With a distracting hour in the background – with no agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement between the CFL and its players’ association – the Ottawa Redblacks were waiting to see if they could open a full training camp on Sunday at TD Place.
A proposal from the CFL was rejected by the CFLPA on Saturday afternoon, leaving what happens next in doubt. The final CFL show for fans and players has been shared by Commissioner Randy Ambrosie. Among the highlights: contracts partially guaranteed when veterans re-sign, increases to the league’s minimum salary (to $70,000 in 2023 and $75,000 in 2027), each roster will have at least six Canadian players (the seventh can be either Canadian ) or a nationalized American — a non-quarterback player who has been in the league for at least four years or has played with the same team for three years), the Canadian QB who began to be considered a citizen, plus 25 percent of revenue growth to be added to the salary cap in 2023.
As of Saturday night, there was no word on whether the players would report to camp on time. After three days of novice camp, veterans, including many newcomers, may hit the field after getting body measurements on Saturday. Of course they may not.
Unlike last season – where teams were more cautious due to the COVID-19 pandemic – fans are welcome at TD Place to watch practice from the stands on the north side (Sunday practice may be delayed). If everything goes ahead as planned, a week of rehearsals will lead to the Fan Festival next Saturday (May 21), from 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
The Redblacks are looking to put two disastrous seasons behind them. With three wins and 15 losses in 2019 and three wins and 11 losses in 2021 besieging a lost COVID season, it’s hard to imagine there’s anywhere else to go. How do you get people to stop talking about being a bad soccer team? it is easy. Win soccer matches.
“I try not to look too far into the past – whether it was a winning season or a losing season,” said Paul Lapolis, entering his second season as an offensive coach/coordinator for the Redblacks. “I am excited to play football again. The past is the past. The best part of our job is that every year is a brand new year. We haven’t all lost – we haven’t lost a game and haven’t won a game yet, either.”
“What happened here last year is that a lot of players got chances when they might not know the league well or maybe they weren’t quite ready,” said Redplex general manager Sean Burke. “I am definitely excited to see some players come to their second training camp. Expectations will rise for them, they are no longer beginners.”
Boot camp is a gathering of old and new faces, trying to get them to work together. It will definitely be a lot different than last year’s camp, which was postponed until July.
“Obviously the biggest difference is the COVID protocols and everything,” Lapolis said. The trainers were quarantined for seven days and we couldn’t see them until the day before camp. Obviously being able to spend time with the coaches was a welcome change.”
On going out with the old and the new, Lapolis said: “Maybe there are 28 new guys here who have some experience in the CFL. We talked in our staff meeting that one of the most important things we have to do is get these guys to understand what we want and what we think are winning games. Canadian Football League We have to make this group grow together, they want to be together and they don’t want to leave the building. We have to start building those relationships as soon as possible. We want to create an environment where these people come together as a team as quickly as possible. Maybe “.
The most notable free agent brought in was midfielder Jeremiah Masoli, the Eastern Conference’s most decorated player in 2018. With some injuries strewn with injuries, he has struggled at times with consistency and hasn’t reached that level of play since. But, with great signings up front and at the receiving end of the Redblacks, this could be a springboard for the 33-year-old midfielder.
“We know Jeremiah has talent, we know he has tools,” Lapolis said. “We’ve added things he’s been successful at in Hamilton into our system. Now we have to figure out what he does best – within his stuff and ours. I have a note on my tablet: ‘How fast can we get Jeremiah Masoli to control our attack?'” Everyone said a lot of great things about this. Man, how great a teammate he is, and how hardworking he is. We had great conversations. Comes as advertised.”
The only thing that should raise the quality of the team is that there is a much higher level of competition – there will be a sense of urgency with players pushing each other for places on the roster.
“The competition will always lift everyone up,” Burke said. “It’s one of the first words I had with Coach Lapolis. The constant competition in training camp and practice lifts you up – you’re more prepared to play on match day. Guys who want to be great pros, I think they’ll accept this competition and they’ll be in it. That will make everyone better collectively It’s something we focused on during the free agency. We also have some good guys coming in to pay those veterans. It’s supposed to have to do with younger guys trying to take on those veteran jobs and veteran players saying, ‘Young man, you’re not quite ready to take my job. distance.” “
After the pre-season games against Toronto on May 27 (at home) and in Montreal on June 3, the Redblacks will open their regular season with two nearly tougher matches – against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, twice defending Gray. Champions Cup. They are in Winnipeg on June 10 and the teams will play at TD Place on June 17.
“They immediately threw us into the fire,” Lapolis said. “We will be ready to play, we have a plan to play.