As the Ottawa Redblacks prepare for the final preseason game in Montreal on Friday night, the starters at many positions have taken the back seat, and the backups are getting the majority of the reps. It’s expected that Jeremiah Masoli won’t get any game time, meaning Caleb Evans, Tyrie Adams, and David Moore will be responsible for the Redblacks’ offence.
Last week, Adams got on the field to end the game, completing six of his nine passes for 68 yards and a touchdown, but also threw an interception that Jamal Peters took back for a touchdown on his first pass of the game. Fortunately for Adams, he was able to put the interception behind him and lead the Redblacks on a couple of critical drives to win the game.
“You just don’t make the same mistake twice,” Adams said. “Keep playing, keep having fun, and keep having faith in your guys. It’s part of the game, you are going to have some turnovers, but you want to limit them as much as you can. I’m glad I got it out of my system early, I don’t plan on having any more of those.”
“After watching the film, there are obviously some things to correct, but that’s a good thing. It’s always a good thing to have something to correct, because if you don’t think you can correct anything, then you feel like you played a perfect game. That just doesn’t happen.”
“I was just getting comfortable with it,” Adams continued. “I didn’t really have nerves coming into it or anything like that, and I was kinda questioning it in my head asking why I don’t have butterflies, but at the end of the day, you’re just going to play football again. It’s a different system, but I feel pretty confident with it, so I can almost just go out there and play instead of thinking.”
While Adams had a chance to shake off the rust and get into some live game action, Moore didn’t have that opportunity. Since getting to college, Moore hasn’t played much football outside of a season in 2018 when he played junior college. Moore’s college career was ended when he was suspended by the NCAA for a banned substance, but Central Michigan University believes “use of an over-the-counter nutritional supplement as the likely cause of the positive test result.” Now, that’s all behind him, and he’s ready to finally hit the field again.
“It’s just pure excitement,” said Moore. “We’ve been doing a lot of preparing, and in a great quarterback room with great coaches and teammates to help. I’m just waiting on my opportunity, and I’m really excited to show them what I can do in live-action.”
Even without game action under his belt for some time, Moore says that he prepared when he is eventually called on to come into the game.
“Heck yeah, 100 percent, for sure,” Moore said adamantly. “We have meetings all day, so we spend a lot of time preparing. Being around Jeremiah Masoli who is a 10-year veteran, Caleb Evans coming off that experience with this offence last year, and even Adams as a closer peer who I can feed off of, we’ve done a lot of preparing. There’s no excuse at all, I should go out and have a great game.”
With only two preseason games on the schedule, and Moore not taking any reps in the first game, a trip to Montreal is the only chance he will have to prove himself in game action. Although he has had practice reps, Moore isn’t downplaying the importance of this game.
“Honestly, I look at every day like that,” Moore said. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was a big deal, anyone can appreciate that. It’s just like anything, you don’t get too many opportunities to make a first impression, so I’m looking forward to showing what I can do. It’s been a little while for me, so it’s going to be fun, I’m just looking forward to playing.”
Moore comes into training camp in a very similar situation as Caleb Evans did in 2021, looking for a practice roster spot with a handful of veterans ahead of him. Last season, things went wrong, and Evans needed to start games halfway through the season. Although no one wants to see that again, Moore understands that it is a possibility that he may need to play games, and he has drawn on Evans to help prepare himself for that.
“As a football player playing professional football, obviously you don’t want anything to happen to anybody, ever,” Moore said. “We go to war for these guys and love everybody, but you know you could potentially play. Caleb Evans is my roommate, were staying at the dorms together. We’ve had tonnes of conversations about that, talking about mindset and how his mindset changed from last year to this year.”
“Just as a friend, as well, we joke around a tonne and he kinda takes the weight off of things,” he continued. “Coming out here, I don’t know too many people, and it’s been really cool for him to take me under his wing a bit and not have any animosity in the QB room.”
The quarterback room doesn’t have any animosity because all four guys have grown close, and are friends off the field. Moore is in direct competition with Adams, but the two have a friendship that goes back to their days in college, and that has helped cool down what could have otherwise been a heated competition.
“Adams and I have been connected for numerous years, and I had a respect for his game before when he was in college,” Moore said. “Just coming here, we’re in direct competition with each other, but I think we’re both really mature people, we’ve both been through adversity in the past, and we really just root for each other.”
“It’s the best feeling ever. I’ve been in quarterback’s rooms before where there is animosity for obvious reasons, but there’s none of that here.”
Adams, on the other hand, has the advantage of previous game time. He says that there weren’t any nerves, consistent with how he has felt in training camp, and the quarterback’s room is one of the reasons.
“I don’t know why I’m not having butterflies,” Adams said. “Maybe it’s just my teammates. It feels like home, and it feels like I’m supposed to be here.”
That game action allowed Adams to fire off a deep pass, and after playing arena football where he needed to be cautious on deep balls to not throw the ball out of bounds, even from his own goal line, he says it feels good to finally be able to let one go again.
“It was pretty exciting to be able to let it go again after playing in the indoor league and only being able to throw about 50 yards,” Adams said. “It felt pretty good to just be able to unleash one and go deep. I haven’t been able to put my full arm into it yet, but I think that once I’m able to, it’s going to be a pretty good feeling.”
While Adams did throw a deep ball intended for Brandon Arconado about 40 or 50 yards down the field that was just off the receiver’s fingertips, that’s not the furthest he could throw it when needed.
“I think I have a good 70 yards in me, maybe a little bit more,” Adams said.
Whether or not we will see Adams make a 70-yard throw in Montreal on Friday night, he feels prepared to take the field for the second time as a quarterback in the CFL.
“The expectations are to go have fun and win,” Adams said. “People think quarterback is the big job, but when you think about it, all we have to do is distribute the ball to the athletes. I can throw a two-yard pass and he can take it 86 yards for a touchdown.”
“It’s the same as if we were going into week one playing Winnipeg. God forbid something were to happen and I had to play, it’s the same thing as a preseason game. You take every game as if it’s the championship game, and you go into it like that. Regardless of what vets are there or what young guys are going to be playing, when I’m on the field, I’m going to do the best I can, give it 110 percent, and always have fun.”
“When people ask me if I’m ready, I tell them that I’m so ready, I tell ready when to get ready,” Adams said.
Although Moore’s situation is still different, his goals are much the same as Adams’.
“A successful day for me would be going out and operating the offence to my capabilities,” Moore said. “Making the plays when they are there, not turning the ball over, and winning, even though it’s just a preseason game, we want to win every time.”
Subscribe to 13th Man Sports to get email notifications when we post!