Tough de­ci­sions ahead for Red­blacks after play­off de­feat

Truro Daily News - - Sports -

The dis­ap­point­ment of los­ing the East semi­fi­nal hadn’t worn off as Ot­tawa Red­blacks play­ers and staff pre­pared to go their own ways Tues­day.

The de­fend­ing Grey Cup cham­pion’s sea­son came to an end Sun­day af­ter­noon in a 31-20 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers, and they were still strug­gling with how things fin­ished.

“It’s a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ing that our worst game of the year was played at the most im­por­tant time,” said Red­blacks gen­eral man­ager Mar­cel Des­jardins. “You”e got to give the op­po­si­tion some credit, but we made too many mis­takes. We weren’t on point enough and now it’s up to us to cor­rect this and get this go­ing back in the right di­rec­tion.”

Fig­ur­ing out what di­rec­tion to take won’t be an easy one for Des­jardins. A num­ber of key play­ers are look­ing for new con­tracts, most no­tably quar­ter­back Trevor Har­ris.

De­spite post­ing some im­pres­sive num­bers this sea­son, many ques­tions re­main re­gard­ing Har­ris.

The 30-year-old threw for 4,679 yards, fourth best in the league and just 21 yards be­hind Calgary’s Bo Levi Mitchell who played two more games. Har­ris had 30 touch­downs, ty­ing him for first with Ed­mon­ton’s Mike Reilly, who played three more games.

But he missed three games due to in­jury and was picked off five times over his past two games, in­clud­ing twice in the East semi­fi­nal.

“It’s a tough one for me to swal­low per­son­ally,” said Har­ris. “As some of you guys know I’m a bit of a sore loser, but I’ve been told if you show me a good loser I’ll show you a loser.

“It’s dis­ap­point­ing, it’s tough when you pour that much into a sea­son and you come up short of your main goal.”

Har­ris, com­ing off a two-year deal, said he wants to come back, but the ques­tion re­mains whether or not he fits into the Red­blacks’ plans.

Des­jardins was non-com­mit­tal when asked how he would rate Ot­tawa’s quar­ter­back po­si­tion.

“I think it was good, it wasn’t great,” Des­jardins said. “Stats are one thing. Trevor did a lot of great things for us and the stats cer­tainly re­flect that, but at the end of the day our record was what it was and we weren’t able to ob­vi­ously win the cru­cial game last week­end so it needs to be bet­ter. I think he’s the first one to ac­knowl­edge that and know there’s still room for im­prove­ment.”

Des­jardins did say the Red­blacks would like to re-sign Har­ris, but “let’s just hope that the num­bers can work that way.”

In ad­di­tion to Har­ris the Red­blacks will need to make de­ci­sions on re­ceivers Brad Si­nop­oli and Dion­tae Spencer as well as run­ning back Wil­liam Pow­ell.

Si­nop­oli sur­passed the 1,000yard re­ceiv­ing mark for the third straight year with the Red­blacks, while Spencer emerged later in the sea­son. Both could be of help to Ot­tawa.

Pow­ell, once fully re­cov­ered from an Achilles in­jury, proved he can be ex­tremely ef­fec­tive. In just 12 games he had 1,026 yards on 173 car­ries, good for sec­ond in the league. Yet he had just eight car­ries in Sun­day’s loss, run­ning for 50 yards.

While much will be made of the Red­blacks of­fen­sive strug­gles, the de­fence had its fair share of short­com­ings. The Red­blacks need im­prove­ment on their pass rush, and a vet­eran pres­ence on de­fence would be ben­e­fi­cial.

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