LIVESTREAM CFL: Winnipeg Blue Bombers @ Ottawa REDBLACKS, June14, 01:30 CET (1:30 am, 7:30 pm June 13 EDT)

With extra time to prepare after a Week 1 bye, quarterback Dru Brown and the Ottawa REDBLACKS are ready to open their season when they play host to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Thursday night.

The Blue Bombers should be an ornery bunch when they arrive at TD Place after dropping their first game of the season to the Montreal Alouettes.

For the home side, some key off-season additions have them eyeing a better finish than their 4-14 record in 2023.

Brown’s former mentor, Bombers’ quarterback Zach Collaros, will be expecting a stronger performance out of himself after he completed just 60.6 per cent of his passes and failed to find the end zone against the Als.

» Depth Chart: WPG OTT
» Game Notes: Winnipeg at Ottawa

He’ll be without Kenny Lawler who has been placed on the six-game injured list, but Dalton SchoenNic Demski and Drew Wolitarsky were targeted a total of 18 times and will be busy again as the offence attempts to get going.

Holding them down falls on a group of defensive backs led by Monshadrik Hunter. Hunter has played in just 16 games over the past two seasons, so health is a top priority and critical to the success of the pass defence.

Fellow defensive backs Brandin Dandridge and Justin Howell will miss the opener, putting added responsibility on the likes of Damon Webb and Alonzo Addae in the secondary.

With the addition of Adarius Pickett from provincial rival Toronto in the offseason, the REDBLACKS have another player that can impact both the pass and run game.

Bombers running back Brady Oliveira is hampered by a knee ailment and is out for this week’s game, meaning Johnny Augustine will play more of a role against the REDBLACKS. Augustine had a pair of touches for 15 yards versus the Als.

In the REDBLACKS front, Bryce CarterLorenzo Mauldin IV and Cleyon Laing anchor the defensive line, with Jovan Santos-Knox and Frankie Griffin providing stability at linebacker when the ball goes on the ground.

Carter finished this past season with 12 sacks, third most in the CFL. If the defence can find its way to Collaros, it’ll make the job of moving downfield even more difficult.

When REDBLACKS head coach Bob Dyce sends his offence onto the field, he’ll do so with depth at the pivot position and a variety of skillsets able to put points on the board.

To start, Brown will lead the REDBLACKS against his former team.

Quarterback Dru Brown will make his debut for the REDBLACKS on Thursday (


With key off-season acquisition Dominique Rhymes and the talented Jaelon Acklin at receiver, it could make for quite the debut for Brown.

Watch live. Winnipeg Blue Bombers @ Ottawa REDBLACKS, June14, 01:30 CET (1:30 am, 7:30 pm June 13 EDT)

Putting the ball in the air might be fine with Dyce and the REDBLACKS given their playmaking prowess and the fact they’re up against a Bombers secondary working to get guys acclimated.

Defensive back Terrell Bonds was targeted often in the pass game versus Montreal and will need the support of veterans Evan Holm and Brandon Alexander as he settles in.

Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea was impressed with Brown during his time in Winnipeg and isn’t surprised to see him get an opportunity to start in the league.

“We liked him here,” O’Shea told reporters. “Coming in and learning the nuances of the CFL game is always interesting for a young guy but he showed up as a football junkie. He was going to take in as much information as you could possibly give him and love every minute of it. He stuck around here as long as he could and now he’s got a team to run.”

If Brown stumbles, Dustin Crum is more than capable of stepping up. Well known for using his legs, Crum also threw for over 3,100 yards after taking over the starters role last season from an injured Jeremiah Masoli.

With running back Devonte Williams sidelined with an Achilles injury, the legs of DeVonte Dedmon and the combination of running backs Ryquell Armstead and Amlicar Polk are being looked to as weapons on the ground. Armstead is a game-time decision but listed as the starter.

Brown will have former teammate Willie Jefferson trying to knock him down on Thursday (


Gaining yardage in the run game is easier said than done against a Bombers front that appears to have picked up where they left off. Holding Montreal to 73 rush yards was a positive and something head coach Mike O’Shea certainly wants to build on.

Making Brown move in the pocket is the goal of lineman Devin Adams, who had a sack last week, along with Willie Jefferson and Jake Thomas as they try to make life uncomfortable for the offence.

Dyce feels his team is riding a solid training camp into the regular season opener but knows it means little if they can’t translate it starting Thursday.

“There’s always a great sense of urgency,” Dyce told reporters. “Our results haven’t been where they need to be (in previous seasons). Camp is a foundation, and we have to build on that and move forward.”

The Bombers are looking to avoid an 0-2 start, while the REDBLACKS have the opportunity to get their season started on the right foot with a victory over one of the league’s top teams.

Watch live. Winnipeg Blue Bombers @ Ottawa REDBLACKS, June14, 01:30 CET (1:30 am, 7:30 pm June 13 EDT)

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