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  • Glenn's age made him expendable to Calgary (The Canadian Press)

    Nine days before Christmas, the new old quarterback of the CFL's ninth team sounded jolly, but not old.

    How did that loaded three-letter pejorative get in there twice? Kevin Glenn's take on joining the expansion Ottawa Redblacks was not just good spin, but a tight spiral. It was like he's been around the CFL since the last time a new Ottawa franchise took root.

    Redblacks GM Marcel Desjardins kept his word during the first phase of Monday's CFL expansion draft by adding a seasoned quarterback, the 34-year-old Glenn, and a younger yet not completely callow pivot, 24-year-old Thomas DeMarco from the B.C. Lions. The decidedly conservative approach might prove to be a long-term handcuff, but the Redblacks are set up to kick off in 2014 with a passer who's played more than 200 CFL games. It puts Glenn farther away from that elusive Grey Cup ring, but he is warm to the challenge.

    [Chris Zelkovich: CFL RedBlacks get off to better start than Renegades did]

    "It's something new but it doesn't mean that it's going to be impossible to work through," said Glenn, who helped the Stampeders win the West Division last season when he rotated through with the younger Drew Tate, 30, and Bo Levi Mitchell, 23. "The situation is a lot different than coming back to a team that you played on five, six, seven years. I think everyone is going to take it serious and do whatever he can to put exciting football back in Ottawa. Everybody's going to come to mini-camp and to training camp with the mindset to learn as much as they can as they fast as they can.

    "There will be people saying it takes a couple of years," said Glenn, who started in the Stampeders' 2012 Grey Cup loss to Toronto and was injured while leading Winnipeg to a win in the '07 Eastern final, before the Blue Bombers lost to Saskatchewan a week later. "but as we've seen in this league, you can win depending on who you have and what type of football you're playing at the end of the season. You don't have to win 14, 15, 16 games to win the Grey Cup. As a veteran quarterback, one thing I want to bring is that winning attitude."

    Read More »from Kevin Glenn ready to recruit for Redblacks, while Thomas DeMarco knows about starting from scratch
  • Marwan Hage's departure makes Hamilton look like one of this draft's losers.

    Monday's expansion draft (see our recaps of rounds one, two and three) was mostly about building the Ottawa Redblacks, but it also had substantial impacts on the eight other CFL teams, who each lost three players in the draft. They weren't affected equally, though, as some lost key contributors while others only lost seldom-used players. Here's a look at which teams survived Monday's draft with minimal losses, which teams were hard-hit and which teams were in the middle.

    Winners:

    —Winnipeg Blue Bombers: The Bombers appear to have lost less than anyone here. The players selected from Winnipeg were import wide receiver Wallace Miles (round one), Canadian linebacker/special teams player James Green (round two) and Canadian wide receiver Rory Kohlert (round three). Kohlert is the biggest loss, as he showed plenty of potential this past season, but he was a pending free agent, and a return to a Winnipeg team that went 3-15 might not have been all that appealing for him. Moreover, he still only had 493 receiving yards last season, so it's not like he's hit all-star status yet. Miles also has potential, but was on and off the practice squad last year and only picked up 158 receiving yards, and Green has been decent on special teams, but hasn't been particularly close to contributing on defence. That's not bad at all. Of course, given the Bombers' roster issues, there wasn't as much for Ottawa to choose from with them as there was with other, better teams, but still, they emerged from this draft relatively unscathed.

    —B.C. Lions: The Lions' primary loss was quarterback Thomas DeMarco in the first round, but that probably worked out being a good thing for them. While DeMarco was reasonably effective during his stints filling in for the injured Travis Lulay last season, and while he's only 24, his loss allowed the Lions to protect more Canadian players in the second and third rounds. DeMarco wasn't going to replace Lulay any time soon, and B.C. is pretty set at quarterback if the 30-year-old Lulay can stay healthy. Even if he can't, they have one experienced backup in Buck Pierce, and they'll undoubtedly be developing other young guys (which they've done impressively over the last few years, as Pierce, Lulay, current Edmonton starter Mike Reilly and DeMarco all got their first CFL experience in the Lions system). DeMarco wasn't a world-beater in B.C., either, as he completed just 53.9 per cent of his passes in 2013 and threw 10 touchdowns with eight interceptions. His loss isn't great, but it let B.C. hang on to more of their Canadian depth; they only lost offensive lineman Matt Albright (in the second round) and defensive end Andrew Marshall (in the third), and neither was a key piece last year.

    Read More »from Winners and losers from the expansion draft: how Ottawa’s picks affect the CFL’s other teams
  • With players like Kevin Glenn, the Redblacks appear ahead of the Renegades.The new format for the CFL's latest expansion draft was intended to ensure that the 2013 version of the Ottawa football club didn't start out as badly as the 2002 version that ended up 4-14 in its inaugural season.

    Barring something disastrous happening between now and the opening of training camp, it's a case of mission accomplished. The Redblacks won't necessarily be any better than the Renegades -- a lot can happen between now and the next Grey Cup -- but they're certainly off to a better start.

    The two main reasons are at the most important position on the field: quarterback.

    Back in 2002, the Renegades were faced with drafting essentially the rest of the league's fourth-string quarterbacks. That left them to choose untested guys like Romaro Miller and Jason Gesser. None of the quarterbacks they selected had played a game in the CFL, a sure-fire recipe for disaster.

    This time, thanks to teams being allowed to protect only one quarterback, the Redblacks have Kevin Glenn and Thomas DeMarco. The former has played in more than 200 CFL games and has been a starter most of the last nine years. At 35, he still has some gas left in the tank so it's not like they drafted Jason Maas or Damon Allen.

    Read More »from Redblacks get off to better start than Renegades
  • Ottawa GM Marcel Desjardins said the draft is only part of building their team.Ottawa Redblacks' general manager Marcel Desjardins' remarks to a press conference and media conference call following Monday's expansion draft (see our recaps of rounds one, two and three) were most notable for the section that wasn't about the draft at all. Desjardins emphasised that this draft is just part of the process of building this expansion team, and that they'll be bringing in plenty of players from other sources as well: current free agents, CFL free agents in February, last year's Canadian draft, this year's Canadian draft and even potential trades. He made it very clear that the Redblacks didn't approach this draft as the primary way to build their team, but as part of a larger overall process.

    "It's 24 out of 85 guys," Desjardins said. "There's free agency still coming. THere's a lot of pieces yet to be put in place. If we had to start the season with those guys you mentioned, we'd be in good shape, but we're not satisfied with that. We're going to go out and add

    Read More »from Ottawa GM Marcel Desjardins says draft provides “solid foundation,” but he’ll make more moves
  • Marwan Hage, who won the Tom Pate Award in 2009, was one of Ottawa's picks Monday.The Ottawa Redblacks wrapped up Monday's expansion draft with eight third-round Canadian selections, and those included some big-name CFL veterans. Tops amongst those were Hamilton centre Marwan Hage, Toronto linebacker Jason Pottinger, Winnipeg receiver Rory Kohlert and Calgary safety Eric Fraser. All have the potential to be important contributors on the new team. However, not all of those players may wind up suiting up for the Redblacks when training camp rolls around.

    Hage in particular is interesting, as he's a guy who could wind up being one of the most important pieces for the new team, but he also might never play for them. "The Sultan" is only 32, but he just completed his 10th CFL season, all of which have been spent with the Tiger-Cats (after they drafted him 14th overall out of Colorado in 2004). He has deep ties in the Hamilton area, and may not be eager to leave; he could retire, or threaten to retire if he isn't traded back to the Tiger-Cats. He is still under contract, though, and the Redblacks also do have a lot of money to work with; they could renegotiate and offer him a potentially-lucrative extension. If he does elect to go to Ottawa, he'd give them a solid veteran presence at one of the most important spots on the offensive line. Hage is a four-time CFLPA all-star and was also selected as a league all-star in 2010, plus he was given the Tom Pate Award in 2009 for his sportsmanship and community contributions. He'd bring an impressive dimension to the Redblacks' offence, and he could be a key figure for them off the field as well.

    Read More »from Fraser, Hage, Kohlert and Pottinger top Ottawa’s third-round picks, but will they go there?
  • Keith Shologan (bundled up at the 2010 Grey Cup) was picked by Ottawa Monday.While the Ottawa Redblacks' first round of expansion draft selections Monday (live chat here) was relatively conservative, general manager Marcel Desjardins made a bigger splash in the second round, picking several prominent Canadians from across the league. Three of the most notable picks are guys who have largely made their mark in the trenches; Saskatchewan defensive tackle Keith Shologan, Toronto offensive guard Joe Eppele and Calgary offensive guard J'Michael Deane. The fourth particularly interesting pick is Montreal fullback/tight end Patrick Lavoie, a talented blocker and pass catcher. All of those guys (and Ottawa's other four second-round selections) could potentially be key players for them going forward.

    Shologan in particular is an enticing pick, as he's a Canadian who's played very well at a position that often goes to imports. After a solid NCAA career at the University of Central Florida, he's been with the Roughriders since they drafted him fourth overall in 2008, and he's been a crucial player on their defensive line. He was picked as the Most Valuable Canadian in a losing cause in the 2010 Grey Cup, and he started at tackle for them in this year's Grey Cup, playing a key role on a defensive front that frequently had Hamilton quarterback Henry Burris under pressure and was able to almost completely eliminate the Tiger-Cats' ground game. He's only 28, and he's coming off a season that saw him record a career-high four sacks, plus he's under contract for at least another year. It may be difficult to draw Shologan, an Alberta native who's played in Saskatchewan for his whole CFL career, to Ottawa, but the Redblacks have plenty of money (thanks to entering this year without any bad contracts), and if he refuses to play for them, they should be able to get substantial considerations in a trade. If he does play for them, though, he could be one of their first Canadian stars.

    Read More »from Shologan, Lavoie, Eppele and Deane highlight the Redblacks’ second-round picks
  • Kevin Glenn will likely wear red and black again this year, but in Ottawa.Much of the discussion leading up to Monday's Ottawa expansion draft (live chat here) was about which way the Redblacks would go at quarterback. Would they opt for a high-profile but risky pick like Drew Tate or Zach Collaros, or would they play it safe and avoid pending free agents like Collaros? The team chose the latter route in Monday's first round, with general manager Marcel Desjardins selecting Calgary quarterback Kevin Glenn and B.C. quarterback Thomas DeMarco (along with six other American players). While some are praising them for bringing in an experienced quarterback like Glenn as well as a young player in DeMarco, from this corner it looks like a flawed strategy that could hurt the team in the long run.

    The principle problem with taking Glenn in particular is his age; he'll be 35 by the time the 2014 season starts. Yes, some will cite him as a "veteran presence" who can help the team "compete right away" while a young quarterback develops, but is that really true? Glenn has plenty of CFL experience, to be sure, but it's not like the younger quarterbacks available in this draft are exactly green. DeMarco will only be 25 by the time next season starts, but he's played two CFL seasons and has thrown 204 passes in the league, many as a starter in place of the injured Travis Lulay this season. Collaros will turn 26 during next season, but has also spent two years in the CFL and thrown 298 passes, many while filling in for Ricky Ray this year. Tate will turn 30 in 2014 and has spent five years in the CFL, throwing 381 passes along the way. Of course, they're not as experienced as 13-year CFL veteran Glenn, but all of those guys (and several other quarterbacks who were available) have shown they can step in and play right now.

    Read More »from Ottawa Redblacks go conservative with QBs, plucking Kevin Glenn and Thomas DeMarco
  • The Ottawa Redblacks get to pick players from across the CFL Monday.The Ottawa Redblacks are set to pick 24 players from across the CFL in Monday's three-round expansion draft, and we'll have live coverage of their selections here. (You can watch the CFL video feed here.) The Redblacks will choose eight import players (one from each team) in the first round, which will be announced shortly after 11 a.m. Eastern, then eight non-import players (one from each team) in the second and third rounds, which will be announced shortly after 12:30 p.m. Eastern and 3:30 p.m. Eastern respectively. They'll have tough decisions to make, including which quarterbacks to grab and whether they should target pending free agents. Tune in below starting at 11 a.m. Eastern to find out how the CFL's newest team is going to build its roster.

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    Read More »from Ottawa Redblacks expansion draft live chat
  • Ottawa GM Marcel Desjardins might be well-advised to get aggressive about QBs.A key subplot with Monday's Ottawa expansion draft is the idea of pending free agents; there are many more than usual across the CFL this year, and that's reportedly thanks to teams electing to delay new contracts for their players (or at least the official announcement of those contracts) until after the expansion draft. That forces the new Ottawa franchise into a game of chicken, where they can either ignore pending free agents entirely or draft them and risk getting nothing for the selection. If we're to believe Redblacks' general manager Marcel Desjardins' comments to Tim Baines of The Ottawa Sun earlier this week, he'll be taking the former tactic, at least with regards to quarterbacks. However, that may be ill-advised, especially at that position. First, here's what Desjardins told Baines:

    . "Some of the better young (quarterbacks) are free agents so we won't go that route, but there are at least three guys that are interesting to us, guys that are still under contract for next year. When you look at the list and see who's available, you're probably going to get an older guy and a younger guy."

    There may be some value to the conservative approach of not taking pending free agents, as that does enable Ottawa to ensure they'll land players they draft. However, Desjardins and his staff will have to weigh the benefits of that against the perils of missing out on top players, and at quarterback in particular, that could be problematic. Keep in mind that there will be only nine starting quarterback jobs in the CFL next year, and most of them are already set: as discussed back in October, there are essentially two and only two landing spots for starting quarterbacks this offseason, in Winnipeg and Ottawa. The Blue Bombers didn't make a move for a quarterback before the Dec. 8 roster freeze (which prevented teams from trading with anyone other than Ottawa this week), so that lets the Redblacks essentially take their pick of unprotected quarterbacks (and each team can only protect one). If, say, Toronto's Zach Collaros is the top guy on their board, passing him over merely because he's a pending free agent seems like a poor idea. Yes, Collaros could theoretically refuse to sign with Ottawa and hit free agency in February, but where's he going to land? Winnipeg is the only real alternative destination where he could get an opportunity to start (and the salary boost that comes with that), and if the Redblacks take Collaros, they'd have exclusive negotiating rights to him for the next few months. The Bombers might not want to wait that long to solve their quarterback situation.

    Read More »from Conservative approach of avoiding free agents may not benefit Ottawa at quarterback
  • Mark Washington is B.C.'s new defensive coordinator.It's an offseason of change for the B.C. Lions, with the team electing to part ways with both offensive coordinator Jacques Chapdelaine and defensive coordinator Rich Stubler. They found Stubler's replacement internally, tabbing long-time defensive backs coach Mark Washington for a promotion Thursday, but they've reportedly been passed over by top offensive coordinator choices George Cortez (who currently holds that job in Saskatchewan) and Paul LaPolice (who's elected to stay with TSN). There are still plenty of options out there, though, and it's going to be interesting to see if B.C. elects to follow what they did with Washington by tabbing a first-time coordinator on offence as well, or if they opt for a more experienced hire.

    Read More »from B.C. promotes Mark Washington to DC, but the search for a new OC is still on

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