Redblacks’ Rick Campbell on his future in Ottawa: ‘I haven’t been told anything either way’

Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell has not been informed about his future in the nation’s capital.

“I haven’t been told anything either way. I just know I’m coming to work every day and I’m doing the best job that I can do,” Campbell said on TSN radio 1200 in Ottawa.

“We have been in the Grey Cup three out of the last four years, which you can’t live in the past all the time. I love being in Ottawa. I’m hopeful because we have capable people that know how to win.”

Prior to the opening of the 2017 season, Campbell signed a contract extension with the Redblacks which runs through the 2020 campaign. He has a 44-51-2 regular season record as the bench boss in Ottawa, 4-3 in the playoffs. General manager Marcel Desjardins inked his deal to match the same term after the pair led the red and black to the 2016 Grey Cup championship.

Just one year ago Ottawa had the best record in the East (11-7), hosted the Eastern Final on the way to a Grey Cup appearance. Less than 365 days later, the Redblacks have already assured themselves the worst record in the league and No. 1 overall CFL draft pick. Campbell admitted it’s the lowest point of his 21-year coaching career in Canada.

“If I’m being honest, I think so. We haven’t won a game since July, when you experience that much losing in a row, it’s like the whipped dog curled up in the corner,” Campbell said.

“Me included we have a large group of coaches and players that 11 months ago were playing in the Grey Cup. For it to come to this it’s sad to see as far as the guys that have been around here that it’s going in this direction. Just haven’t been able to find answers.”

Ottawa has lost 10 straight games — the longest losing streak in franchise history. Struggles on the offensive side of the ball have played a large role, the Redblacks have managed just 280 points and scored 20 touchdowns. Every other CFL team has scored well over 300 points and 30 or more majors.

“We hit a perfect storm of losing too many free agents, losing too many players to injury, the coaches not always getting enough out of the players and putting them in a good position, we had a new quarterback that was his first time to start and we lost the offensive coordinator very late in the process,” Campbell said.

“You had a combination of some coaches working with a new guy so there just wasn’t that comfort level. We definitely can coach these guys better and we can get better players too. That’s not to trash on our players but every year whether you win the Grey Cup or you’re in the situation we’re in, you’re always looking for players. That’s the nature of sports it’s competition.”

Dominique Davis, Jonathon Jennings and Will Arndt have started at quarterback for Ottawa in 2019 — Davis is the only one to win a football game with a 3-5 win-loss record. Jennings went 0-6 during his time as the No. 1 QB and Arndt sits at 0-3.

Combined the trio of passers have thrown 10 touchdowns against 26 interceptions, the most league-wide. Overall Ottawa’s pass efficiency rating is 69.2 well below the rest, every other franchise checks in at 90 or above. (For reference, Trevor Harris 102.9.)

“We have to make sure we have a offensive coordinator and a quarterback that can work together and make each other look good. That’s to be determined on who those people are. After Friday we’ll flip into off-season mode and get to the business of discussing those answers and those fixes,” Campbell said. 

“There’s part of it that makes you feel embarrassed because a lot of proud people that have done a lot of good things around here and to be a part of something where you’re just not competing in the second half the way you want to compete, it doesn’t feel good I’ll tell you that.”

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