Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Redblacks look to impress in pre-season finale with roster spots on the line

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“I guess I don’t necessarily think about it like this,” said Dyce. “Really, when I’m looking at them I’m evaluating the whole thing and I really want to see and make sure that everybody who’s performing out there is playing at the level that we expect … and they’re playing to the standards that we expect.”

Dyce said they will be keeping an eye out for anyone who might raise their game and make any final decisions that much tougher.

Ottawa fans will get their first look at quarterback Dru Brown, acquired and signed in the off-season, and free agent linebacker Adarius Pickett. Returning familiar faces include receivers Jaelon Acklin and Justin Hardy, defensive end Alonzo Mauldin IV and defensive lineman Cleyon Laing.

With a Week 1 bye this will be a bit of a final dress rehearsal for the Redblacks in preparation for their June 13th season opener against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Brown’s former team.

The 27-year-old is well aware of the high expectations in Ottawa, as the Redblacks have won a total of just 14 games over the past four years.

“I think that there’s expectations all the time,” said Brown. “You know, you play this position your whole life, there’s always expectations. To be honest, I don’t take much I don’t have much of that in my head personally.

“Really, I want to I want to go out there and compete and show these guys, you know, here that I’m a competitor that I execute at a high level and from that stems their belief in me.”

Brown played last weekend and was 4-for-6 for 26 yards in limited playing time, but Friday he’ll have some veteran targets in his sights.

“I think in practice, we’ve gotten better and better each day” Brown said. “But tomorrow there’s going to be different things that we haven’t seen and that’s OK.

“It’s going to be great to see how we react to those things, how we communicate in order to make adjustments or execute moving forward.”

Since the start of training camp Dyce has asked for his team to commit to the finer details and Friday’s game should give him a good idea of how well the players able to put them into action.

“We just want to make sure we’re focused on ourselves and taking care of the details,” Dyce said. “We need to know that we can so that we continue moving forward towards our goals of being a very good football team.”

Pickett believes the Redblacks were a much better team than their 4-14 season last year indicated and is confident that with the work done through training camp will pay off.

“I think it comes down to what we’re doing right now,” said Pickett. “Executing in practice and just coming out with a belief mindset and knowing that I think today we can win and we should dominate. That all starts in training camp, the meeting rooms and then the game and throughout the week.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 30, 2024.

Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press

<!– Photo: 571a474d-cfc8-4b38-b2fc-c0a6edfa7948.jpg, Caption:

Ottawa Redblacks head coach Bob Dyce hopes he’ll have to make some tough decisions heading into the CFL season. Dyce watches his team take on the Saskatchewan Roughriders in second half CFL football action in Ottawa on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

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