Don’t give up on us yet Rnation!

In this afternoon’s game at TD Place, the REDBLACKS fell short to the Alouettes 36-19. The Redblacks now fall to 3rd place in the division behind both Hamilton and Montreal at 2-2 on the season.

Bright spots

Strong run game

During the week, the team made a roster change, that would bring up running-back, John Crockett to the active roster. Crockett and Madu combined for a total of 109 yards on the ground on just 19 touches! Along with two very strong running-backs, the Redblacks also found themselves with a mobile QB, Dominique Davis, who now leads the league with 5 rushing touchdowns added to his total with 21 yards and 2 touchdowns!

Despite the challenge to throw the ball, the team did not have much troubles running the ball against the tough Montreal Defense!

R.J Harris stays a consistent target for Davis

Coming off of a fumble in the first half, the now dual threat receiver had another great game for the REDBLACKS! Once again, he leads the team in receiving with 89 yards on 6 catches… That gives him 309 yards on the year, and also gives Dominique Davis someone to throw to!

Lewis Ward continues streak

Lewis Ward, the only kicker in the league not to miss yet this season! Lewis also continues his streak of consecutive field goals which he had started last season! With a 50 yard field goal today, his streak continues to 61!

Jerrell Gavins is a big fan of “The Bros”

Jerrell Gavins, defensive back from Miami, FL experienced 4 years of cool weather here in Ottawa and loved every minute of it! The hype man in the secondary who retired in February of this year ended his career with 167 tackles and 7 interceptions!

The now 30 year old, is living back home in Miami, where he is a manager at a local ALDI grocery and goods store. At the store, he is now making ore money than he did in his first years in the CFL, where he can provide for his family, his wife and daughter who is now 1 years old!

Gavins in the front of the ALDI he manages at

This morning, I was able to catch up with the former Redblack, and got to ask him what he’s got to say about his time in Ottawa and the future he sees here in Ottawa.


Q: In your time in Ottawa, you experienced the transition from being an expansion team to pretty well being Grey Cup champions… What was different about the 2015-16 seasons compare to the 2014 season that gave you more success?

A: “It was all the same core that was there, statistically we had a very good in 14′. In the 2014 season, we had a lot of very close games, but could never finish offensively, so one thing that made the next years different would have to be the big transactions that made our offense stronger. The signing of Jeremiah (Johnson), Chris (Williams), E Jack (Ernest Jackson) and Sinopoli were all huge for the team’s future! In both the 2015 and 16′ season, the offense really took off, and the defense progressively got better. In my eyes, what made us better were about 5 guys that we signed, and along with the newly signed guys, the veterans from the year before stepped up, and made the team better!

Q: In your last few years of your career, you played with both Sherrod Baltimore and Jonathan Rose. What do you have to say about the success they both have had together early in their careers?

A: “They’re just different! Seriously though, Rose is a gorilla, he’s fast, strong and he understands the game! And when it comes to B More (Baltimore), you rarely ever see him not close to making a play! He has instincts out of this world and he can move like a cat! Both of them are ballers, and have bright futures ahead!”

Q: In the time spent here in Ottawa, you got to play under defensive coach, Mark Nelson! What do you have to say about the success both he and Noel Thorpe have had together this year and last?

A: “Coaches know the game! There’s 24 hours in a day, I believe 18 of those hours, they spend in the stadium watching film and just studying. Every time I as a player showed up to the stadium, could even be a day off, I’d see Nelson working on his craft! The coaches in Ottawa do a good job of critiquing you as a player and telling you what you did wrong, you really get to learn more and more as you play! The coaches are very free, and they let you express what you feel about certain play calls, and I feel that is what makes them so successful compare to others!

Q: In your career, you had quite the success as a player, have you considered coming back as a player?

A: “I would, I’ve considered it many times! Not necessarily Canadian football, but anywhere! Life without football is much different! I work at a grocery store now, and the communication isn’t the same! On the field, I was always a vocal player, but I cant just yell “great play” or “I see you” in the middle of a store! I miss the little things about the game, and yes, I would definitely come back as a coach!”

Redblacks are looking for first divisional win!

This Saturday, the Ottawa Redblacks will face off against division rival, Motreal Alouettes at 4:00 ET at TD Place, Ottawa! The Redblacks, who are 2-1 will be playing in their first divisional game of the season.

What to look for

Pass early, run later

Tomorrow will be the first game this season against a division team! So, we’re going to want to score fast! How do you move the ball fast? The pass game… Early in the game, we should see Dominique Davis air the ball out. Once the defense is thinking pass, Mossis Madu shouldn’t have too tough of a time on the run!

Strong return game

Photo by Robert Greeley

Last week, Ryan Lankford had a little mishap which ended in a Winnipeg takeaway… This week, the club let Lankford go and made a roster move which would give both R.J Harris and John Crockett all return responsibilities!

With the team releasing both Ryan Lankford and Troy Stoudermire already because of returning mistakes, both R.J Harris and John Crockett know that they’re playing with their jobs on the line! I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the two returners have a few big returns!

Running-back duo

This week, the club brought up running-back, John Crockett from the practice roster. Crockett had 16 touches in the pre-season which led him to 117 total yards. The experienced back should do well with starting running-back, Mossis Madu. Madu has 216 all-purpose yards already this season! If both backs share time for tomorrow’s game, we should have quite the run game!


In the 2019 season, the Ottawa defense has 7 turnovers! One which ended in a touchdown last week, where Jonathan Rose picked up Sherrod Baltimore’s forced fumble!

In tomorrow’s game against Montreal, we should be hungry for a turnover or two!

Ottawa is the favorite turnaround for Henry Burris, and gives Dominique Davis advice on being a starting QB in the CFL

Henry Burris, a name that everyone should know by now. The 3-time Grey Cup champion and 2-time CFL MOP has been nothing but an amazing athlete, person and leader here in Ottawa.

Burris spent 3 seasons with Ottawa before he retired in 2016. Before leaving the team as a champion, Henry turned the 2-16 expansion team into the 8-9-1 Grey Cup champions! Although it seems for us that he only did the dirty work here in Ottawa, Burris helped the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders, Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to go with his last dance here in Ottawa.

The now retired Quarterback who is looked at as a hall of famer is in the record books with over 63,000 yards passing, 376 passing touchdowns to go with 5,757 yards and 68 rushing touchdowns. With 277 games played, he is a part of CFL history, being third in both CFL career passing yards and touchdowns!

This afternoon, I was able to get a quick interview in with the all-star Quarterback about his success and other players and coaches success!


Q: In your time here in Ottawa, you helped turn around the organization back in 2015… What was different about the 2-16 season compare to the 2015,16 grey cup years?

A: “Just the transition from having a lot of young guys, in 2014 we had a lot of guys looking for opportunities and moving on with our careers, and there were also lots of young guys trying to make a name for their self in professional football. In the 2015-16 seasons, it was different, we now had veteran players with Sir Vincent Rogers, Chris Williams and Ernest Jackson. The talent that we brought in went with the young guys who were then experienced through all the tough times in 2014 and became veteran players with a journey. With it all, the expansion year in 2014, we were given a lot of young guys, and for 2015-16 where we won it all, we had veteran players who’d teach the younger guys. The leadership on the 2015 team was phenomenal and that is what was different about the season, leadership.

Q: In your career in the CFL you turned around 4 different franchises, which turn around do you feel was your best?

A: ” Here (Ottawa) was hands down the best! It was new in every way, we had to create a brand new model and not only promise something, but go out and do it as well. The other organizations have been around for a long time and had their benefits, but the fact that this (Ottawa) came from scratch is nuts! When we had to get fans out, many people reflected on the past. To see us put this all together and give the city their first Grey Cup in 40 some years was just an awesome experience.”

Q: Throughout your career, you had the chance to have played with many great athletes that are looked at as all-time greats… who is a player that has stood out, but never got enough credit for what they’ve done?

A: ” For me, it’s not just one player but multiple… the offensive line on every team! To me, my best friends are always the offensive linemen. From Jon Gott, Sir Vincent Rogers, I mean all the big guys I’ve played with are not the guys in front of camera’s, and doing interviews. Those are the guys behind the scenes that a lot of people may not talk about but at the end of the day and guys are highlighted for their jobs like the Brad Sinopoli’s, the Joffrey Reynolds and the Ken-Yon Rambo’s that I’ve played with, if it hadn’t been for the guys up front, giving me time to throw, none of this would be possible. So, that’s why I always tip my hat off to the offensive-line, and whenever they were hungry or thirsty, you’d always see me out at restaurants and at different places making sure they had smiles on their faces and telling them thank you in our own way.”

Q: In your first time with Calgary, you were a part of the “next man up” system… now REDBLACKS QB Dominique Davis is in the same position, what do you have to say about Davis’ transition to QB1?

A: “I’m loving it, early on, there’s always ups and downs. He’s got to ride that roller coaseter and learn throughout every step. This is what it’s all about, there has never really been a quarterback that stepped on the field and had immediate success. I mean Tom Brady is a different story, with the team he had built around him, that made it easy for Belichick to say ‘Just don’t make a mistake”, because it was possible for him not to. Not everyone gets to experience the luxury of having a team built around you like they had for Brady, so Dom has done a great job with his situation. Dominique is new to it, but there are also more guys around him new to it,including the play caller. I mean, he’s the pedal stool here in Ottawa’s organization, everything revolves around him and he’s got to use his heart to make sure the boat floats.”

Q: Dom is experiencing all of this early on in his career.. what advice would you give him, entering the next years as a starting quarterback?

A: “Don’t change who you are. The work always continues, and the fact that you’re going to learn (I learned in my 20th season, you always will learn something) , never have the big head, always stay young, keep your ears open and use your experience to be able to dilute whats good and whats not good for you. Be the filter in the locker room, because the guys in there are the reason why you are where you are now. Be the leader, not the dictator, but be a leader.”

Q: Early in your CFL career, you were given nickname Smiling Hank… Was there ever a time in your career that didn’t put a smile on your face and made you want to quit?

A: “Never wanted to quit, never. I’ve had people tell me that I smile too much! That must be why some people don’t like me, because I’m too happy! But what else could I do, the smile is a part of me, it is me! When I’m on the field, I’m competing, so if there’s a smile on my face there’s a good reason for it! I’ve always been Smiling Hank, and nothing will change that!”

Q: Throughout your career, you’ve played under many great coaches. In the time spent in Ottawa,you played under rookie head coach Rick Campbell. What do you have to say about the success he’s had early in his coaching career?

A: “It’s something I expected, before my Ottawa days, I was lucky to play with him as a coach in Calgary and I even played against him when he was with Edmonton. Playing with him in Calgary and Ottawa, knowing him personally gave me the knowing that he had the “steady eddy”, cool and calm personality. When I got to now him, I knew he was going to be a fabulous head coach and I was happy to have played under him in a Grey Cup run. He hasn’t changed, even after his success, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a few more great years here in Ottawa!”

Q: You had a very long playing career here in the CFL, and there is no doubt that you love the game of football… Have you considered coming back as a coach?

A: “No, I’d be single if I did. I’d rather spend as much time with my family as I would as a coach. As a player, I experienced first hand how much time goes into being a coach. It takes just as long to be a coach as it does to be a player. It would be a fun experience with the game of football, but I’ve got enough running around to do for my family!”

Newly signed Jeff Knox Jr. looks to have physical and fast impact to Redblacks’ Defense.

Brent Just/Electric Umbrella

The newly signed linebacker, who has spent time in the CFL with both Toronto and Saskatchewan, along with time with NFL organizations such as, Tampa Bay, Tennessee and Washington. The new Redblacks’ linebacker set records with over 120 tackles in his rookie season in 2015 with the Riders’. Linebacker, Kevin Francis suffered an injury in the Ottawa Redblacks’ home opener, looks as if Knox could be a replacement for the time Francis will miss.

Interview timeout

Q: In your time spent in the CFL, you’ve played multiple games here in Ottawa… How excited are you to play in from of Ottawa’s fans?

A: “Man, I’m very excited! This is one of the best stadiums in the league as you know the fanbase in great. Every time I played against Ottawa, I always wondered what its like playing for them, and now I’m here! Looking forward to making them (the fans) happy!

Q: Being signed after Friday’s loss to Winnipeg, what kind of impact should we expect with your addition to the team?

A: “It’s going to be physical, fast, explosive, smart and I’m going to try and get my teammates to trust me to make plays. We’re going to win football games.”

Q: In your rookie year, you rallied up over 120 total tackles. With the defense here in Ottawa that is built around you, do you have a certain number of tackles as a goal to achieve this season?

A: “I’m here 4 games into the season and not sure if I’ll play the first one I’m here for, but when I’m on the field, I’m going to get enough tackles to help win a game! Whether its 100 (tackles) or if its 10 (tackles), as long as we win, I’ll be happy!

Dominique Rhymes believes off-season training was a success!

Dominique Rhymes, 2016 Grey Cup champion who trained with starting quarterback, Dominique Davis in the off-season has received an advanced role with the 2019 REDBLACKS.

Q and A with Rhymes

Q: In the off-season, you and QB Dominique Davis trained together. How strong do you believe your duo with him is?

A: ” I think it’s really strong, we worked out this off-season and now we know what each one of us can do and what each of us will be every play. I think that will be big for us!

Q: Do you think these sessions have an impact on the success you guys have had early on this season?

A: ” Most definitely! Dom (Davis) is a hard worker as much as myself, we just put our heads down and work hard every day, so we can be better for this team.

Q: In previous seasons, you hadn’t got much recognition, now that you are leaned on as a top target in Ottawa, how does this impact you as a player? Are you better this year compare to previous years?

A: ” I don’t think it affects it at all, I come in every day to work hard every day, every year no matter my role, I’m just trying to make the team better.”

Q: Throughout your career, you’ve seen the “next man up system” for both quarterbacks, Trevor Harris and Dominique Davis, what do you have to say about Davis’ transition to QB1?

A: ” He’s done great so far this year, I believe he can do many great things in this league. I am very proud of him and very happy that he is my quarterback!

Alex Mateas looks to be a role model for younger players!

Alex Mateas, the CFL’s first overall pick from 2015’s CFL draft has brought success with him to Ottawa. The Ottawa native is now participating in his 5th CFL season with his hometown team. The year before Alex had been signed by Ottawa, the REDBACKS went 2-16, finishing last place in the league. Since Mateas has been on the team, the team has had 4 straight winning seasons, ending 3 of them in the Grey Cup! Good luck? I think so!

Today at REDBLACKS practice, I was fortunate enough to catch up with Mateas about his 5th season here in Ottawa.

Interview timeout

Q: This is now year 5 for you in the CFL, and you are starting to be known more as a veteran player in the league, as a rookie offensive lineman in Alex Fontana, has he looked up to you for advice this season?

A: “I’m not too sure if he looks up to me, but we do have a little bit of communication about getting better. I believe that he’s got a lot of great skills that he can bring up to the game up here, so I’d love to contribute and help as much as I can!

Q: Just years ago, you were in the same position as him, how does it feel to be a role model on such a successful franchise here in Ottawa?

A: ” It means absoloutley everything to me, when I first came in I relied on the veteran guys for advice on everything I was doing. It was guys like Sir Vincent Rogers, Jon Gott, J’Michael Deane and Nolan MacMillan, who’d help me out on a daily basis, and I don’t think I’d be where I am without them. So knowing how much it means to these rookie guys, I’m going to help out as much as I can early on in their careers.”

Q: 5 years ago, you were drafted first overall to your hometown team. What has it been like playing here?

A: ” It has been unbelievable, a dream come true in fact. Almost no one has gotten the opportunity I’ve had, so I really try and remember how grateful I am. I get to see my mom, dad and my sisters and 30+ friends and family cheering me on and being so supportive at every game. I just want to play well, and make them proud, and playing for my home team is a ream come true!”

Q: In your time here in Ottawa, you’ve played with Hall of Fame QB, Henry Burris. What do you have to say about Dominique Davis’ transition to QB1?

A: “Hank had so many great pieces to his game, and Dom is a young guy who has shown that he is a very smart guy also. Most importantly, you could just tell that he loves the game and his teammates. Everything he does in the building is to get better and help out as much as he can. It’s an absolute pleasure to block for him and watch him grow as a player and a person.

Q: After losing Powell in free agency, Mossis Madu has taken role at running-back. How do you feel about the run game this year?

A: ” I feel really good about the run game, as you know Mossis has been in Ottawa for almost 4 years now. We are really lucky to have him as our guy, because he’s been in the system, and he knows what his role is with the organization. We’re very confident in the run game, and we just have to keep pushing it and executing all the plays that the coaches put in.”

Redblacks sign LB Jeff Knox Jr.

Jeff Knox Jr. who is in talks with the Ottawa Redblacks about a contract, spent his first 3 seasons with the Saskatchewan Rough Riders. During his time as a Rider’, Knox Jr. rallied up 236 total tackles, 2 sacks and one interception. 122 of his 236 tackles came in his 2015 rookie campaign, where he was also named a West All-Star, winning Most Outstanding player on the Riders’ team. In his sophomore season, Jeff fought through injuries, which had limited him to 84 tackles. After his 2nd season in the CFL, he had been released by Saskatchewan to pursue NFL opportunities with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

TAMPA, FL – AUGUST 26: Linebacker Jeff Knox #50 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at Raymond James Stadium on August 26, 2017, in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers lost 13-9. (photo by Matt May/Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

After Knox Jr. recorded 4 tackles in 3 pre-season games with Tampa Bay, he had been released by the team. Once he was released, it opened eyes of CFL teams to bring back a former All-Star to the league. Midway through the 2018 CFL season, Jeff had been signed by the Toronto Argonauts. After his one year deal expired with the Argos’ he recorded a total of 35 tackles and one sack in the 7 games played in double blue.

Brent Just/Electric Umbrella

If the Redblacks newly signed Linebacker is back to his 2015 self, this could be an extremely well pick up for the organization. Keep all eyes out for Knox Jr. this Saturday when the Redblacks face off against division rival, Montreal Alouettes at TD Place in Ottawa.

Mossis Madu, and his journey from NFL to CFL

Mossis Madu, entering his 4th season with Ottawa has found himself with an advanced role with the team. This off-season, the REDBLACKS had lost many free agents on the offensive side of the ball including, running back William Powell. William Powell who had 2 consecutive 1,000 yard seasons, and Madu had large holes to fill. Sure this might be a big opportunity for any other back, but Madu is different. Mossis has been faced my many obstacles, and has been in so many positions throughout his career.

Going into this season, Madu has had 9 years of professional football under his belt. After spending his school years with the University of Oklahoma, he rallied up 2,010 all-purpose yards and 9 touchdowns with the Sooners. Once his time expired in the NCAA, Madu had been signed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his time with the Bucs, he was granted the opportunity to fill a role in the depth chart with 15 carries, 55 yards along with 10 receptions for 72 yards in all 9 games he dressed in the 2011-12 campaign. After being let go by the Bucs, he landed a practice squad spot with the New York Jets for the 2013 season, just before being signed by Hamilton in the CFL.

In his first year in the CFL, he gave the Tiger Cats something to look forward to. He finished the 2014 season with 860 yards and 2 touchdowns, and 512 of those yards came from the pass game. Madu had 44 receptions for 512 yards. After a monster 2014 season, where he’d play 15 games, he missed the entire 2015 season with a major shoulder injury. Overcoming the obstacle, Madu was a free agent signing by the Ottawa Redblacks in the 2016 off-season.

The 2016 season is pretty well where Madu started to shine in the Ottawa organization… He, Nic Grigsby and Travon Van replaced the injured William Powell. In the time period which Madu was replacing Powell, he played 6 games, rushing for 490 yards on 92 carries and 3 touchdowns before he had suffered an injury in the 2016 East Final which had sidelined him for the entire postseason. In both 2017, and 2018 Mossis Madu played a backup role, where he’d only see the ball minimum times, maybe once a game, unless there is an injury. In the two seasons combined, he totaled 619 all-purpose yards to go with 5 touchdowns.

In the 2018 free agent period, the Redblacks had both Mossis Madu and William Powell on the market, and had to make a decision. Just minutes before free agency had started on February 12th, 2019, it had been announced that the REDBLACKS had re-signed Madu with a one year extension. The Saskatchewan Rough Riders landed William Powell, and the REDBLACKS were granted Mossis Madu to be the starter in the 2019 season.

We are heading into week 5 of the 2019 CFL season, and Mossis Madu and the Redblacks are 2-1. The free agent losses have yet to play a huge role on our season, and we shouldn’t see much trouble. Madu has rushed for 180 yards, caught for 36 and is averaging just over 4 yards a carry. Madu has played fantastic, it’s just a matter of time for him to have another breakout game.

During the off-season, I had the chance to catch up with Mossis, and learn a few things about him.

Q: What is your favorite color?

A: “My favorite color has been Army green, I believe the name is “Hunter”.”

Q: What is you favorite meal, desert included?

A: “Can never go wrong with a good burger and fries, with a Pizookie or Beaver tail for desert.”

Q: What is your dream car?

A: “Well, I’m actually lucky enough to have my dream car, it is a Dodge Charger SRT. “

Q: If you couldn’t play sports, what would you be doing?

A: “If I didn’t play sports, I think I’d still be associated with sports, probably coaching.”

Q: If you could pick one NFL tam to play for, who’d you be playing for?

A: “I would play for the Chargers, mostly because I like San Dago, where they played, and they’ve got some sweet uniforms.”

I hope this interview helped you get to know our starting running back!!

Who shined for Ottawa in last night’s loss

R.J Harris

R.J Harris, who is in his second year in the league, has been awesome for Ottawa all along! Last year he had just under 700 yards, playing under Diontae Spencer, Greg Ellingson and Brad Sinopoli. This year we’ve seen him lots, with him and Dominique Rhymes playing “Next man up” with Brad Sinopoli, they both have had advanced roles compared to past years.

Last night we had seen R.J Harris catch 6 footballs for over 85 yards, one of them being a 30 yard catch leading to a field goal.

Avery Williams

Last year, Avery Williams played behind Kyries Hebert and Chris Ackie, while this year he has taken the starting role as a middle linebacker, and has been solid in all 3 games he’s played in.

In last night’s loss, Williams rallied up 8 tackles to go with his 16 tackles and sack he has in the whole season so far.

Sherrod Baltimore

Sherrod has entered his third season in the Ottawa organization, and he is loving every minute of it! Him and Jonathan Rose have become the best defensive duo in the CFL, and they’re only getting better.

Last night, Baltimore recorded 3 tackles, a key 2nd down pass deflection, and a forced fumble which led to a Jonathan Rose touchdown.