Redblacks' Davis focused on 'finishing' the right way
OTTAWA — The Ottawa Redblacks are getting set to suit up one more time before closing out the most disappointing season in franchise history.
The Redblacks (3-14) enter Friday's game against visiting Montreal riding a 10-game losing streak, the longest of their six-year existence. With just one home win (1-7), Ottawa will look to avoid the poorest CFL home record since 2013 when Winnipeg and Edmonton were 1-8.
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After a predictably rough opening season as an expansion team in 2014, the Redblacks made the playoffs in four straight seasons, including a Grey Cup victory in 2016 and runner-up performances in 2015 and 2018.
They were initially considered playoff contenders in a weak East Division in 2019 despite losing several key players over the off-season. But after a 2-0 start, the losses started to pile up for the Redblacks, who are guaranteed to finish in last place in the East.
Getting a win won't be easy as the Alouettes (9-8) will be looking to snap a three-game road losing streak and finish with a winning record for the first time since 2012.
After having Will Arndt start at quarterback the last three games, the Redblacks will go back to Dominique Davis.
"We want to see Dominique play one more time at the end of the season," said Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell. "I'm glad he's healthy and gets one more chance at it."
Davis was given the starting job in training camp and while he got off to a solid start winning his first two games he struggled throughout the year and eventually found himself watching from the sidelines.
He finally got another chance Sept. 28 against Edmonton and looked good, but suffered an injury to his left arm late in the fourth quarter.
Now the 30-year-old is looking to use this last game as an opportunity to prove he's the guy that can get the job done next season.
"Every guy in our locker room believes in me," said Davis. "I feel like I can still right this ship. Every time I played we were pretty much in the game, we were just a few plays away. I'm going to let them know this is just my first year as a true starter and the best is yet to come and this is just going to make me better, not worse."
The Ottawa offence has allowed a league-high 50 turnovers along with the third most sacks this season (46) making Davis' job that much more difficult.
Players and coaches struggle to explain what exactly happened for everything to fall off the rails the way it has.
"It's one of those seasons," said veteran receiver Brad Sinopoli. "A lot of things came together at the right time to make us not win games and then at the end of the day we all need to look in the mirror and understand we weren't our best individually, which translates into not any wins.
"It was a tough year. It wasn't fun."
Campbell, who has one year left on his contract, was asked if he was worried about his job.
"I always am, sure I'm concerned about it," said Campbell. "I want to be here so of course I'm concerned."
The Redblacks will be getting some reinforcements for the season finale as defensive back Antoine Pruneau and running back John Crockett will return to the lineup.
Pruneau was injured Sept. 7 and was unsure whether he would be able to return this season, but says he was determined to get back into the lineup.
"It would have been easy for me to say there's no reason for me to get back out there and just focus on next season," said Pruneau. "I believe so strongly in this team and this organization and I wanted to show the fans that we're still working hard and we still want to win."
While the game is meaningless, as the Alouettes have second place in the East Division locked up, Montreal doesn't want to head into the playoffs with a loss against the worst team in the league.
The Alouettes take on the Edmonton Eskimos in the Eastern Semifinal next Sunday. Choosing rest over momentum could prove to be a difficult decision for Alouettes head coach Khari Jones.
MONTREAL (9-8-0) at OTTAWA (3-14-0)
Friday, TD Place Stadium
FORGET HOW TO WIN: The Redblacks haven't won since August 2 when they beat the Alouettes 30-27 in overtime
TIME TO SCORE: Montreal's defence does not have a touchdown this year – the first time in almost 50 years. The last time they had no defensive TDs was in 1970.
FOUR THOUSAND YARD MAN: Montreal QB Vernon Adams Jr. has a chance at his first 4,000 yard passing season as he needs 184 yards to reach the mark.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 31, 2019.