Friday, July 19, 2024

Redblacks QB Tyrie Adams ready if needed on Thursday

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After needing to rely on a training camp fourth-stringer to quarterback the team through most of 2023, the Redblacks now have some QB depth.

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After needing to rely on a training camp fourth-stringer to quarterback the team through most of 2023, the Redblacks now appear to have some enviable depth at the position.

There’s Dru Brown, who is being paid to be the starter and indicated he’s worthy of the role in leading the team to a season-opening win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the West Division representative in the Grey Cup for four years running.

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There’s Dustin Crum, the above-mentioned fourth-stringer, who went from 0-to-14 in number of career starts last season and made large strides of improvement along the way.

And now there’s Tyrie Adams, who has the most raw talent of the bunch and ultimately could become the best option out of the team’s quarterback room.

Oh yes, that room also contains Jeremiah Masoli, the most accomplished of all Ottawa QBs, who has been limited by injuries to just five games since signing with the team as a free agent in 2022.

Whether or not he plays another game for the Redblacks, Masoli offers a wealth of knowledge, experience and leadership to sprinkle over the other three.

Meanwhile, you might remember that the 27-year old Adams was the team’s third-stringer in 2022 and until Week 4 in 2023, when he got his first career start against the Edmonton Elks.

In that June 30 game at TD Place, he completed 14 of 20 pass attempts for 185 yards and a TD, while adding three carries for 31 yards in the 26-7 Ottawa victory.

Most impressively, Adams finished what he started despite suffering a season-ending torn ACL that night.

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The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder out of Western Carolina started 2024 on the one-game injured reserve, just so he could have an extra week to get comfortable with his repaired knee.

Now he’s back to practising in full and, barring the unforeseen, will dress as a backup for the Redblacks’ game Thursday in Montreal.

“Man, I feel good,” said Adams. “With these guys in the locker room, they make it easy for me to just come back into the flow of things, go right what my teammates are going. In all honesty, the quarterback room that we have, we’ve got vets, guys that are experienced, and obviously with the addition of Dru, it just makes it that much better from a learning aspect, from a working aspect.

“Everyone works, and we’re all on the same page. It just feels great to be back out there with guys.”

The road back from the injury was just over 11 months long.

For Adams, as well as others who have found themselves in a similar position, it was not as straightforward as people figure.

“Everyone thinks it’s just the physical part, but you’ve got to put all components into it, the mental, emotional and physical, when coming back from an injury like that,” said Redblacks head coach Bob Dyce. “And Tyrie seems to have a great comfort level now and so I think you more than likely see him on the roster this week.”

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Adams does not dwell on the hurdles he has had to clear.

“I’m a very, very positive guy,” he said. “So I like to say the biggest down for me was just finding out that I wasn’t participating in training camp. Other than that, the past year for me has been 100 percent work, 100 percent rehab, and I think it’s showing now. I think is showing from the rehab that I have been doing during the off-season to coming back to playing now.

“I think it’s not only showing, my teammates, my coaches and even the front office guys, but it’s also showing my own body. It’s showing me that I am confident on my knee, with or without a brace, and the more confident I get with the brace the more confident I’ll be without one.”

Along with having a strong arm that has been helped him connect on 31 of 49 passes (63.3%) in the CFL, Adams is quick and elusive on his feet.

In nine career games, he has carried the ball 11 times for 81 yards.

His running ability was an asset when last we saw him.

Will it continue to be the next time he gets into a game?

“I’d be lying if I said I felt 100 percent the same,” he said. “But s—, 99% the same? I’m right there with it. Running around today, in my first true practice, and I’m just going up against some of the defence, and being able to pull the ball down and run with when the throw is not there. Not only that, but being able to react to a defence that’s actually coming at me, and what moves I would do if it was a game like situation, it felt so good. I can’t wait to go out and do it again tomorrow.”

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But could he do it against the Alouettes on Thursday if, for some reason, he was forced into action?

“If I’m being honest with you, that is the reason why I went on the one game,” said Adams. “I would have been able to suit up as the No. 3 quarterback in an emergency but I needed one extra week just to really feel myself with my brace on because I wasn’t getting adjusted to my brace as fast as I would like. That kind of threw off some of my running motions and on my drop back, stuff like that.

“I told I told (GM Shawn Burke), I said, I’m going on one game because by next week, I feel like if something did happen, I’m not only stepping in as a No. 3 quarterback, but I’m stepping in because I know for a fact I will feel 100% If I have to play.’

In the meantime, Adams is just happy to be part of a winning team in Ottawa.

“It was amazing,” he said of the victory over Winnipeg, which ended close to 11:30 p.m. after a delay caused by lightning. “I’m smiling right now because I’m still thinking about what I did after the game. Nahh, I went to sleep I went … I had to go to sleep because everything was closed by the time the game was over.

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“It was a great, great team win, and I think that’s showing exactly where the 2024 Redblacks are headed. It’s a team sport, and we’re showing that we’re playing team football. Our camaraderie is great. I feel like our relationships, as far as being like a band of brothers, is just growing day by day. As far as calling each other brothers, calling each other family, I think this is the most close knit team I’ve been a part of.”

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GOING DEEP

WR Dominique Rhymes is giving as he receives with a “Touchdown for Kids” initiative, donating $25 for every catch he makes and $200 for every touchdown he scores to the OSEG Legacy Project. The project’s goal is to help Ottawa kids experience the power of sports and play to achieve their full potential. Rhymes is asking Redblacks fans to join him in the initiative. “I just want to give back to the community,” said the 30-year old Rhymes, who is back for a second stint with the Redblacks but continued to make Ottawa his full time home even when he played for the B.C. Lions in between. “I was a youth at one time, and sometimes I needed  help if I wanted to play sports. I know sports can be such an impactful thing, so just being able to give back means a lot to me.” Applications for the Legacy Project are being accepted until July 20, with the successful applicant granted up to $100,000 towards the completion of their positive impact project. Ottawa fans will get the chance to vote for their choice among the top five projects, with the winner being announced on Sept. 7 at TD Place. Visit the Redblacks website for more information … In case you’re looking for the Redblacks this week, the Escapades Music Festival at TD Place on Friday has bumped their practices to Carleton University. They are open to the public … The long-term forecast shows only a “risk of thunderstorms” for the game in Montreal on Thursday.

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