Looking at what former Redblacks did in 2019

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Much was made of the talent R-Nation watched walked out the door last off-season.

Some exits were voluntary, some were expected and others complete surprises.

With 2020 free agency coming quick, let’s take a look at just how those former Redblacks performed in 2019.

*Stats include both regular season and playoff performances

OL SirVincent Rogers

2018 stats: 19 games started.

2019 stats: 0 games started.

After signing a deal that made him the highest paid American offensive lineman in the league, Rogers spent the entire 2019 season on injured reserve after tearing his left tricep in the pre-season.

RB William Powell

2018 stats: 288 carries for 1,542 yards and six touchdowns. 42 receptions for 332 yards and two touchdowns.

2019 stats: 223 carries for 1,141 yards and 12 touchdowns. 40 receptions for 348 yards and two touchdowns.

Powell’s production in terms of yardage was basically the same, but he found the end zone twice as often on the ground with Saskatchewan, despite sharing carries with a plethora of others including Marcus Thigpen, Bryan Bennett and Kyran Moore.

REC Diontae Spencer:

2018 stats: 90 receptions for 1,079 yards and nine touchdowns. 128 returns for 1,707 yards and one touchdown.

2019 stats: six receptions for 32 yards. 41 returns for 644 yards.

Following two highly productive seasons with the Redblacks, Spencer made the leap to the NFL. First with Pittsburgh, where he spent the entire off-season and training camp, before joining the Denver Broncos after being cut by the Steelers in late August. Although a non-factor in the offence, Spencer was named a Pro Bowl alternate as a return specialist.

REC Greg Ellingson

2018 stats: 103 catches for 1,288 yards and six touchdowns.

2019 stats: 101 catches for 1,368 yards and five touchdowns.

Typical season by Ellingson’s lofty standards. The sure-handed receiver proved to be Edmonton’s No. 1 target for the duration of the 2019 campaign. Probably helped that he already had strong (and previously existing) chemistry with the guy throwing him the ball.

QB Trevor Harris

2018 stats: completed 70 percent of his passes (480-of-685) for 5,771 yards, 29 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

2019 stats: completed 73 percent of his passes (408-of-558) for 4,767 yards, 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

In 2019, Harris missed five games as he dealt with injuries. When on the field, just as he did in Ottawa, he led an offence that racked up first downs but that struggled in the red zone.

His playoff performances were also eerily similar. With both the Redblacks and Eskimos, Harris set CFL playoff records one week but failed to follow up those historic performances with a win the week after.

DL Andrew Marshall:

2018 stats: 18 games played, one defensive tackle, 13 special teams tackles.

2019 stats: 0 games played.

Like a number of other players on this list, Marshall signed with the Edmonton Eskimos last February. Like Rogers, he never played for them, spending 2019 on Edmonton’s six-game injured list as a result of a training camp injury.

DE A.C. Leonard:

2018 stats: 50 tackles, six sacks.

2019 stats: 46 tackles, 11 sacks, four forced fumbles.

Leonard’s first season playing in Jason Shivers’ defensive system led to career highs across the board. Much different totals compared to when Leonard lined up with Noel Thorpe as his defensive coordinator in Ottawa.

LB Kyries Hebert:

2018 stats: 66 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble.

2019 stats: none.

If his social media posts were any indication, Hebert looked physically capable of playing football in 2019. Still, he went unsigned for the duration of the season and at 39, we’ve likely seen the last of 12-year CFL veteran.

DB Rico Murray:

2018 stats: 68 tackles, five interceptions, one forced fumble.

2019 stats: 59 tackles, two interceptions, one touchdown.

More impressive than any individual stat is the fact that for the third straight year, Murray’s team made a Grey Cup appearance. Unfortunately for the city of Hamilton, his latest trip resulted in another loss.

DB and LB Chris Ackie:

2018 stats: 89 tackles, two interceptions, one sack, one forced fumble and one touchdown.

2019 stats: 45 tackles.

A 2018 trade deadline day deal that sent Ottawa’s second rounder to Montreal brought Ackie to the nation’s capital for the team’s Grey Cup run. Ackie never became a full-time starter with the Redblacks, instead used in a rotational role by defensive coordinator Noel Thorpe.

In 2019, after exhausting NFL possibilities, Ackie returned to the CFL and signed with the Alouettes on July 8th.

Santino Filoso is originally from Ottawa and has written about the Redblacks since 2013. He is the only CFL writer currently living in Brazil (as far as we know).