While awaiting news of injured QB Jeremiah Masoli, the Rougenoirs must move on

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The coming hours and days could get even tougher for the winless Ottawa Redblacks, who could be looking at a long absence for starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli.

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The Redblacks may not know the status of Masoli, who was knocked to the ground on a cheap shot by Saskatchewan defensive lineman Garrett Marino in the Roughriders’ 28-13 victory Friday night in Regina , for a day or two while waiting to imagine results on what appeared to be a knee or leg injury. But Masoli had to be helped off the pitch and was later on crutches.

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So what’s next if Masoli is sidelined? Caleb Evans has been the backup quarterback since day one. Behind him are Tyrie Adams and newcomer Breylin Smith. Evans, who was in his second CFL season, was forced to start a year ago after injuries to Matt Nichols and Dominique Davis and looked good at times despite a disappointing distribution. If it’s a prolonged absence from Masoli, do the Rouge et Noir try to exchange for an experienced player, perhaps Montreal’s Vernon Adams? Others? Let the speculation begin.

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Let’s go back to the blow on Masoli. It will be interesting to see the reaction of the Canadian Football League, which aims to protect quarterbacks. There must be a suspension from Marino, who seems to be building a resume full of these things, but how long will that last? And, as the league considers what action it will take, it should also pay close attention to Marino’s theatrics — the bending, the posing, the chest-pounding — all the clownish stuff that doesn’t represent the organization. Roughriders and its proud fan base. There’s also this: If Marino was saying racist stuff, as has been alleged, there’s no way his teammates would want him back in the Riders locker room.

The league could also take a closer look at a hit by Ottawa offensive lineman Dino Boyd that injured CFL sack leader Pete Robertson of Saskatchewan, with reports suggesting it could be a hit. broken foot.

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Roughriders defensive lineman Garrett Marino struts to the locker room after being ejected from the game against the Redblacks on Friday night.
Roughriders defensive lineman Garrett Marino struts to the locker room after being ejected from the game against the Redblacks on Friday night. Photo by TROY FLEECE /Postmedia

The Rougenoirs were on a thousand levels of anger after Friday’s game. Wide receiver Nate Behar, knowing full well he could be fined by the CFL for speaking out, lashed out at Marino.

« That same dude talking s— at the bottom of a pile, that same dude that ran into one of the best quarterbacks, one of the best dudes in this league… I literally can’t believe what I ‘ve seen, » Behar said. “It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen. People are screaming and clapping for that?

It was a chippy game, with unpenalized dodgy hits back and forth. Behar said Marino kicked off the day before the game at a restaurant in Regina where the Redblacks were having dinner.

“He came and said crazy things to us, like it’s Friday Night Lights in Texas,” Behar said. “Grow up, brother. Nobody cares about you. He set this in motion at 7:30 p.m. (Thursday). I don’t care if we have to play them again. I’m sure they’ll all yelp and yelp… “Behar, you are this, Behar, you are that. I do not care. It’s bulls—, it’s absolutely bulls—.

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It will be difficult to go beyond another loss; the Rougenoirs’ record is 0-4. But, with or without Masoli, they must quickly move on and focus on next Friday’s game in Hamilton against the other 0-4 team in the league, the Ticats.

“I told the players our record is our record,” Redblacks head coach/offensive coordinator Paul LaPolice said. “We are 0-4, that’s what we are. We deserve it. We’re playing a team from the East next week, it’s a four point game. We have to find ways to improve ourselves and put ourselves in a position to be better. Stick together, confirm mistakes and improve. I believe in the people we have in this room.

Behar said he was « gonna hope we’re motivated as hell. You have a fire burning. I’m going to try to take the positive and say that we’re going to be pumped up to come and lay down the wood and make sure that no one can get their hands on us like that again. We’re going to make sure we do everything we can to make sure no one can come home (and hit the quarterback) – whether it’s cheap and sooner or later or whatever. We’re going to stay on our blocks until two whistles sound because this can’t happen again.

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While the offense racked up big yards in Games 1 and 2 of the season but scored just one touchdown in the 19-17 and 19-12 losses to Winnipeg, then scored three touchdowns in a 34-31 loss to British Columbia, there were some stumbles against a solid Saskatchewan defence. The attack just couldn’t get into much rhythm.

So what’s wrong?

« It’s on everyone, » Behar said. “When we were doing it right in the first quarter on that long drive, it was so easy, so effortless. You hit your six-yard outs, you hit your little drag routes, you get an eight-yard pop… It has to happen every time.

Ottawa’s defense gave up 181 rushing yards Friday, allowing Saskatchewan to dictate the pace of the game.

« It’s on me, » Redblacks center linebacker Avery Williams said. “Anytime they have a good running game, it’s on me. If they run the ball, linebacker MIKE has to stop them. Line D had five sacks, they played well. Put that on me.

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A large number of Redblacks and Roughriders players walked onto the playing surface after Ottawa quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was injured in the fourth quarter on Friday night.
A large number of Redblacks and Roughriders players walked onto the playing surface after Ottawa quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was injured in the fourth quarter on Friday night. Photo by TROY FLEECE /Regina Chief’s Post


Offense F: How can it be anything but a failure after scoring just 13 points and just one touchdown on a pass from Jeremiah Masoli to Nate Behar. Running back William Powell, in his second game since returning from an Achilles injury, had 58 yards on 11 carries. But Ottawa couldn’t do much. Masoli completed 19 of 27 passes for 210 yards. Caleb Evans, in relief after Masoli’s injury, completed two of six for 58 yards.

Defense C-: Really good stuff, like five sacks – two by Lorenzo Mauldin IV and one each by Davon Coleman, Tre Hornbuckle and Praise Martin-Oguike (who also had seven tackles). But Saskatchewan ran the ball down Ottawa’s throat. In his first start, Douglas Coleman had seven tackles. Adam Auclair, replacing linebacker Frankie Griffin, had six tackles.

Special Teams A: Lots to love. Lewis Ward kicked a few field goals. Richie Leone was blasting punts, averaging 52.2 yards (with a terrific net average of 48.8 yards).

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