The Ottawa Redblacks have now kicked it into high gear this offseason. With six signings two days ago, and now more moves yesterday this team has quickly gone from one of the quietest teams to one of the most active overnight.
Bringing Back Bralon
Despite adding four wide receivers on Wednesday, the Redblacks doubled down re-signing Bralon Addison. Addison joined the Redblacks while injured and spent the first couple months of his tenure with the team rehabbing his injury trying to get back on the field.
By the time the season ended Addison had appeared in 8 games adding 26 receptions for 272 yards on 34 targets. This amounted to a 76% catch rate for the veteran. This wasn’t far off his career high of 79.6% last season with Hamilton.
One thing Addison has done a lot throughout his career, 53 times to be exact, is run the ball. In fact in his first CFL season he had 36 carries in 16 games and averaged 6.1 yards per carry. With Ottawa he didn’t see a single rushing attempt, given his value in this role it will be something to follow going forward.
Quarterback Competition Getting Crowded
With two lost seasons behind them dude to catastrophic injuries to starter Jeremiah Masoli, the Redblacks have taken the necessary steps to make sure they have insurance on the roster for the 2024 season assuming Masoli wins the starting job once again. Trading a fifth round pick to Winnipeg in exchange for the rights to Brown.
There should not be an assumption on anyone’s part after the team chose to add Dru Brown from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Brown has not gotten an opportunity to start much in the CFL to this point but he has been given his share of playing time as the backup on one of the best teams in the league.
Active for 38 games since joining Winnipeg, he has attempted 153 passes over his time with the Blue Bombers. Completing 66.6% of his passes for 1,484 yards, 14 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions. Brown has also provided value as a runner too by rushing 37 times for 113 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Brown a CFL Lifer?
Brown has a couple things working against him that he cannot control on his path to success, his height being one of them. At 5’11 191 pounds he is certainly undersized for an NFL Quarterback which is why he might be the perfect player to turn to as a starter. Most NFL teams won’t even look at a 5’11 quarterback even if he attended a big name school and played well. Dru also turns 27 in March, a negative for NFL teams, but a positive for Ottawa who needs a seasoned CFL quarterback.
For those curious how he might fare as a starter; In games that he has attempted 17 or more passes he has gone a collective 75 of 107 attempts for 1,081 yards for 9 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Brown looks like he could be a solid CFL quarterback with the requisite accuracy, mobility, and decision making to make this team a winner once again.
Could Brown Start?
In short: Absolutely. The Redblacks asked Masoli to take a pay cut to facilitate another quarterback coming in. Masoli is coming has not played in all 18 games since 2018. In that stretch he has played in just 23 games and honestly has not played at a high enough level to continue counting on him to make it through a whole season.
In his last 17 games since the Covid shut down he has thrown 407 passes completing 278 a 68% rate. He managed 3,565 yards 12 touchdowns to 9 interceptions. If there’s one facet of Brown’s game that is looking attractive to Ottawa right now it has to be his ability to protect the ball and limit turnovers. His only interceptions in the CFL came in the first game he threw more than ten passes. Since then he hasn’t thrown a single interception. That’s 93 passing attempts, through 9 games and counting without an interception.
If he can simply protect the ball, but still give the threat of a legitimate passing attack. I would expect if he takes over the team will retain Masoli as the 2, while shopping for a trade partner. Tyrie Adams, Dustin Crum, and Tyrell Pigrome will compete for the QB3/short yardage QB job. Crum might make the most sense as the 3, due to his ability as a runner, his age, and his starting experience which is very valuable.
The Redblacks haven’t brought in much in the way of big name talent yet but the addition of Brown, and re-signing of Addison should certainly qualify as big moves in 2024. If Addison returns at full strength, and Dru Brown looks as good as he has in Winnipeg, this offense could be completely different in 2024. One thing is certain our quarterback room is a lot better off now with Brown than before this trade occurred.
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