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Rebuild? Nope, Ottawa Redblacks GM Marcel Desjardins expects success

There has been some head scratching and skepticism out there in RNation — some fans seem to think their CFL team is about to take a plunge down the standings.

A fair concern: How do you replace players like quarterback Trevor Harris, receivers Greg Ellingson and Diontae Spencer, running back William Powell and offensive lineman SirVincent Rogers, each a significant loss for the Ottawa Redblacks.

But general manager Marcel Desjardins is confident that once again the Redblacks, who finished with an 11-7 season in the 2018 regular season and advanced to the Grey Cup (losing 27-16 to the Calgary Stampeders), can find success. He says he’s not worried about a slow start or that his team might not be as talented as other CFL clubs.

“I think it would have worried me more if there had been some kind of stoppage — with the CBA and all of that — and we would have missed time,” said Desjardins, speaking during the opening day of the Redblacks’ rookie camp. “These guys will get all their work in. I don’t think it’s that big a deal. There are years when we’ve had proven guys and we still come out of the gate slow. I guess the flip side is other teams won’t know what to expect from us either.

“Yeah, the elements are different, maybe the approach will be a bit different. But at the end of the day, we fully expect to win our share of games — as we have in other years.”

The Redblacks have players in camp who had a year to adjust to their offensive schemes, plus adapt to Canadian rules. The team needs a receiver or two to step into giant holes created by the loss of Ellingson (free agent to Edmonton Eskimos) and Spencer (who will be in NFL camp with the Pittsburgh Steelers).

Said Desjardins: “On the offensive side, we’re talking about guys like Seth Coate, Dominique Rhymes and Noel Thomas to be the next RJ Harris type of guy who’ll be able to step up, assume a roll and run with it.”

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