CFL’s Canada Day Weekend, “What’s the most Canadian thing you’ve ever seen?”

Time to time, us Canadian CFL fans might wonder what the American players in the CFL think of Canada, and us Canadian fans. This Canada day weekend, we get to see what exactly they think of Canada… kind of. The CFL organized a few questions for one player of each CFL team, to see what the most Canadian thing these players have seen. Click the link below to watch their answers.

Canada Day weekend in the CFL

Canada flags fly during the National Anthem for CFL action between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Hamilton Tiger Cats in Hamilton, Ontario on Canada Day, Friday, July 1, 2011. (CFL PHOTO – Dave Chidley)

What went down in Winnipeg?

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Last night in Winnipeg, former Redblack, Trevor Harris and the Edmonton Eskimos battled against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Bombers were able to keep a lead for most of the game, as they won 28-21 with help from former Dallas Cowboy kick returner and receiver Lucky Whitehead, who caught 7 balls for 155 yards and two touchdowns. Trevor Harris brought the Eskimos close to a victory, but had trouble getting touchdowns, Harris threw for 345 yards while using his legs to gain an extra 15 yards but still couldn’t get a touchdown offensively.

Luckily for Trevor Harris and the Eskimos, kicker, Sean Whyte was able to put up all 21 points, being 7/7 on field goals with a season long, 45 yard field goal to close out the first half.

With this Winnipeg win, the Bombers improve to 2-0, and will visit the Redblacks in the Nation’s capital next Friday, July 5th for an undefeated showdown.

What to look forward to

Montreal visits Hamilton

In last week’s home opener in Toronto, Hamilton did a hell of a job embarrassing Toronto. Putting up 64 points is already crazy, but winning by 50 points is even crazier. Montreal, who gave up the second most points last year, might have a big challenge against Hamilton tonight.

BC travels to Calgary

Mike Reilly and his crew from B.C travel to match up against Calgary this Saturday. Both teams are yet to win, and both teams are hungry to win. B.C is coming off a loss to Edmonton, in which, Trevor Harris and the Eskimos came back in the 4th quarter for a big win, and a tough loss for B.C. Meanwhile in Calgary, Bo Levi Mitchell and his Stampeders are fresh off a bye week after their loss to Ottawa in the 2018 Grey Cup rematch, in which, Dominique Davis forgot about his 4 ints and cameback from a 28-14 to 32-28 win and a heart breaking loss for the Stamps.

This game, you should see both, Mike Reilly and Bo Levi Mitchell, battling at 110% showing who should be West champs.

Canada day in Saskatchewan

On the night of Canada day, Monday July 1st, the Toronto Argonauts will face the Sakatchewan Roughriders in Saskatchewan, at the new Mosaic Stadium. The Argos are coming off a heart breaking loss to Hamilton, where they lost 64-14 in their home opener, and Saskatchewan in coming off a 44-41 loss in Ottawa, where Cody Fajardo threw his arm off replacing the injured Zach Callaros, he threw for 360 yards and 2 touchdowns, and he hopes to do the same this week at home.

Brad Sinopoli’s path to success

Brad Sinopoli, your 2016 Grey Cup most outstanding Canadian and long time CFL veteran. Sinopoli who has spent the last 4 seasons with Ottawa, is looking at being Ottawa’s number one target going into the 2019 season, but he has a backstory to getting to this point of his career! Brad Sinopoli played all his career at Ottawa University as a QUARTERBACK, yes that is right, the Ottawa Redblacks number one receiver was a quarterback! Once signed by the Calgary Stampeders, Brad played two seasons behind quarterbacks, Henry Burris, Kevin Glenn, Bo Levi Mitchell and Drew Tate. After spending two seasons in the quarterback position, in the 2013 season he was converted to slot back, where he’d catch balls from Bo Levi Mitchell and Kevin Glenn before his big free agency sign with Ottawa. In the offseason before the 2015 season, Sinopoli was signed by the Ottawa Redblacks, along with Greg Ellingson, Ernest Jackson and Chris Williams, and that season was record breaking, having all 4 of the receivers catching and running for over 1,000 yards! Brad also won the 2016 Grey Cup with Ottawa, and has had 1,000 yard seasons since his career in Ottawa had started.

Brad who led the Redblacks in receiving in 2018’s campain, also had broken the record for most receptions in one season as a National. Sinopoli is one of Canada’s athletes that has changed the game for younger Canadian athletes like myself. Showing that Canada’s recievers are just as good as America’s. Maybe even better! 
Now that you know a little nore about your number one reciever in Ottawa, hopefully that gave you a little more inspiration on buying that 88 jersey!

Bye week check up

Its only week 3 of the 2019 CFL season, but we’ve learnt so much already. Whether it’s Lewis Ward’s head start to his field goal streak or Mossis Madu proving why he never should of backed up William Powell, this season has its reasons to be special. 

This off-season, we lost some key players from the 2018 REDBLACKS, and that brings us the “next man up” system. The guys that came behind Trevor Harris, William Powell, Greg Ellingson, Diontae Spencer, Rico Murray and Sir Vincent Rogers have started to and are ready to show what they are made of. 

Here are a list of things we’ve learnt from the last two weeks of the season.

Dominique Davis

Dominique Davis, who played behind Trevor Harris on last year’s REDBLACKS squad had won this years quarterback competition in training camp and he sure has done a good job showing why he is a starting quarterback in this league. Dominique who is second in passing for the 2019 CFL season, has thrown for 630 yards on 59 completions, and 3 of those completions ended in touchdowns. Davis has shown that he is more than just an arm on that field, but that he can run too, he leads the league with the most rushing touchdowns with 3 and has ran for 53 yards on only 10 carries. 

Mossis Madu

Madu, has been a backup in the CFL for the past 4 years and has done a good job so far proving why he should be on the field. Mossis, who has played a key role on this team early on in the season is 3rd in the CFL’s rushing with 198 total yards on 47 touches. Madu has done a phenomenal job staying on the field, getting the tough first downs and driving the team down the field. Keep your eyes out for #23, don’t let him surprise you.

Michael Wakefield

 Mike Wakefield, the second year Redblack defensive lineman is on pace to be the 2019 CFL sack leader. Finishing up week two of the season, Wakefield is tied for first in quarterback sacks with two. Mike has 5 defensive tackles and two quarterback sacks in the season so far. If he continues at this pace, he’d finish the season with 45 defensive tackles to go with 18 quarterback sacks. Last season, the sack leader, Charleston Hughes had 15 sacks, and if Mike Wakefield gets 18, he should be up there for the sack title.

RJ Harris

RJ Harris, the second year wide reciever of the Redblacks is on the hunt for 1st WR on the depth chart this season. RJ, the New Hampshire product is one of the only CFL players born in Germany. The German native wrote up many recieving records at the University of New Hampshire, and later caught balls from Drew Brees during the 2017 NFL preseason. Once let go, he was signed by Ottawa and his CFL journey started. 
Harris’ rookie year in Ottawa was very succesful. He was lucky enough to have talented guys around him like Diontae Spencer, Greg Ellingson, Brad Sinopoli and QB Trevor Harris. With all the talented recievers around him, the cornerbacks covering him were distracted by the veterans. That distraction granted RJ nearly 700 yards and two touchdowns. If it had’nt been for Lewis Ward, those stats would have given Harris the Rookie of the Year for Ottawa. 
This offseason, I asked some questions to RJ. 
Q: What’s your favorite colour? A: Red
Q: What’s your favorite meal? A: Meatloaf w/ mac ‘n cheese and a slice of vanilla cake for desert.
Q: What’s your dream car? A: Maserati
Q: If you couldnt play sports, what would you be doing? A: Running a smaller business in my small town
Q: If you could pick any NFL team to play for, who are you playing for? A: I’m actually happy enough where I am in Ottawa, would be tough to leave this campain! 

With the information given on our upcoming number one reciever, I hope to see multiple 84 jerseys at TD Place this year! 

Hueso Radio Show

Presented by Shifter Magazine, tomorrow morning at 7:10 AM, listen live to 89.1 FM. On Shifter’s morning hip hop show, you’ll be able to listen to former Redblack Tyrone Pierre talk about his music and journey as an athlete. Also on the show, you’ll be able to listen in for his own music, such as songs,  Popular Demand, Buy in, Interlude and Nine Fivers. The athletic wide reciever has done pretty well for himself in the music department, so if you have the chance, listen in to 89.1 FM at 7:10 AM to wake up with Tyrone Pierre and Shifter Magazine!

Catching up with the Commissioner

At the REDBLACKS home opener against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, I was granted the opportunity to interview CFL Commissioner, Randy Ambrosie. Ambrosie, who was an offensive lineman when he played was the second overall pick in the 1985 CFL draft. During his time in the CFL, he was lucky enough to play with Damon Allen in Edmonton and was granted a grey cup ring in 1993, when Edmonton beat Winnipeg 33-23. In 2017, Randy was given the job as the CFL commissioner.

Q and A

During the off-season, you and the CFL had started the installation of the “CFL 2.0”, are you surprised with how well the global players have done this early in their CFL careers?

“We were all curious of how well they’d perform, having no way to benchmark the league in their home countries . I am pleased with all the feedback I’ve received from CFL coaches and general managers about how well the guys have competed and I am more than excited to see what they have in store for the future of our league.”

What do you expect out of these guys once the season gets in full swing?

It does take time for them to adjust to the league, when I played it was the same, fast pace football, the more they practice, the better they will get. I expect them to grow as players in this league, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two of the guys become a star before the end of this season.

Do you think that the rule book gave them difficulty when the players first came down to play?

“This sport, football, is much different than other sports, all the skills are the same. Tackling, blocking, catching its all the same no matter what league you’re in. The only thing is the rule book, but I believe the coaches of each team had done a good job assessing that into their game.”

During last year’s grey cup festivities in Edmonton, it had been announced that the CFL would return to the Maritimes, how exciting is this news for not just the CFL, but the fans too?

Its been a life long dream for many of us, as a Winnipeger, I’ve lived in the middle of not just the country, but the league. The CFL is a coast to coast league being the Pacific to the Atlantic, and if we get this 10th team, it would complete the league as the said coast to coast league. The possible 10th team will be exciting for not only the CFL fans, but all of Canada.”

At what stage of the expansion process are we at as of now?

“Well, right now we are leaning on the stadium being building process, the owners and guys in charge of the project are few of the most remarkable people you’ll meet, they are very keen on the opportunity they were given, right now Anthony LaBlanc, Gary Drummond, and Bruce Bowser are all in talks with Halifax and once they get done with the stadium, we should get the 10th team we’ve all dreamt about.”

Through the past few years, the talent we’ve seen out of Canadians has grown enormously, is there a chance we’ll see any changes regarding the CFL’s National/International ratio?

“This year when we met with the CFLPA regarding the CBA, we revisted talks regarding the ratio about the 7 national starters and 21 nationals on the roster. There shouldnt be much changes regarding the ratio, although one change we have in mind is when an international athlete plays USports here in Canada, once they graduate, they’d become a national in the CFL, therefore teams would be able to keep an extra few guys on their rosters.”

Are you at all surprised with the growth of talent?

“Not suprised at all, I’ve always been a big fan of the Canadian’s junior sports and University athletics, and they have grown some great CFL players and also world class athletes. In the last few years, we’ve seen Canadians and CFL players head down south to play football in the NFL, and the junior leagues deserve more credit for the opportunities they’ve given these athletes.”

You mentioned Canadians going to the NFL, but CFL players going too, how well do you think former REDBLACKS wide receiver Diontae Spencer will perform with the Steelers?

“Spencer is a very good player and a very talented person. The thing I know about sports in the next level is the fact that it is all about hard work and a lot of luck. When he goes into camp this year, the discussion will be who stayed healthy and who had a good day, I wish him and all guys down south all the best, and if Spencer is able to stay healthy during camp, he’ll find a way to use his skills with the Steelers.”

This season marks the 6th season in existence for Ottawa and the REDBLACKS, what do you have to say regarding the success they’ve had along with the great fan base they built during their success?

“Having spent an hour walking arount the stands, I realize there is an atmosphere, and culture within the REDBLACKS community, what they’ve built here at OSEG, is truly special. OSEG has done a very good job and what they’ve done is good for the CFL to role model other CFL franchises on how to build a CFL franchise to perfection.”

Start to the new era

From the Air

From a fans perspective, both quarterbacks Davis and Fajardo both played outstanding, completing the tough throws, running when the pass isn’t there, and being an overall leader. Dominique Davis, going into week 2 he had yet to throw a touchdown pass, but making up for it was his 3 touchdowns on the run, including the game winner against Calgary. Without a touchdown thrown for number 4, he goes into the game trying to get this season rolling by throwing a few touchdowns early in the game. Down 7-0 with a Cody Fajardo to Marcus Thigpen score, Dominique got the ball back, driving down with the drive ending in a Dominique Davis to Dominique Rhymes 20 yard touchdown, and a 2 point conversion catch by Caleb Holley gave us the lead 8-7. Fast forwarding farther into the game, Dominique Davis hit J.C Beaulieu and R.J Harris for touchdowns rallying up his stats to 30 completions, 354 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Dominique x Dominique

Both Dominique Davis and Dominique Rhymes connected 11 times gaining over 160 yards and a 20 yard touchdown completion. On the run, Davis was also able to carry the ball for 44 yards on 5 keeps.

Run trouble?

Coming off a huge victory in Calgary, where Mossis Madu had ran for 100 plus yards, it was expected he’d do the same this week against Saskatchewan, although things changed, and he ran under half the amount he did last week, along with a 2 point conversion, he ran 14 times for 50 yards, while catching it 3 times for 8 yards. The offensive line was able to give him holes for most runs, but the problem for the run game may be that we just didn’t run him enough.

Top 10 players of the game

Dominique Davis

Davis threw for 364 yards and 3 touchdowns while running it for 44 yards on 5 rushes!

Dominique Rhymes

Rhymes went all out against Saskatchewan, catching the pig skin 11 times and taking it 168 yards along with a beautiful 20 yard touchdown reception.

Lewis Ward

When we didn’t get a touchdown, we got a field goal courtesy of Lewis Ward, Ward was 6/6 on field goals while hitting a 45 yard field goal which was the longest of the night.

Danny Mason

Danny Mason, taking J.R Tavai’s spot in last night’s game was able to make 6 defensive tackles to go with a big quarterback sack.

Jonathan Rose

The fan favorite on the defensive side of the ball was outstanding last night, making 6 tackles, along with a hard hit in the second half that took a toll on William Powell.

R.J Harris

R.J Harris, who looks to be a top receiver in the league hauled in 5 catches forn51 yards along with a few shifty moves on a touchdown.

Antoine Pruneau

The longtime REDBLACK is still in business with 4 tackles and a momentum changing forced fumble.

Brad Sinopoli

Brad Sinopoli, got the ball early and hauled in 5 catches for over 40 yards.

Avery Williams

Williams, going into his second year with the REDBLACKS has yet to see lots of playing time, but this year he looks to be a leader on the defense, racking up 4 tackles and a fumble recovery.

Mossis Madu

Mossis Madu, in his second start as the starting RB for the Redblacks rushed for 50 yards on 14 carries while catching the ball 3 times for 8 yards.

Tomorrow’s roster, who to look for

OTTAWA, ON – OCT 05: CFL match between the Ottawa RedBlacks and the Winnipeg Bombers at TD Place Stadium in Ottawa, ON. Canada on Oct. 5, 2018. PHOTO: Steve Kingsman/Freestyle Photography

Depth chart

QB: Dominique Davis #4, Jonathon Jennings #3, William Arndt #8

RB: Mossis Madu #23, Brendan Gillanders #25

FB: J.C Beaulieu #46, Anthony Gosselin #45

SB: R.J Harris #84, Caleb Holley #80, Brad Sinopoli #88, Julian Felio Gudino #83

WR: Dominique Rhymes #15, Seth Coate #87, Ryan Lankford #14

OT: Mark Korte #65, Jason Lauzon-Seguin #58

OG: Evan Johnson #64, Nolan MacMillan #66

C: Alex Mateas #56, Alex Fontana #51

DE: Danny Mason #95, Avery Ellis #98, Nigel Romick #47

DT: Michael Klassen #94, Mike Wakefield #96, Ettore Lattanzio #49

MLB: Avery Williams #42, Jonathan Newsome #43, Nicolas Boulay #48

OLB: Anthony Cioffi #24, Kevin Brown #31, De’Andre Montgomery #41

HB: Corey Tindal #28, Sherrod Baltimore #27

CB: Jonathan Rose #9, Chris Randle #7, Randall Evans #2

S: Antoine Prunaeau #6, Justin Howell #21, J.P Bolduc #20

Who’s balling out?

Caleb Holley

Caleb Holley has spent his whole career in Saskatchewan and this Thursday, he will face the Roughriders for the first time in different colors. Holley caught 5 balls for over 50 yards on Saturday vs Calgary and is ready to put up big numbers against his former squad.

Danny Mason

Danny Mason, who spent all of last year with Ottawa has yet to put up big numbers has the starting job vs Saskatchewan. Replacing J.R Tavai, Mason is set to sack Cody Fajardo

Brad Sinopoli

Brad, the longtime CFL veteran is looking to set records like he did last season. Last week in Calgary he hadn’t been looked at until the second half, where he caught 7 footballs for over 70 yards.

Keys to the game

Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Dominique Davis celebrates after his game winning touchdown against the Calgary Stampeders during CFL football in Calgary on Saturday, June 15, 2019. Al Charest/Postmedia

Stopping the run game

The REDBLACKS faced a little bit of trouble stopping the run game in previous years, but this year looks like a change! The Roughriders are missing a huge piece of their offense with Zach Collaros’ injury, they will likely lean to former Ottawa running back William Powell. Powell who had a touchdown on over 100 yards in last weeks game against Hamilton, is back for his first game at TD Place in new colors. For us fans, it will be weird, but the players should be happy to be able to get a few hits in early in the game. Powell will not be the only Roughrider carrying the ball,as QB Cody Fajardo is known as a mobile quarterback. When watching Thursday’s game, look out for Saskatchewan’s number 7, as he rushed 7 times for 34 yards and a touchdown in the 3 quarters he played against Hamilton, and has to be stopped this week in Ottawa.

No penalty trouble

Last week in Calgary, the referees were throwing flags play after play as the two teams, Ottawa and Calgary have recently started a rivalry. Even though it is a rivalry, and a few of the penalties were good ones to take these penalties could hurt us later on in the year. The REDBLACKS ended last week’s game with 11 penalties for a total of 113 yards. If the guys keep getting called out for penalties, we could get into some serious yardage trouble.

Stopping the defensive line

In last weeks victory in Calgary, the offensive line put up a great fight getting our running back Mossis Madu over 100 yards and giving Dominique Davis lots of time in the pocket. Although we had an easy time against the Calgary defensive line, it doesn’t mean anything is guaranteed against Saskatchewan. The Roughrider were granted a big defensive lineman this off-season in Micah Johnson. Johnson, who is now a golden part of Saskatchewan’s defense had beaten Ottawa in last year’s grey cup. If Ottawa’s offensive line is just as good as it was last week in Calgary, Mossis Madu should be a happy guy walking off the field tomorrow night.