July 24th, 2024

Quarterback Dru Brown to make Ottawa debut versus his former team

By Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press on June 12, 2024.

Ottawa RedBlacks quarterback Dru Brown attempts a pass against the Montreal Alouettes during first half CFL pre-season action, Friday, May 31, 2024 in Ottawa. Brown will make his Ottawa debut when the club opens its '24 season hosting Winnipeg (0-1) at TD Place. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

For three years, Dru Brown practised against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defence. On Thursday night, he’ll face the unit for real.

Brown will make his Ottawa debut when the club opens its 2024 season hosting Winnipeg (0-1) at TD Place. Brown spent the previous three seasons with the Bombers before his rights were dealt to the Redblacks, who quickly signed the Oklahoma State star to a two-year deal.

Brown was stellar in spot duty last season with Winnipeg. The five-foot-11, 191-pound American completed 62-of-89 passes (69.7 per cent) for 983 yards with nine touchdowns and no interceptions and was 2-0 when pressed to be the starter.

Ottawa also brought veteran receiver Dominique Rhymes back following three seasons with the B.C. Lions. Rhymes, twice a 1,00-yard receiver, began his CFL career with the Redblacks (2017-19) and will start Thursday night.

The Redblacks will face a Winnipeg team coming off a season-opening 27-12 home loss to Montreal in a rematch of last year’s Grey Cup game. The Alouettes won that contest also, rallying to down the Bombers 28-24 at Tim Hortons Field.

Winnipeg had three turnovers in last week’s contest. Quarterback Zach Collaros finished 20-of-33 passing for 209 yards and an interception while running back Brady Oliveira — the league’s rushing leader last year and its top Canadian — ran for 38 yards on 11 carries.

Oliveira won’t play Thursday night, replaced in the backfield by veteran Canadian Johnny Augustine. The 30-year-old Augustine ran for 267 yards on 45 carries (5.9-yard average) last season and sports a 5.8-yard average over his six CFL seasons.

Winnipeg will also be minus receiver Kenny Lawler, who suffered a broken arm versus Montreal and went on the six-game injured list. American Keric Wheatfall comes off the practice roster to take Lawler’s spot.

The Bombers defence will be bolstered by the return of Adam Bighill. The veteran middle linebacker was placed on the six-game injured list in May with a calf ailment, which was the same injury he suffered in last year’s West Division final versus B.C.

Bighill did play in the Grey Cup but was limited to just one tackle.

Montreal averaged a solid 6.2 yards per play last week. Canadian receiver Tyson Philpot — who caught Cody Fajardo’s game-winning TD pass in the Grey Cup — had 10 catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns in the rematch.

Pick: Winnipeg.

Montreal Alouettes versus Edmonton Elks (Friday night)

At Edmonton, another road game for the defending Grey Cup champions. Fajardo was 20-of-28 passing for 254 yards and two TDs last week in Winnipeg. McLeod Bethel-Thompson threw for 336 yards and two TDs in his Edmonton debut but the Elks were outscored 21-3 in the fourth quarter of their 29-21 home loss to Saskatchewan.

Pick: Montreal.

Calgary Stampeders versus B.C. Lions (Saturday night)

At Vancouver, over 50,000 spectators are expected for the Lions’ home opener following the team’s 35-27 road loss Sunday to Toronto. Quarterback Vernon Adams threw 363 yards and two TDs but was sacked six times. The Lions also had five turnovers. Calgary (1-0) comes off a 32-24 home win over Hamilton as Jake Maier completed 21-of-26 passes for 252 yards with two TDs and no interceptions.

Pick: B.C.

Saskatchewan Roughriders versus Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Sunday night)

At Hamilton, Bo Levi Mitchell makes a second straight start for the Ticats (0-1) after passing for 300 yards with a TD and interception in his return to Calgary. James Butler also ran for 119 yards but dropped passes proved very costly. The Riders duo of Trevor Harris (305 yards passing, three TDs) and Shawn Bane Jr. (five catches, 125 yards, three touchdowns) was deadly versus Edmonton.

Pick: Saskatchewan.

Last week: 1-3.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 12, 2024.

Share this story:

24
-23
Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments