For the Ottawa Redblacks, it’s all about making smart choices right now.
Winless heading into Saturday’s game against the Toronto Argonauts (1-1), the Redblacks (0-1-1) know they can’t afford any missed opportunities.
Saturday’s game marks the start of a busy time for the Redblacks who will play three games in a span of 11 days, and starting things off with a win would be ideal.
“It’s tough in terms that we’ve put in some great efforts, but at the same time we are still winless,” said quarterback Trevor Harris. “We’re not down as a team, we know this is a process.”
Harris knows it’s still early, but at the same time understands the importance of getting that first victory.
“I don’t ever feel like I play like it’s early in the season or I treat it like it’s early in the season and I don’t think our team does either,” said Harris. “We know it’s early in the season in terms of our development so it’s an easy way to say don’t push the panic button, keep trusting the process, keep trusting what we’re doing.”
The Redblacks have done some great thing on offences. Harris threw for 425 yards in last week’s 43-39 loss in Calgary while three receivers reached 100 yards, but mistakes are proving to be costly early on.
“We need to eliminate the negative part of the game,” said head coach Rick Campbell. “We still want to play fast and mistakes are going to happen, but we need to limit those and limit the negative plays and when we do that we’re a pretty tough team to beat.”
Penalties seem to be a recurring problem for the Redblacks who lead the league with 216 penalty yards after two games.
“I think we realize you have to think beyond yourself,” said receiver Brad Sinopoli. “When you go to do something you can’t only think about you and the play that you’re about to make. You have to think about how it’s going to affect the team.”
With both teams coming off disappointing Week 2 performances, Saturday’s game, like so many between these two East Division rivals, should have plenty to offer.
Toronto quarterback Ricky Ray has been playing well and will need to be contained.
“You need to keep him a little bit rattled,” said linebacker Taylor Reed, who has ten defensive tackles. “You can’t have him relaxing in the pocket and so I think if we can eliminate the long balls we’ll have a good day.”
The Redblacks added depth to its defensive line with the addition of Jonathan Newsome. Newsome won’t be able to play immediately as he’s dealing with a hamstring issue, but Ottawa still felt he was worth bringing in.
“He can be a difference maker,” said Redblacks general manager Marcel Desjardins. “He’s proven he can get to the quarterback and that’s something we’re in need of.”
Notes: WR Dominique Rhymes will play for the injured Juron Criner, while Eric Lofton will have a chance to play on the offensive line and RB William Powell is set to return.