‘It ain’t just on the quarterback’: Paul LaPolice satisfied with play of Jeremiah Masoli despite winless start for Redblacks

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The Ottawa Redblacks have a lot to clean up after their 0-3 start to the season but those in charge do not believe the play of their quarterback is one of the issues.

During an appearance on TSN radio in Ottawa on Monday, head coach Paul LaPolice was pressed on whether he needed to see more from prized offseason acquisition Jeremiah Masoli. The bench boss was quick to deflect blame elsewhere, including on himself.

“I think we need a little bit more from the head coach, from everybody,” LaPolice said. “We’re trying to win a game and it ain’t just on the quarterback. It’s on everybody, from me all the way down to the last guy on the roster. That’s how I look at it, more than just Jeremiah.”

The top free-agent signing in the CFL this year after an outstanding career in Hamilton, Masoli currently sits fifth in the league with 873 yards passing but has thrown just one touchdown. The mobile pivot was well over 300 yards through the air in each of Ottawa’s first two games against Winnipeg but struggled this past week against the B.C. Lions, completing just under 52 percent of his passes for 162 yards.

That put Masoli under the microscope, with fans liable to blame a winless start on the man with the most important position. Despite the quarterback’s struggles to find the end zone, LaPolice is satisfied with the results he’s seen thus far and notes that while points have been hard to come by, Masoli has also tossed just one interception.

“He’s an impressive individual. He does a lot of great things. He’s somebody who’s going to be able to lead us to wins and what I’m really impressed with him is he’s really made it a point to make sure he’s making great decisions with the football,” the coach explained.

“I know there was talk about interceptions before, but he’s done a really nice job protecting the football. Our players love him and everything and believe in him. We’ve just got to give him more opportunities to play with our players.”

More opportunities for this offence to gel may be exactly what the Redblacks need, as new pieces added via free agency try to find their rhythm. For the noted offensive guru LaPolice, that will have to happen soon or it will be him, not Masoli, on the hot seat.

The head coach believes his team is close to putting it all together, with self-inflicted errors creating the winless start. The CFL season is a long one and while no one wants to be 0-3, it is not a death blow to Ottawa’s hopes in an East Division where they sit one win out of first place.

“The only teams we’ve played are undefeated. They beat everyone they’ve played and I thought we played well against all of them, but we need to find a way to finish, to win these games because you’ve got to put money in the bank and put yourself in the position to get to where you need to be,” LaPolice said.

“From a patience standpoint, I’m teaching the players, ‘Listen, in the Canadian Football League everybody’s going to have three losses by the end of the year.’ Let’s understand that these things come in groups, we have to learn what we can do to win the football games and continue to try to get better.”