The Ottawa Redblacks have made franchise history at the start of the 2022 season, but not in a good way. Their 0-3 start to the year sets a new franchise record for the team’s worst start in their short history despite three seasons of being uncompetitive on most nights. It’s far from the start the nearly entirely rebuilt offence and stout defence expected, and it’s starting to wear on some of the players.
Jeremiah Masoli has been optimistic about the Redblacks since signing with the team in the offseason, but the 0-3 start doesn’t sit right with him, and it shouldn’t. It’s not a lack of talent on the field so far this season, but rather a lack of finish. The wounds have been self-inflicted, and it’s felt in the locker room. Despite that, Masoli believes that the anger and frustration felt can help guys bear down and get in the win column.
“I’m sure it’s weighing on us, but in a good way,” Masoli said. “We have leaders in that room not letting anybody get too down about it. We should be mad and frustrated about it. I am for sure. We left a lot of plays out there, and we just have to figure it out. I think we are there, we just have to turn it over and get the ‘W’.”
On the other side of the field, defensive back Money Hunter is taking the losses personally. All three have been close games on the scoreboard, decided by a combined 12 points, and while the Redblacks are close, the frustration of not finishing is eating at him.
“It can make you livid,” said Hunter, referencing coming up just short once again. “Going out there, giving it your all, and then it slips away like that. But at the end of the day, you gotta step up to the plate. The offence has to step up to the plate, the defence has to step up to the plate, and everybody has gotta do a little bit more.”
“Yea, [losing] bothers you,” he continued. “I’m a winner, and everybody in that room is a winner. Nobody wants to lose. Losing really sucks, and if you’re not headstrong, it will really bring you down.”
Frustration isn’t to be confused with negativity, however. The poor start isn’t what the team was hoping for, but with the losses piling up for other teams in the East Division, there’s still time to make things right.
“We’ve played two really good teams, and we don’t want to hang our heads low,” Masoli said. “It’s not like we were getting blown out. It was a hard-fought game for all three games, even [against BC]. We’ll bounce back, I know we will.”
“We gotta figure it out. There are details that we have to figure out why we aren’t getting it, or why we aren’t hitting this play or that play. We had some big plays that were there, we just weren’t able to get there. We’ll see, we’ll look at the film. We have great leadership besides myself that’s keeping us all together and that’s keeping us up.”
With another game against a Western opponent coming up next week in Saskatchewan, the messaging in the dressing room right now is simple.
“Come to play, and come to win,” Hunter said. “That’s the only message you can give everybody.”
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