The Ottawa Redblacks did not have the greatest return season in 2021. Hopes were certainly high at the start of last season, but a string of losses only further decimated the team and its many fans. But the future is looking bright as head coach Paul LaPolice has added two experienced names to his coaching staff and all involved hope that this is the difference-making decision that will usher in a different kind of season for Ottawa’s own Redblacks.
Offensive line coach Paul Charbonneau was added to the team. He was co-offensive coordinator, as well as offensive line coach at Roosevelt University most recently. And quarterbacks coach Will Arndt was added to the team as well; he was offensive assistant over in Edmonton last year, reports Sportsnet.
On last season and how it ended, many in the Redblacks team had a lot to say. It was back in October that GM Marcel Desjardins was fired and Jeremy Snyder was hired as interim GM. He had a lot to say of course on how the season ended…
“I don’t think it needs an overhaul. Do we need to add pieces? For sure.”via facesmag.ca
And add pieces they most obviously did, as stated above in this piece. Redblacks RB, Timothy Flanders, had this to say on last season:
“Guys are disappointed, which we should be. I think we had high expectations coming in and things didn’t work out the way we thought.”via facesmag.ca (link above)
Redblacks safety, Antoine Pruneau concurred and only extrapolated on his teammate’s sentiments:
“We need to be better. We’ve fallen short again this year. I think this year we had a better mindset on the sideline, attitude on the sideline, battled for every game. I think we could have easily won one or two games that could have turned the season around. I don’t feel like we’re as far as we were previously in 2019, but it’s still unacceptable.”via facesmag.ca (link above)
The good news, as it stood even at the tail end of the 2021 season, is that QBs Devlin “Duck” Hodges and Caleb Evans will be returning for the new season. Snyder spoke on that at last season’s end. He said:
“I think we need to be open to all those options, just depends on how many pieces you can put together to surround those guys. Even if it’s not Caleb, maybe it’s Duck, maybe it’s somebody new we don’t know yet, but how we put the puzzle together will be the biggest change for next year.”via facesmag.ca (link above)
It was also at the tail end of last season that LaPolice said this when the Redblacks had only 5 games left to play, they sitting miserably at a 2-7 record.
“I could not fathom this…I really don’t like it. The expectations at any time are to win every game. Wherever I’ve worked, you expect to win every single game you line up and play. That’s what I believed — that we could walk out, be ready to play and win…
We haven’t done things to win football games…We’ve lost the turnover margin at times, we haven’t protected the quarterback at times, we’ve given up explosives at times. At the two most important positions — offensive line and quarterback — we rotated players. But with change, you still have to find a way to win. Certainly I have to be coaching better and figure out how I can help each person.”via The Ottawa Sun
It would seem though, that those sentiments are what have fueled his desire to seek help…help in the form of Paul Charbonneau and Will Arndt. It will be interesting to see how they fare come June, or perhaps even in the preseason game against The Alouettes on the 27th of May, as the Redblacks official site declares.
Do you smell that dear readers? Smells like CFL is in the air, and the Redblacks seem very hungry to change the perception of the team overall, and the overall outcome come next season’s end. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s give LaPolice time to sculpt his team and hope for the best. Keep you posted, dear readers.