The Ottawa Redblacks are struggling right now more than any other team in the CFL. On the season one area of the team that has proven rather reliable has been Lewis Ward the kicker. Ward has gone 34 of 40 on field goals, and 21 of 21 on conversion attempts producing 123 points of the 312 Ottawa has scored. Unfortunately Lewis Ward suffered a pectoral injury that will shut him down for the season.
This is a huge blow to an already depleted roster. The Redblacks have signed not one but two kickers to compete for the job of replacing one of the most consistent kickers in the league. Let’s take a look at the players Ottawa has brought in, and what they bring to the team.
The Redblacks specifically sought out national kickers to keep the balance of their roster in check going forward. The reality is there isn’t another Lewis Ward out there on the market right now. We should expect to see a drop in consistency from the kicking unit going forward the rest of this season.
Michael Domagala is a scary option given his past with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He converted 19 of 26 field goals, a 73% conversion rate which is far lower than what Redblacks have come to expect with Ward. He also went 12 of 14 on conversion attempts. Neither of those numbers are encouraging.
What’s ironic about this is Domagala has more experience as a punter than he does as a field goal kicker as a professional. He punted 90 times with Hamilton. It would be slightly less concerning if this wasn’t just par for the course with Domagala. During his time with the Carleton Ravens he converted 76% of his kicks.
Keiran Burnham is only slightly better in the accuracy category with 78% conversion rate at Saint Francis. He served primarily as a punter until the last two seasons of his stay.
As far as the CFL, Burnham has yet to kick in a regular season game. Spending time on the practice squad of the Stampeders before ultimately signing with the BC Lions this offseason. He was released by the team in late August.
His next opportunity might come with Ottawa, if he can out kick Domagala who at least has regular season experience. However Burnham didn’t miss a kick this preseason. He converted all 3 of his field goals and all 3 of his point after attempts. Can he repeat this performance when it counts?
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