No guts, no glory for Renegades

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 6:39 AM ET

So now we find out about the Renegades. Is this a team that has struggled and lost eight of its last nine games because of injuries to key people, including all of their quarterbacks?

What team in the league wouldn't struggle in the face of that?

Have they played better lately and lost the last two games because they were against teams 1 and 1A in the CFL in the Montreal Alouettes and B.C. Lions (decided for yourself how to slot those teams)?

Or is there some fundamental flaw in this team, a lack of character that has been exposed over the last two months?

Has there been an overestimation of its talent by management, which brings into question the abilities of GM Eric Tillman and coach Joe Paopao, who has taken more of a role in personnel decisions?

Is Paopao's staff capable of preparing and giving this team an edge over the opposition?

Has the ownership given Tillman and Paopao the resources to build a playoff team or is this a case of you get what you pay for?

Tough questions and if anybody with the Renegades is upset with them being asked, they've brought it on themselves.

They now face the most important game in their 21/2 year existence Friday night in Calgary against the 2-10 Stampeders.

Lose that one and there will be -- and should be -- a bunch of people spending a lot of money on getting resumes printed.

The character question is one that is being asked internally.

Is this a team? Has this group come far enough in terms of becoming greater than the sum of its parts?

An interesting moment occurred early in Saturday's 31-13 loss to the B.C. Lions.

Ottawa quarterback Kerry Joseph, their best player and leader, was angled out of bounds and given a shove by Lions defensive end Brent Johnson.

Given that unwanted gift of added momentum, Joseph went flying into the Ottawa bench. In a spectacular display of athleticism, he hurdled a table at the Renegades bench, landing on the paved downslope on the other side and managed to stay on his feet (wearing cleats).

Did any of his teammates get after the Lion who did it?

Did any Renegade stand up for their leader?

Not that I saw.

If there's a time to be brave, it's right in the middle of your bench. But there wasn't anybody who stood up for Joseph.

It makes you wonder.

If the Renegades aren't going to stand up for their quarterback they could at least stand up for their coach.

Paopao has been nothing but a class act, treating his players like men, standing there and taking the heat for their inadequate performances, acting professionally and, perhaps in a misguided moment, expecting nothing less from his players.

CHEWED OUT BY PAOPAO

But even Paopao's patience is wearing thin.

"We got chewed out by the coach after the game and he meant everything he said," said receiver Demitris Bendross. "We're in a must-win situation. I hope everybody takes this seriously. We've got to play like everybody's job is on the line."

So what's gone wrong?

"That's the mysterious part of it," said Bendross. "We have the talent. Tillman did a great job of bringing talent in. This is a team that came back from being three TDs down against Calgary and whipped them.

"But something is eatin' us away."

The Renegades better figure out what it is that's eating them away.

The time for poor execution is over.

The time for poor decision-making is done.

Joseph said yesterday the time for speeches is over.

This is now about what is -- or isn't -- inside.

What's there?

chris.stevenson@ott.sunpub.com


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