As it turns out, the 2022 season hasn’t been all that different from the 2021 season for the Ottawa Redblacks. They have struggled out of the gate, their quarterback has gotten hurt, and once again, Caleb Evans is the starting quarterback in the nation’s capital.
It’s not quite that black and white, however. Things have been different, but regardless, Evans is back under centre for week six against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Last season, Evans played in eight games, throwing 182 passes. He completed 108 of them for 1,279 yards, five touchdowns, and nine interceptions. On the ground, Evans did some good work, rushing for 345 yards and three touchdowns. Those games served as a great experience for the 23-year-old alumni of the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, who is confident that he can put it to good use when he steeps on the field for his sophomore season.
“The only difference is that I was a rookie last year,” Evans said. “This is my second year, so I have more familiarity with the offence, so it should be an easier transition.”
Although Evans got on the field due to injuries from Matt Nichols and Dominique Davis last season, there was something different about the way Jeremiah Masoli went down. It was a series of events that cost Garrett Marino of the Saskatchewan Roughriders a four-game suspension, but will cost the Redblacks their prized offseason signing up to three months of missed action.
“It’s definitely tough, especially with the way he went down,” Evans said. “No one wishers for anybody to be injured, especially like that. It was a big blow to the team because he is a great leader, a great quarterback, and a great professional. He’s around the stadium, and he told me he would be around to help out as long as he can.”
But the Redblacks still have expectations, even without Masoli on the field. With an 0-4 record, the Redblacks are still within a single win of first place in the East Division thanks to an incredibly slow start for the division as a whole. With their next three games coming against East Division opponents, Evans has a chance to pull the Redblacks right back to where they hoped to be with a couple of wins.
“Each week, you want to go 1-0,” Evans said. “Each week is as important as the next, so I guess the biggest difference is that we are going against an East Division team. Of course we want to get this win and start it off early.”
The Redblacks aren’t going to give Evans a free ride no matter the result as they did last season, however. Acquiring Nick Arbuckle shows they still intend to win, but Evans says he isn’t worried about any pressure that might be on him thanks to the trade.
“You can’t really think about it,” Evans said. “I have a job to do, and that’s to be prepared for my team. That’s what I’m doing.”
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