Ottawa Redblacks to start Nick Arbuckle at quarterback against Edmonton

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

The quarterback carousel continues in Ottawa as Redblacks’ head coach Paul LaPolice has named Nick Arbuckle the starter for this week’s game against the Edmonton Elks, according to Postmedia’s Tim Baines.

The Redblacks acquired Arbuckle in a trade with the Elks back in July in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2023 CFL Draft. He has since dressed for three games in a backup roles, completing 25-of-37 pass attempts for 318 yards and two touchdowns.

The four-year CFL veteran dressed for five games with Edmonton this season, completing 64.3 percent of his passes for 892 yards, two touchdowns, and eight interceptions. He won the starting job out of training camp but was demoted to a backup role in Week 4 following the promotion of Canadian quarterback Tre Ford.

The six-foot-one, 213-pound passer was traded to Edmonton in October 2021 after playing seven games as a member of the Toronto Argonauts. He completed 62.7 percent of his passes with the Boatmen for 1,158 yards, five touchdowns, and six interceptions.

The Georgia State product signed his first CFL contract with the Calgary Stampeders in March 2017, though he played sparingly until 2019 when he threw for 2,103 yards, 11 touchdowns, and five interceptions while Bo Levi Mitchell missed seven games due to injury.

Arbuckle was traded to Ottawa in January 2020 but never dressed for the team due to the cancellation of the CFL season. He was released by the team in February 2021 when the two sides were unable to restructure his contract.

Second-year pivot Caleb Evans had been the team’s starter since franchise quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was injured on a low hit by Saskatchewan Roughriders’ defensive lineman Garrett Marino in Week 5.

Evans guided the Redblacks to their lone victory of the season — a 23-13 win over the Toronto Argonauts in July — but has lost his last two starts, including a 30-12 defeat at the hands of the same Elks team they will face this Saturday.

Evans has completed 62.7 percent of his passes for 1,021 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions. He has also rushed 45 times for 245 yards and six touchdowns.

Frustrations have begun to develop amongst Redblacks supporters as the team was expected to be more competitive in 2022 following the hiring of Shawn Burke as general manager and the team’s many marquee additions in free agency.

Instead, the Redblacks find themselves back in their familiar spot of looking up at every other team in the standings with their embattled head coach’s seat getting warmer by the day.

Moving on from Evans and giving Arbuckle his chance was one of the only moves the team had left to make.

The Redblacks also signed national linebacker Shaydon Philip.

The 25-year-old played collegiately at the University of Alberta and was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Calgary Stampeders in 2021 before being cut in training camp and signing with Edmonton that August.

The six-foot-four, 246-pound native of St. Albert, Alberta appeared in 10 games with the Elks last season, recording four special teams tackles.