The Redblacks had, up until back to back meetings with Toronto, been building some momentum. Having won three of their last five games, including a victory over the Argonauts, things were looking up. That was until back-to-back meetings with the top team in the Eastern Division.
Unfortunately for the Redblacks a crucial two game stretch has now resulted in two more L’s added to the record. Currently sitting at 3-10, Ottawa has all but been eliminated from the playoffs. With the league’s lowest scoring output, and middle of the pack defensive performances the Redblacks have a lot of work to do.
The Redblacks chose to pass on selecting quarterback Tre Ford who was sitting there in round one this past off-season. It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall in the front office and hear the conversations about that decision at this point. The truth is no one who has stepped under center for Ottawa has played up to par, not even Jeremiah Masoli.
Collectively the quarterback room has accounted for just 7 touchdown passes, and 14 interceptions. This isn’t what anyone had in mind when they went and signed Masoli, or traded for Arbuckle. At this point with the season lost, would it be prudent to give one of the practice squad QB’s some in game reps?
Evaluating Players for Next Season
As much as fans likely don’t want to hear it, the Redblacks have hit the point in the year when their playoff hopes have been dashed. However that doesn’t mean the last five games of the season don’t hold value. It’s at this point coaches need to start evaluating younger players.
What better position to start with than quarterback? With a 1:2 touchdown to interception ratio already coming from the three veterans, what is there to lose? Recently signed Dustin Crum, and Tyrie Adams still reside on the practice squad. Crum needs the reps to learn the Canadian game, do getting him in, even if in garbage time is important. One of these two men could prove to be the future of the position for Ottawa.
I believe the Redblacks might need to bulk up at linebacker. Currently the team is allowing 5 yards per carry in the ground game. This simply can’t be allowed to continue. Perhaps a move to get DeShawn Stevens more involved would help? He is the only traditional thumper at linebacker on this defense. Plug him in at the Mike, and surround him with some athletic outside backers. He is also a former first round pick. What are you waiting for?
Another player I would like to see more involved is Shaheed Salmon. He has played in 13 games, but hasn’t been a starter. Despite the lack of playing time he has produced 1 interception, 2 forced fumbles. He needs an opportunity to get more involved in this defense. He is also a bit bigger than Frankie Griffin who has been starting to this point, which could aid the run game.
Some more practice squad players to take a look at:
LB Shaydon Philip- Philip has played limited defensive snaps despite 2022 being his second CFL season. He flashed playmaking ability in college. Giving him a chance to start or at least play some significant time would be in the best interests of the team long term. Plug him in at strong side linebacker opposite of Salmon.
DT Will Keily- Keily would add some much needed size to this relatively small defensive line for Ottawa. At 6’4 275 Keilly can play inside or outside depending on the situation. Bringing him up and allowing him more time on the field could prove crucial to his future development. Producing 36 tackles for a loss, and 19 sacks during his college career, he has the potential to be a big time performer.
This past week we saw the Redblacks call up Global player Edris Jean-Alphonse. He was the primary back up to Brandon Dandridge. If it’s me I’m moving Jean-Alphonse into the lineup this week. Four of BC’s top five receivers in terms of receptions are 6’1 or taller. In the secondary for the Redblacks you have;
Ty Cranston 6’3 as your primary safety
Monshadrik Hunter 6’1 at CB (just returned from injury)
Antoine Prudeau 6’1 another safety
Edris Jean-Alphonse 6’0 at CB
This game could get ugly quick if the proper players aren’t on the field. This receiver room is a mismatch nightmare for the secondary of Ottawa.
LaPolice on the Hotseat?
Personally I don’t believe that LaPolice should be doubted yet. Injuries have played a huge factor in the losses piling up this season. However to say this last stretch of the season is important for the coaching staff as well would be foolish.
Two back to back 3 win seasons will do LaPolice no favors heading into season three. Stringing together some victories could help his case. Currently, his career win loss record is starting to look awfully bleak. Remove the 2011 season and he has collected just 12 wins in 52 tries.
Shout out to CFL.ca for the stats.
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