Sun 14/06/2015 - 00:19 EDT

2015 CFL Team Previews: Redblacks Hoping To Improve On Two-Win Season

2015 CFL Team Previews: Redblacks Hoping To Improve On Two-Win Season

The Ottawa Redblacks went 2-16 last season, which was their first one back in the CFL. While they made some changes that will improve their team, don’t look for them to be contenders just yet this season. Ottawa Redblacks FuturesOdds To Win Grey Cup: +3550Regular Season Win Total O/U: 5 wins Most Significant Offseason Changes […]

The Ottawa Redblacks went 2-16 last season, which was their first one back in the CFL. While they made some changes that will improve their team, don’t look for them to be contenders just yet this season.

Ottawa Redblacks Futures
Odds To Win Grey Cup: +3550
Regular Season Win Total O/U: 5 wins

Most Significant Offseason Changes

Jason Maas is the new offensive coordinator for a team that scored, by far, the fewest points in the league last season. Their 278 points were 82 less than second place. To change that, the team overhauled the wide receiver position in the offseason with the additions of Maurice Price and Chris Williams. Williams can be a difference maker but he’s been on practice rosters in the NFL the last two seasons, so he hasn’t been seeing much live action. The Redblacks also spent their top draft pick to help the offense, selecting lineman Alex Mateas, who has a huge upside.

On the defensive side of the ball, they had issues as they finished dead-last in points allowed (465). While they are young and talented, the loss of Jasper Simmons, who ranked fourth in the CFL in tackles last season, may hurt. 

They’ll Be Successful If…

Maas guides the offense and their new weapons to more points and the defense can improve. Veteran quarterback Henry Burris is entering his 17th year in the CFL and while he ranked fourth in passing yards last season, he only had 11 passing touchdowns compared to 14 interceptions. He can be a streaky quarterback but the Redblacks aren’t going anywhere unless he can be more accurate and effective. But last year he was doing too much but he should have more help this time around. He has some new weapons on the outside and the line may be much better with the addition of Mateas, which should help the running game of the Redblacks.

On defense, Ottawa is a young unit that gave up the most points in the CFL last season but they have some talent with the likes of Antoine Pruneau, who may be the best young linebacker in the game after finishing 14th in tackles last season. Still, there are holes that need to be filled in the secondary and against the run.

The Redblacks won only two of their home games last season (2-7) and they really have to establish a home-field advantage. 

They’ll Be Unsuccessful If…

Burris is still turning it over, the new stars on offense do not pan out and the defense does not improve as a unit. Burris has the talent around him to make Ottawa a vastly improved team but he has to stay on the field. The players that Ottawa added have to perform right off the bat to make this team more balanced. If they aren’t helping Burris, if he’s still forced to do too much, if they can’t win time of possession battles and they are throwing their defense back on the field, the results will be the same as last year.

2015 Draft Tracker

1. Mateas, Alex OL Connecticut
2. Harty, Jake WR Calgary
4. Doll, Tanner LB Calgary
5. Court, Jefferson FB Utah State
6. Lafrance, Kienan     RB Manitoba
7. Laganiere, Alexandre OL Montreal

Outlook

It is pretty rare when expansion teams are successful right away and Ottawa found that out the hard way last season. The Redblacks will be a better team this season, but they will still reside in the basement of the East Division. Look for them to have at least a couple of more wins and maybe win their first road game, but they will still go through growing pains and be well under .500 this upcoming season.

Prediction: Fourth in East Division

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