On the eve of the Ottawa Redblacks’ season opener in Calgary, now is as good a time as any to cast a glance towards the future and do my best Nostradamus impression.
I’ll never hear about the ones I get right, but as always, I count on you loyal reader, to remind me when I’m wrong.
Without further ado, here are five bold predictions for the Redblacks’ 2019 season.
Through no fault of his own, Jonathan Jennings starts just three games (or less)
Consider this less of an indictment on Jennings’ abilities and more of a strong vote of confidence in Dominique Davis. Having won the job in training camp, Davis is poised for a breakout season as a starter. Up to now, he’s been a career backup, learning behind the likes of Matt Nichols and Trevor Harris in the CFL and Matt Ryan during his time at Boston College and Atlanta Falcons.
Even in limited action, Davis’ mobility and strong arm have impressed. Coaches and more importantly, teammates, have bought in and if you talk to anyone around TD Place, they only have positives to say when it comes to his leadership and the vibe he’s created in the room.
Jennings won’t see the field often in 2019 simply because Davis makes the most of his first opportunity to lead a team in the CFL.
John Crockett will be the feature back by Week Six
Mossis Madu is a good player. He’s excellent at picking up the blitz and hasn’t averaged 4.8 yards per carry over the course of his career by accident. And yet, I still believe Ottawa’s lead back is currently sitting on their practice roster. Crockett brings a few elements to the table that Madu doesn’t. In the pre-season he showed an explosive burst; powerful enough to run through arm tackles yet shifty enough to make opponents miss in the open field. Crockett averaged 6.1 yards per carry in the pre-season while playing behind a make-shift offensive line and had 44 YAC (yards after the catch) on five receptions.
For the fifth time, Brad Sinopoli cracks 1,000 receiving yards
The least controversial prediction on the list. Sinopoli has been money since his arrival in Ottawa, catching 383 passes for 4,456 yards and 14 touchdowns. As the elder statesman of the Redblacks’ receiving corps, Sinopoli will continue to be leaned on, especially in the early part of the season as the younger receivers settle in and grow comfortable with the offence.
Anthony Cioffi leads the team in tackles and forced fumbles
In 13 starts as a rookie at SAM linebacker, Cioffi amassed 44 tackles, two sacks, a pair of forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. With a year of experience under his belt and an off-season to further immerse himself in Noel Thorpe’s defensive schemes, Cioffi’s sophomore season sees him develop into a dominant linebacker in one of the CFL’s best defences.
We’re talking about playoffs
Lead by a stout defence and Davis’ right arm, the Redblacks return to (and host) a playoff game for the fifth straight season.