Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Redblacks’ Bralon Addison has motivation vs. Tiger-Cats

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The Ottawa Redblacks have done what they had to do with the crappy game they had last week in Montreal.

“I think we pretty much flushed it,” veteran receiver Bralon Addison said after Friday’s practice at TD Place before putting his team’s 1-1 start in perspective. “We started the first two weeks against the (2023) Grey Cup finalists and the second was the champion. (The Alouettes) protect their home field and it was their banner night. But it was Week 3 of the season and Week 2 for us. We’ve got to flush it and move on.

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“Coach (Bob) Dyce preached the message that we got our asses kicked, but it’s a long season. We got to learn from it. Flush it and be ready to protect home field this weekend against Hamilton.”

The 0-3 Tiger-Cats provide the Redblacks — and Addison — with what would appear to be a good shot at redemption. But after losing 32-24 in Calgary, 33-30 at home to the Roughriders and 36-20 in Saskatchewan, they are listed by FanDuel as just 1.5-point underdogs against the Redblacks, whose only home game this season was a 23-19 victory over the Blue Bombers.

“Their record is 0-3, but they’ve been in every game they’ve played,” Addison said. “So we’re not taking them lightly.”

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There should should also be plenty of personal motivation for Addison, who had two drive-killing drops (including one in the endzone) against the Alouettes.

The Tiger-Cats released him in 2023 after four seasons in Hamilton, including a stellar 2019 in which he had 1,236 receiving yards and seven touchdowns while being named a CFL all-star.

Addison didn’t exactly make them regret the decision last year, his first with the Redblacks.

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He didn’t play in the first two meetings — a 21-13 Week 5 loss in Hamilton and a 16-12 Week 8 defeat in Ottawa — and in the Tabbies 27-24 Week 14 victory at TD Place, Addison had one catch on two targets for six yards.

Offensive coordinator Tommy Condell, who spent eight seasons over two stints on the Tiger-Cats staff before he dismissed last August, views any revenge for Addison as “a good storyline,” but nothing more.

“You’re going to compete versus anything …. you compete in a family Monopoly game, or when you go out there and play hoops,” Condell said. “It just happens to be Hamilton, but he wants to do well at any game. It doesn’t matter who it is.”

Said Addison: “I played for them in the past, but it’s my second year here and I’m focused on helping the Ottawa Redblacks win the Grey Cup. On the other hand, I still know guys in their locker room, so obviously it’s going to be a little more high intensity, and some laughs after. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Asked if he was anxious to quickly get back on horse after the drops in Montreal, Addison spoke only from a team viewpoint.

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“It goes both ways, I think,” he said. “It’s one of those things where if you have a short week you love it, but if you have a long week, you’ve got a couple of days to think about it. Like ‘Why did we miss up here? Why did we mess up there? What could we have done better?’

“This time we got the long end of the stick, where we have four days off after a loss. It was time for us to really reflect and be able to see our mistakes and flush it. And then now we move on to Hamilton and you know, try to do everything positive in a way where we help ourselves get the win.”

Also coming off a disappointing performance is quarterback Dru Brown, who completed 21-of-35 passes for 292 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

But his group of veteran receivers, the acknowledged strength of the team, could have done more to help him.

“I don’t have any lack of faith in any of those guys, really,” Brown said. “Because at the end of the day, they are who they are. They’ve done what they’ve done for a number of years. Regardless of what happens, I still have faith in those guys.”

Addison in particular.

“He’s very gifted, you know, from a physical standpoint, and he’s very smooth,” Brown said. “And he’s got great hands. He’s got great body language, from a zone and man perspective and how you run things. He sees he sees what the coverage is, and that’s due to his experience and his coaching, but it’s also due to him listening and his desire to learn.

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“Our conversations are fun, to be able to talk about some adjustments that we can make. But he’s a perfect combination of someone who is extremely skilled physically, and then also, you know, isn’t satisfied with just that. He wants to take the next step and you know, be able to anticipate what what he may be able to do adjusting wise.”

Condell says similar things about Addison, along with predicting a bright future for him.

“He understands football,” Condell said. “He’s going to be a coach later. I’m going to be coaching for him.”

As for the here and now, practising against the Tiger-Cats defence every day the past few years should be at least a small advantage for Condell, right?

“I think it is just familiarity with with some of the things, but every game is different unto itself,” said Condell. “So it’s the same thing reversed on the other side. I know (Hamilton defensive coordinator) Mark (Washington) well and Mark knows of myself. We’re both friends and that kind of thing, so it turns into basically brothers playing Monopoly.”

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GOING DEEP

Sharrod Baltimore had more reps with the first team on Friday, which suggests he has won the battle for the vacant starting cornerback spot this week with Tarvarus McFadden, but before viewing film of that day’s practice Dyce said no such decision has been made. “They’ve both done a good job of jumping in and almost fitting in naturally,” Dyce said. “Once the player has the understanding and allows him to show his talents, and I think they both done that over the course of the three days … we’ll see how things end up.”  … Speaking of DeVonte Dedmon, the Redblacks outstanding return specialist, Dyce had a good one: “His understanding of time and space … I sound like a hockey coach …. his understanding of time and space is just amazing.”

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