RedBlack's GM talks expansion draft

If they could talk, the Three Stooges football bobbleheads overlooking Marcel Desjardins’ work station might reveal the Ottawa REDBLACKS general manager’s plans for the Canadian Football League expansion draft.

Since the bobbleheads are mute, though, observers are left to sort through written and verbal chatter from every Larry, Moe and Curly.

Desjardins calls some of it “get a grip? speculation, more fancy than fact.

“It’s comical. You have to laugh about it,? he said Wednesday. “But there are some smart people out there, too, and they know what they’re looking at.?

The Dec. 16 expansion draft will provide the REDBLACKS with three players from each of eight other CFL teams. It’s the most crucial step in building the team for 2014, but not the only one involved in laying its foundation.

Already under way, scouting of Canadian and U.S. college and university players will lead into next spring’s CFL draft, where the REDBLACKS have eight picks to add to four players selected in 2013.

Late-October tryout camps for free-agent pros not on 2013 CFL rosters attracted 117 (Texas) and 97 (Florida) players, and Desjardins said the first signings could be announced within days of the Nov. 24 Grey Cup Game at Regina.

The other important piece of the puzzle is hiring the first head coach, Desjardins said in an interview at the team’s temporary home in an Industrial Road office complex.

Some interviews have already been conducted, and others have been arranged. Additional candidates may come from the four teams still in the CFL playoffs.

The goal is to make a hiring before the expansion draft.

“That would be a perfect scenario for us,? Desjardins said. “However, we are not going to compromise that process just to meet a deadline. We are going to make sure we find the right person. If that means the coach decision rolls into late December or early January, then that will have to be the case.?

One point Desjardins made firmly was that the first REDBLACKS head coach would have CFL experience as at least an offensive or defensive co-ordinator.

Presumably the successful candidate will be familiar with CFL rules, stipulations of the collective agreement between the league and players’ association and what’s involved in setting up training camp.

“Here we are going into our inaugural season, and there are going to be so many diffent elements that need to be addressed,? said Desjardins, who was hired as the new team’s first general manager in January after stints as Montreal Alouettes assistant GM and, before that, GM of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

“The last thing I should have to do is babysit a head coach relative to educating them on a lot of those elements.?

It would also be nice to have the coach’s input for the expansion draft, rules for which are both better and more restrictive than they were for the Ottawa Renegades franchise in 2002.

Complicating this expansion draft is looming free agency for dozens of CFLers.

Last February, each team had between 11 and 17 free agents from its roster of 46. While Desjardins expects a similar number this winter, various reports have pegged the number of pending Winnipeg Blue Bombers free agents, for example, at a mind-bending 22.

Widely accepted thinking is that the REDBLACKS will shy away from drafting players who can become free agents on Feb. 15, and Desjardins concedes that will be so unless there are no other options.

The highlight picks of the first round will be the two quarterbacks, and Desjardins has a couple of unnamed current CFLers in mind.

“It doesn’t mean it won’t change between now and then, but there are very few variables at that position in terms of who is available and factoring in who is not going to be a free agent,? he said.

“If there is one position where we are not going to pick a (free agent), it’s the quarterback position because we need that certainty for sure.?

so, if they are staying away from free agents, i guess that leaves Burris, Glenn and Collaros off their list.

Brian Williams was at Lansdowne this past monday filming a TSN segment with RedBlack's owner, Jeff Hunt. hopefully it will air this sunday.

And also Willey in Sask.

It has been written on a few occasions,by me and others, Kevin Glenn is not a potential free agent; he is signed through the 2014 season.

if that's the case, they've got to pick Kevin Glenn. he's proven he's able to win games in this league season after season.

any other pick is a gamble, IMO.
any other back-up QB may not be able to win more than 3. if that's the case, they've screwed themselves bigtime.

a new team in a city that has lost it's team twice in the past cannot afford to gamble. it needs a 'sure thing', or risk losing fans before they get any.

pick Glenn, then the next best available non-FA QB ( demarco, marsh etc ), then sign a FA QB ( willy, collaros etc ).
this strategy, IMO, gives the RedBlacks a legit starting QB out of the gate, plus a couple QBs to groom for the future.

There are a number of factors that make Glenn a doubtful pick.

  1. There is a very good chance that Ottawa will pick a kicker from Calgary. leaving Glenn out of the picture.
  2. I think the two quarterbacks that Ottawa will pick will be with a view two to three years down the road, not immediately and there will be several choices for the mentoring role, including Glenn assuming Calgary will be moving Mitchell up in the depth chart.
  3. With so many potentially good young quarterbacks in the mix, I don't think that Ottawa will be looking for a short term guy.

I have said all along that if the medical advise is that he is sound. Matt Nichols will be one of Ottawa's picks. He has the tools and is a guy that would be popular with the fans. There is no chance that Ottawa picks an Edmonton kicker. :lol: :lol:

I do think that Ottawa will pick/select 2 QBs in the upcoming expansion draft; I say: Kevin Glenn of Calgary and Tanner Marsh of Montreal.


I understand the need for a kicker, and Calgary has them. But Glenn is probably the most underrated QB the league has had the last 4 years, at least since I have been paying attention.

Is a proven QB not more important then a kicker? Who is more likely to be the leader on the team, the kicker or the QB? Also, I realize the kicker can most definitely affect the out come of the game, but I feel like the QB would have more of a chance to do so seeing how they are on the field more often.

The worst thing that Ottawa can do is get into a situation like Winnipeg. That would utterly destroy any momentum they could get with this draft, if they go with unproven QB's.

Anyway, my two cents, and I readily admit I may be missing a key point to this.

I don't think that with Nichols unfortunate injury history the past 2 years that the RB's will draft him,I think that with Joseph finally packing it in and retiring,the Esks will keep Nichols(if healthy)as back-up to Reilly,or if he is still deemed damaged goods will most likely release him outright.Just a hunch here,but don't be surprised if he doesn't end up in the Peg as one of their new Q.B's.The Bombers in all likelihood will only bring Max Hall back and release both Goltz and Boltus in the off-season.My guess is that Collaros will be dealt to the B.B.'s so the RB's can't draft him.What worries me though is that no one is talking about LeFevour being drafted,and the RB's surprising everyone and stealing him away from the Cats if not protected by them.I've gotten some flack for this,but I've said that the Cats best move would be to leave Burris unprotected and protect LeFevour. Hank is closing in on 40 and I really can't see the RB's drafting him for an expansion team,as there's clearly no future in it for them.I feel it would be worth the gamble and in the long run would insure the Cats keep them both.Either way you look at it though with all the good young up and coming Q.B's in the league the R.B's should end up with 2 quality players at that position.It's going to very interesting watching the wheeling and dealing amongst the 8 established teams between the end of the season and start of the draft.

No one talks about lefevour because we never see him pass the ball. Hard to know how accurate he is and how quickly he can make the proper reads when all he does is run.

True enough!!!! So you think,he won't be drafted then???? I hope your right there drummer.The thing is though is that the Cats have currently on the team a total of 5 Q.B's....3 on the active(Burris,LeFevour,Masoli)and 2 on injured reserve
(Brohm,McGee)So at least Austin has some wiggle room,just in case something happens.I'm just a little concerned that LeFevour is flying under the radar,and the RB's being expansion,no telling what they could be thinking,and surprise everyone with who they pick.

Like I said, it depends on what the medical advice is for Nichols. Esks would I'm sure like to keep both Nichols and Reilly but they have to leave one unprotected so it is really up to Ottawa, not Edmonton.

Glenn signed a restructured contract with Calgary in January 2012. It may have been a one or two year deal, no body is saying for sure.
But you could be right about Ottawa picking from Calgary and Montreal. They are two teams that have more quality Canadian depth. So say Ottawa takes Tate or Glenn from Calgary, their number nine rated Canadian would be much better than a similar pick from Edmonton or Winnipeg. The would still get a pretty good player from the Als at number nine as well.

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A couple of hours after the Saskatchewan Roughriders hoisted the Grey Cup, more than 2,600 km away from Regina’s big green bender, the Ottawa RedBlacks were open for business.

Part of that business is hiring the team’s first coach; the other part is putting together a roster. When the clock struck midnight, the RedBlacks officially joined the CFL and became eligible to sign players. Expect those signings to begin this week.

The RedBlacks will continue to interview coaches this week and probably next. While RedBlacks GM Marcel Desjardins won’t discuss any specific candidates, two of the guys who have been talked about — Argos defensive co-ordinator Chris Jones (who is rumoured to be joining Edmonton as head coach) and Stampeders offensive co-ordinator Dave Dickenson (who it appears will stay in Calgary) — are not on their shortlist. While it’s not necessary that a coach be in place in time for the CFL expansion draft on Dec. 16, it’s certainly something the GM would like to have.

“We’re trying to get as much done as we can in a tight window,? said Desjardins. “We’re doing this as efficiently as possible.?

Desjardins said player signings are on the frontburner.

“There will probably be some announcements this week, maybe 5 to 10 players,? said Desjardins. “We’ve taken a look at guys at tryout camps. If we think they can come in and compete for roster spots, we’re looking to sign them.

“We have guys who have agreed to stuff already. It’s just a matter of getting all the proper paperwork finished off. We’re looking at guys with different degrees of experience. There will be some guys with NFL experience, some with a CFL background and with some, it’s just NCAA.?

Not specific to the expansion draft, but some guy on Twitter yesterday congratulated a cornerback named Jerrell Gavins for becoming a RedBlack. This guy had the same last name, so presumably a family member.

Nothing announced, but shouldn't be long, if it's accurate.

Ottawa won't be drafting Zach Collaros because he is a free agent and they won't be drafting Henry Burris, not because he is 38, but because he is a free agent. Most teams did not resign or extend their players that were in their option year for the obvious reason Ottawa will shy away from drafting a player who could become a free agent in February. After the draft the GM's will be pushing hard to resign these free agents before the February deadline. But I would hope that the player agents will hold off resigning many of their clients and give Ottawa a chance to better some of the offers that will be coming December 17th. Ottawa is not going to be able to pick very many if any current 2013 Canadian starters. The only thing better for Ottawa this time around is that the teams can't hide all the QB's and the rookie Canadians. The last draft the other eight teams could protect two QB's and first year Canadians were exempt.

The Cfl has spent a lot of time and money on expanding then folding Ottawa. I really hope they can make this franchise stick this time around

The problem has never been Ottawa's fanbase. In fact, for a franchise that has won very little on the field in the past 30 years, they've had a very loyal base. It's been terrible ownership each and every time. This time around, the ownership is solid. I think it will work this time.

We all remember the Glieberman fiasco. Reminded me of the XFL.

And many of us went through it twice. :thdn:

Every team has dry spells, or whatever you want to call it, but with both the Renegades and Rough Riders, the problem became that there was no reason to think that it would ever improve. Incompetents were being hired, then promoted, owners were clowns or didn't care...

OSEG has done nothing but inspire confidence (with perhaps the name as the only exception). As a result, they have about 12,000 seats sold, which is probably pretty close to the Renegades 4-year total. Everything they say or do is positive. The preview center is gorgeous and the staff is bright and knowledgeable.

There are still the occasional "they won't last five years" comments. But those people used to say that they wouldn't last two years. :wink:

Maybe after five they'll change their tune to ten.