It’s odd to assume the Ottawa REDBLACKS, as aggressive as they’ve been since arriving within the league, simply posted their second profitable season of their five-year historical past. Particularly once you additionally think about the yr they gained the Gray Cup in 2016, Ottawa completed the season with an Eight-9-1 document. As for the 2018 season, they did a lot better with an 11-7 document. Sadly for the REDBLACKS, their season got here only one victory in need of bringing one other championship to the nation’s capital.
This low season brings plenty of inquiries to be requested and answered by each Marcel Desjardins and Rick Campbell as they look ahead to the 2019 season, tackling the primary impediment in any season’s preparation, and that’s who they really feel they want for his or her opening day roster.
As we attain the top of December, the preliminary listing of pending free brokers has slowly been decreased as groups throughout the league negotiate contracts with gamers who would have in any other case been set to hit the league’s open market come February.
We check out what Ottawa faces forward of the 2019 CFL common season within the REDBLACKS version of Off-Season Outlook.
The questions encompass the offensive aspect of the ball with most of the REDBLACKS’ core personnel being pending free brokers. Marcel Desjardins has completed a very exceptional job with piecing collectively this group since turning into the overall supervisor of the Ottawa REDBLACKS earlier than their inaugural season in 2014. Since then, Ottawa has ventured to 3 Gray Cup appearances, and that’s largely to Desjardins and his means to usher in high quality expertise and develop unknowns into stars.
Coming off of a season by which he was the East Division’s nominee for CFL Coach of the Yr, Rick Campbell posted simply his second profitable season as head coach of the REDBLACKS. Since arriving in 2014 for Ottawa’s return to the CFL, Campbell has labored nicely with Desjardins in making certain the group is fielding a aggressive workforce and one which has persistently been one of the crucial dominant popping out of the East Division. Because the low season will get underway forward of the 2019 season, Campbell shall be hoping Desjardins can do his half in bringing again a number of the key skills, whereas additionally bringing in potential distinction makers from free company like Derico Murray did in 2018.
PENDING FREE AGENTS
As identified, the listing of pending free brokers for the Ottawa REDBLACKS is a bulk of their key gamers, particularly on the offensive aspect of the ball. Marcel Desjardins might want to determine on whether or not he feels Trevor Harris is the quarterback this franchise must deliver them their second Gray Cup championship.
Selections may also have to be made in terms of the remainder of a few of the expert positions on offence. William Powell presently sits as a pending free agent for when February rolls round. Each Greg Ellingson and Diontae Spencer are two high-profile receivers who might hit the market in the event that they go unsigned by Ottawa, nevertheless, it’s onerous to consider that the REDBLACKS would let each go, so anticipate one to return if not each.
Key members of the offensive line are additionally set to probably hit the market. Jon Gott additional solidified his place as a fan favorite in 2018, and SirVincent Rogers has maintained himself as one of many prime tackles within the league. Each can be in want of latest contracts if Ottawa hopes to retain their providers alongside the trenches.
Defensively, Chris Ackie is due for a brand new contract after becoming a member of the REDBLACKS midway via the season with a commerce from Montreal. His presence alongside the defensive secondary aids within the ratio and is definitely among the best Canadian defensive backs within the league. Derico Murray made a direct influence for the REDBLACKS after becoming a member of them the season after profitable the Gray Cup with Toronto, and Kyries Hebert has revolutionized his profession within the nation’s capital. All three are amongst a number of the defensive belongings that contributed to the REDBLACKS fielding the robust defence that they did this previous season of that are listed as pending free brokers.
» VIEW LIST OF 2019 PENDING FREE AGENTS
You’ve gotten Brad Sinopoli headlining this crew of nationwide expertise following a yr through which he set the season report for many receptions by a Canadian (116), passing Ben Cahoon’s mark set in 2003. The 30-year-old additionally went on to beat out Winnipeg’s Andrew Harris to be topped the league’s Most Oustanding Canadian for the 2018 season.
The REDBLACKS might enter 2019 with two of the league’s greatest Canadian defensive backs in Chris Ackie and Antoine Pruneau (although Ackie has performed extra WILL linebacker in his profession). With Pruneau lacking a lot of the common season resulting from damage, and Ackie not becoming a member of the REDBLACKS till late within the season, the low season might very properly assist in getting the 2 again in a cushty state of affairs.
Maybe one of the best Canadian story of the 2018 season was that of Lewis Ward. From his time over a yr in the past as a safety guard at TD Place Stadium in Ottawa to then profitable each the Most Oustanding Rookie and Particular Groups Participant of the Yr award was a feel-good story all of us might recognize and get behind. Identical to the 51 subject objectives he made in 2018.
Trevor Harris is coming off of a yr by which he ranked fourth within the league in passing yards (5,116) and posted a 2:1 landing to interception ratio whereas reaching his first Gray Cup as a starter. Now, as Harris is listed as a pending free agent, the quarterback place is underneath query as Desjardins will determine on whether or not Harris is the quarterback Ottawa wants, or whether or not they take their possibilities on the open market come February.
Dominique Davis additionally proved his skillset for Ottawa as he developed a knack for artistic performs out of short-yardage packages. Davis completed the season tied for the workforce lead in dashing touchdowns with six.
They’ve the Canadian depth on the operating again place, however their huge star in William Powell is in search of a brand new contract as he’ll be a big-name free agent if he doesn’t re-sign with Ottawa. Powell simply narrowly missed the dashing title this previous season, ending the season ranked second with 1,362 yards on the bottom. Powell was simply one among three backs to succeed in the 1k mark this season.
|Noel Thomas II||Signed||I|
The receiving corps of the Ottawa REDBLACKS is arguably the id of the workforce. With the buds in Brad Sinopoli and Greg Ellingson, together with Diontae Spencer, the REDBLACKS posted three receivers who eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the yr. With a season that riddled the league’s receivers with accidents, Ottawa was the one workforce to succeed in such a feat.
The offensive line is likely one of the positions of least concern when you think about simply 4 gamers of the positional group are pending free brokers. Jon Gott and SirVincent Rogers are simply to big-time linemen that you simply need to get re-signed, particularly with the state of affairs at quarterback not sure as of proper now.
AC Leonard led the group in quarterback sacks, ending the season with six registered to his identify. Michael Klassen adopted with 4. If the REDBLACKS are capable of get Leonard and/or Klassen re-signed, they may have again the defensive linemen who took the brunt of the work alongside the trenches this previous season.
|Kevin Brown II||Signed||I|
One other positional group which the REDBLACKS are in an excellent place with nearly all of their linebackers being beneath contract. Nevertheless, Ottawa does have two 50-tackle gamers probably heading to the market in the event that they’re unable to increase their contracts. Rico Murray tied for the team-lead in interceptions (5) and Kyries Hebert did his half in patrolling the center of the sector for Noel Thorpe’s scheme.
Bringing again Chris Ackie would solely assist the REDBLACKS with the ratio, but in addition he’s a type of gamers that’s versatile sufficient to play security of line up as a linebacker as he did so typically as a member of the Montreal Alouettes. Jonathan Rose is one other asset the REDBLACKS want to think about bringing again as he tied for the staff’s lead in interceptions (5) with Rico Murray.
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