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Dru Brown and Tommy Condell Leading New Look Offense in 2024

The Redblacks’ struggles have been documented at length on this site so we will not rehash the ugly past, we will however discuss the differences in Ottawa’s offense with the addition of Dru Brown, and Tommy Condell. Condell showed no shortage of creativity in his regular-season debut. We saw no less than three receivers lined up in the backfield at times. Two of which were used as runners. Dru Brown led a mistake-free offense, Ottawa didn’t commit a single turnover, and it ended up being part of the difference in this game.

In the second quarter, Zach Collaros threw his first interception which directly resulted in a field goal for the Redblacks. Collaros was under duress all night long as he was sacked three times for 16 yards lost, with four plays stuffed for an 18-yard loss. The final piece of this puzzle was the success each team found on second down, Ottawa converted 10 of 23 second down attempts, while they held Winnipeg to 6 of 18 on second down.

Creativity by Condell Brings Ottawa Offense to Life

Tommy Condell knew he didn’t have much true running back depth, but he also knew he had two players with a lot of carries in their backgrounds. Bralon Addison, and Devonte Dedmon both have a running element to their game when desired. Condell knew this about Addison better than anyone else. He was Addison’s offensive coordinator in Hamilton during the 2019 season when Addison had a career year.

During that 2019 season, Addison played in more than 8 games for the only time in his career to this point. He managed to suit up and play in 16 games collecting 36 carries for 218 yards and 1 touchdown, or 6.1 yards per carry. During that season, Condell used the ultimate running game by committee with 13 different players carrying the ball, including 8 players that carried the ball 29 times or more. Of those 8 players, only two were not listed as running backs: Quarterback Dane Evans and Bralon Addison. They also got Brandon Banks involved with 13 carries on the year.

In week two Addison was able to collect 2 carries for 21 yards, he was targeted 5 times catching 2 passes for 39 yards. Devonte Dedmon was used in a similar role but has not seen the ball come his way yet on offense. Justin Hardy lined up in the backfield at one point as well, although he ran a swing route on the play. The pre-snap motion Condell has instituted has been nothing short of genius at times as he confuses defensive backs and forces them to make split-second reads. Simoni Lawrence was impressed…

It was this creativity that kept the defense on its toes most of the game and helped open the field for the offense to produce 367 total yards, including 238 passing yards by Brown, and 95 rushing yards by Ryquell Armstead who struggled to get anything going in the preseason.

Condell the Quarterback Whisperer?

Dru Brown came out in this game and immediately looked better in the passing game than most players that have started in recent memory. He didn’t light the world on fire, but he took what the defense gave him, made the right decisions, and avoided throwing an interception in his first start for Ottawa.

Throwing 33 passes before a rain delay with just over two minutes remaining, he completed 20 for 238 yards and 1 touchdown. An average of 7.2 yards per attempt, with a length of 42 yards on the day. Brown did exactly what Ottawa needed him to do, come out and look at the part of a starting quarterback without taking unnecessary risks.

While the Offense Did Their Part, the Defense Made a Difference as Well

The defense rose to the challenge last night, Zach Collaros the best quarterback in the league was held to a 2 of 6 stat line for much of the first quarter before he began to find more of a rhythm later on in the game. By the end of the day Collaros had completed just 50% of his 31 throws for 285 yards 0 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Some of his best work came after the lightning delay was lifted.

With 2:09 remaining Winnipeg resumed a drive that began with two big plays. They immediately found a third big play as they completed a long pass moving the ball down the field. On the very next play Collaros found a wide-open receiver on the right sideline for another big gain. Four big plays to begin this drive and it looked like the defense was reeling.

On the following first down the Blue Bombers tried to test the endzone, throwing a faded route to Kedric Wheatfall in the right corner of the endzone. This pass floated just a bit too much and landed out of bounds just outside Wheatfall’s reach, with a defender in his hip pocket, it wouldn’t have been an easy catch either way.

The following play the offense tried to throw a pass to the front right corner of the endzone, but Damon Webb came diving in to break up the pass and force a third downplay. As they had been all game long, the defensive line continued to apply pressure on Collaros, and it resulted in a third down sack and a turnover on downs which effectively ended the game.

Ottawa took control backed up near their endzone, but they knew they needed to run as much clock as they could with 50 seconds remaining. Condell called back-to-back inside handoffs to Ryquell Armstead. Armstead managed five yards on first down, only to lose one yard on second down. On third down to run as much time off the clock as possible, punter Richie Leone took the snap and began to slowly run into the endzone, giving up a safety, but allowing the clock to tick down precious seconds. By the time he was pushed out of bounds, the Redblacks offense had eaten up 35 seconds leaving the Blue Bombers just 15 seconds to try and score a touchdown down by 4.

On first down the defense allowed a completion down the field to start the drive, and it looked like for a moment the Blue Bombers were still in this game. On the next play, his pass fell incomplete thrown just outside his reach. This left it third down, with a Hail Mary attempt and two seconds the only hope left for Winnipeg.

The pass rush was able to collapse the pocket quickly causing Collaros to hurry to get the ball away. During this play, he was touched in the backfield by no less than three defenders, but no one could get ahold of him to bring him down. He stepped up into the pocket away from the outreached hands of defensive linemen and heaved the ball downfield to a group of players in the left front corner of the endzone. The ball didn’t make it to the endzone, instead coming back to Earth about the 3–5-yard line where a few Redblacks players were able to bat down the ball, putting an end to the Bombers’ hopes, and securing an opening day victory for Ottawa. Their first 1-0 start since the 2021 season.

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Sam Just Reporter
I am a writer and content creator focusing on alternative football leagues like the UFL, CFL, AFL, IFL, NAL, and AIF. If you like alternative football leagues, check out my personal platform Shady Sports Network on YouTube and all your favorite social media platforms.
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