PATIENCE? Tough for fans to stay positive when Redblacks keep stumbling along
Linebacker Micah Awe's message to fans following yet another Redblacks loss was to hang in.
Linebacker Micah Awe is asking Ottawa Redblacks fans to be patient.
His message to fans following yet another loss (24-7 to Hamilton on Wednesday) — the team’s fifth straight this season and 11th straight at home dating back to July of 2019 — was to hang in.
“Just stay there, keep coming (to games), keep watching because we do have the right guys in the locker room,” he said in a media Zoom call minutes after the Redblacks had another bad outing, finishing the game with receiver Nate Behar as their quarterback after both Dominique Davis and Matt Nichols got injured. “We have the guys who not only want to be good and want to win, they are going to win. It’s just a matter of time.”
I will say this: Micah Awe is a good player. Micah Awe cares about winning football games. Micah Awe is a man of high character. Micah Awe is the kind of guy I’d want on my football team. I love his energy. I love his words. I love his positivity.
But for the team’s fans, it’s been a tough ride. This goes back to 2019, when the team won just three games. This goes beyond patience. Fans expect and deserve more. The players need to ignore the outside noise and buckle up their chinstraps. Work harder, look for improvement and consistency, and hope that success comes with it.
“It’s frustrating, it’s hard,” said Behar, who completed his only pass as he stepped behind centre as the emergency QB. “It’s one thing in university — playing at Carleton in 2014, we went 0-8. That’s hard because you’re getting your butt kicked. Here, we’re grown men getting paid to play. It’s difficult to be high-fiving and be full of joy all the time because it sucks, losing is horrible.”
For the sixth straight game, the Redblacks struggled to generate and sustain drives; scoring points remains an issue. Through six games, the Redblacks have scored just five offensive touchdowns. Davis has thrown six touchdown passes, problem is three of them have been to defenders. Nichols has not thrown a touchdown pass all season. On a rainy Wednesday — the wetness does count for something — Davis completed 6-of-14 passes for 50 yards, with an interception that went the other way for a touchdown. Nichols completed 7-of-10 for 68 yards. That’s 118 yards passing between your No. 1 and 2 quarterbacks. Unacceptable.
Looking for a scapegoat, critics point the finger at general manager Marcel Desjardins. That’s the world we live in, there’s always somebody to blame. An FYI: Signings are usually a co-operative effort between the football ops folks and coaches.
As much as I respect Micah Awe — when you hear him talk, you want to follow him, you want to believe — I’m more of the thought, “OK, go prove it, win some games.”
As we learn more about the injury status of Nichols (wrist/hand) and Davis (hamstring) over the next few days leading into Tuesday’s home date with the Edmonton Elks, fans are already hollering for the team to start their latest signing — former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Duck Hodges. First, the guy hasn’t finished his week-long quarantine and he may not practise with the team until after Tuesday’s game. It seems unlikely we will get a look at him next week or the week after or the week after that. Give the guy some time. He’ll get a chance. More likely, we soon get a look at either Caleb Evans or Taryn Christion — maybe we’ll see both of the rookies.
People talk about the team going into full rebuild mode — right now. That’s insanity. As far fetched as it may seem given their one win, the Redblacks are not yet out of reach of a playoff position. As they get ready to face the Elks, the only team they’ve beaten this season, they’ll hope their offence can give the fans something to cheer about with touchdowns.
“It’s a challenge to us,” said Awe. “I’ve been on really good defences and I’ve been on really bad defences — this is a really good defence and it’s our challenge to be even that much better. Sometimes you need to help your brother out, sometimes you need to help your sister out, they might need a little extra push. Once you give them that encouragement and once you give them that hope, one day they’re helping you out. We just have to put it all together. (The defence will) control our one-third of the football game; I trust the (offence), the season is not nearly over.
“I read the media — that’s part of being a football player, you want to know what people are saying. A lot of people don’t believe in us at all. I believe in my teammates on defence, I believe in our offence, I truly, truly believe in our special teams. It’s going to be amazing when we put it all together, really amazing.”
I hope it happens. I want to believe. I’m just not betting the house on it.