get the win on the scoreboard, Davis had a few personal wins on the stat sheet. Davis completed 23 passes for over 280 yards and one touchdown, that touchdown being a 67 yarder to Dominique Rhymes. If the Redblacks did finish on top, this game would be the best we’ve seen out of Davis so far this season.

New guy helped out offense

Rafael Araujo-Lopes took his first snap as a professional athlete Friday night in Edmonton. The Pittsburgh University receiver had produced well over 1,000 yards all-purpose in University ball and was ready to test the waters up north.

After being signed nearly a month ago, it is known that he knew the playbook and the rhythm going into the game. Knowing the playbook wasn’t too big in the game in Edmonton though, the Pitt product caught the ball 6 ties for 57 yards, 4 of those catches came off the same bubble screen he had caught a 68 yard touchdown in against Syracuse in his University days.

Defense stopped Trevor Harris and company… a lot

Going into this game, the Redblacks’ defense was red hot coming off the big win in Montreal, and it was already known that they were hungry for Trevor Harris.

The defense led by Avery Williams got the ball back four times on the night while giving up no pass touchdowns from Trevor Harris. Only giving up 16 points was huge for the Redblacks’ offense to stay in the game. Coming off this loss, the defense will be focused on a Hamilton offense in next week’s match-up.

Gameday out west, what to look for against the Esks

Tonight at 10:00 pm EDT, the Redblacks will play the Edmonton Eskimos at Commonwealth stadium.

The last time Ottawa had played in Edmonton, they had a heart breaking grey cup loss to Calgary. Over nine months ahead, they’re back to play Edmonton, but with new faces and names.

The Redblacks will actually play against Trevor Harris, Greg Ellingson and Sir Vincent Rogers. All three of those players spent time in Ottawa and led us to a few Grey Cups.

Former Redblack, Pierre performs music under name Hueso. Click the photo to listen to his music.

While the former Redblacks will welcome Ottawa to Commonwealth stadium, the new Redblacks have a near must win in their hands.

The Redblacks are coming off a 30-27 overtime win over Montreal and look to improve to 4-4. Sitting at 3-4, the Redblacks get back Antoine Pruneau on the defense and hope for a big win against Edmonton.

What to look for

In this week 9 matchup, the Ottawa Redblacks who are 3-4 look to improve their win streak to 2 against Trevor Harris and his 4-3 Eskimos.

Defense wins championships

Although the scores do not show it, the Ottawa Redblacks defense have had two straight games where they’ve played phenomenally.

Giving up 44 points in the last two games, the Redblacks defense has only given up 21 second half points in the last 3 games. If the Redblacks defense can take their second half play to the first half also, the team can pull away with a big win.

Along with the great performances in the second half, the Redblacks’ defense have soe of the best tacklers in the CFL.

Calgary Stampeders vs Ottawa REDBLACKS July 25, 2019 PHOTO: Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photography

The duo of Avery Williams and Anthony Cioffi have combined for 74 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, one quarterback sack and one interception. The duo has also been given linebacker, Jerod Fernandez who has played the last three games for Ottawa. The duo between Cioffi and Williams has become a great trio with Fernandez who has had 14 tackles and a forced fumble in the three games played this season.

Along with the great defensive backfield, Ottawa also has one of the best defensive lines in the game of football. The starting four, which contains Avery Ellis, Michael Klassen, Michael Wakefield and JR Tavai has contributed to 10 sacks in the 6 games they’ve played together. To go with the quarterback take downs, the line is pretty quick to get off the ball and tackle a pass catcher or ball carrier. The 4 have combined for 76 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, one interception and one fumble recovery in the games played together.

Watch out for the front 7 in tonights’ game against Edmonton as they are hungry for a few sacks on former Redblacks’ quarterback, Trevor Harris.

Receivers look to silence doubters

The Redblacks’ receivers haven’t been getting enough credit for hat they’ve been doing for the offense. In fact, they’ve been getting disrespected, being compared to last years’ receivers. Get over the fact that Spencer and Ellingson are gone, its a new era here in Ottawa, and we need to embrace that.

The Redblacks receivers this season contain of, R.J Harris, Caleb Holley, Dominique Rhymes, Brad Sinopoli, Julian Feoli Gudino, Seth Coate, Noel Thomas, Nate Behar, DeVonte Dedmon and Rafael Araujo-Lopes.

The group of receivers this year have played well this season, but haven’t been getting a lot of love. The Redblacks receiving group have combined for 1,402 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Playing with two quarterbacks is tough, therefore the receivers haven’t been producing as many yards as they would with one quarterback all season.

Considering there has been games where the quarterback has thrown for less than 150 yards, the receivers here in Ottawa have played unbelievable. So look out for these receivers this week!