Ottawa Redblacks have lots of potential
The Ottawa Redblacks have had a difficult start to the new CFL season after two road stops leaving them with a record of 1 win in 3 games played so far.
In their opening game against the Edmonton Elks, the Redblacks claimed a 16-12 victory but went on to lose their next two games—away to the Saskatchewan Roughriders and their first home game of the season to the BC Lions. However, there is still lots of potential with this talented Redblacks team.
During their visit to Regina last week, the Redblacks put up a good defensive showing but unfortunately, their offensive abilities have been lacking for weeks now.
“I mean we’re not in the business of making excuses, of why we didn’t do as well on offence as we would have liked,” said quarterback Matt Nichols, who has been in the spotlight, running his CFL starter record to an impressive 38-16 while completing just 12 out of 20 passes made for 72 yards. “But I know what we can do is kind of watch and see what’s there.
“Everyone just kind of took their turn making mistakes and it all adds up, you know, to a bunch of mistakes,” he continued.
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In the game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the Redblacks lost 23-10 in a very hostile and noisy Mosaic Field. However, they are three games into the season and have 11 more to go—6 of which are home games.
The Redblacks have quite an inexperienced CFL offensive line, but fans have been clamouring for the team to put more grit into their tackles as the Americans do. Tyler Catalina, a rookie, plays at left tackle while Na’Ty Rodgers plays at right tackle. Jakub Szott, a Canadian rookie holds the left guard position and Juwann Bushell-Beatty, another American rookie, starts at right guard as a replacement for Nolan MacMillan who is out injured.
In the entire Redblacks squad, the only experienced player is Mark Korte, who is slowly getting accustomed to the centre position of the Redblack’s offensive line. While there are lots of question marks surrounding this team, particularly their offensive abilities, it is still too early to draw up any conclusions.
“There’s no panic here, we just know we need to get back to work,” said Nichols. “Obviously, the offence needs to get a little better. We know we have a good football team top to bottom. We have a winning football team, a team that can go and compete with anyone.
From a coaching perspective, head coach Paul LaPolice has been quite satisfied with his team’s on-field performance but their offensive abilities have been a major cause for concern.
LaPolice admitted in a report that his team need to do more to create as many first downs as possible and also, ensure that his players can hold a good offensive and defensive shape to accurately locate open teammates.
The Redblacks need to do better, and they have the team to do so, even though a majority have little CFL experience, said LaPolice.
The next game for the Redblacks is another home game against the Montreal Alouettes and they would be looking to claim their first home win of the season with a much-improved offensive outing.