Ottawa

Game of throws: Redblacks starting quarterback battle underway

Dominique Davis and Jonathon Jennings are vying to lead the Ottawa Redblacks' new-look offence as training camp begins.

Dominique Davis and Jonathon Jennings vie to lead new-look offence

Ottawa Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell speaks to his team at the start of training camp in Ottawa on Sunday, May 19, 2019. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

The Ottawa Redblacks are running an open competition to find a quarterback to lead their new-look offence as training camp gets into full swing.

After their Grey Cup loss to Calgary in November, the East Division champions lost several pieces, including starting quarterback Trevor Harris to Edmonton and leading rusher William Powell to Saskatchewan.

Later in the offseason, offensive co-ordinator Jaime Elizondo stepped down.

Ottawa's general manager Marcel Desjardins said Sunday the team will go through training camp with returning Dominique Davis and free agent signee Jonathon Jennings both competing to be the starting quarterback.

"May the best man win," he said.

Desjardins said it's possible the other two quarterbacks in camp, Danny Collins and Will Arndt, could move up the depth chart and take either the starting or backup job, but it's not likely.

From left, Ottawa Redblacks quarterbacks Dominique Davis, Danny Collins and Jonathon Jennings participate in the team's training camp in Ottawa on Sunday, May 19, 2019. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Head coach Rick Campbell said Davis and Jennings will take turns practicing with the other offensive starters, which the top quarterback does during the season, to see who gives them the best chance to win.

"It can be more comfortable if you know who the guy is, but any competition at any position tends to [make] someone rise up," he said.

"They're both capable guys, I'm excited to see what happens."

Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Dominique Davis (4) participates in the team's training camp in Ottawa on Sunday, May 19, 2019. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Pair of playmakers

"I don't mind [the rotation], this is what I expected" said Davis, a Floridian who will turn 30 a few days before the Redblacks' July road game against Winnipeg — which happens to be the only other CFL team he's played for.

He said he brings energy, leadership and the ability to make plays with his legs.

Jennings, a 26-year-old from Columbus, Ohio, spent four seasons with the B.C. Lions before arriving in Ottawa.

He said he chose to sign with the Redblacks because of the good things he's heard about the city, the fans and the head coach.

B.C. Lions quarterback Jonathon Jennings runs during first half CFL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Friday June 29, 2018. Jennings threw for 66 touchdowns and 51 interceptions in 51 games as a Lion over four seasons. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

"You're competing [with the other quarterbacks] but at the same time you're supporting each other," he said.

"It's not our job to say who's going to be put on the field ... In the quarterback room, we're trying to make each other better and grow as a unit. Hopefully that first [starter] can represent us as a group."

He said his strengths are his competitiveness, athleticism and ability to throw deep.

Ottawa's first pre-season game is June 1 at home against Hamilton. The regular season starts June 15 with a Grey Cup rematch in Calgary, with the home opener June 20 against Saskatchewan.

With files from Kim Vallière

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