Receiver rift just not true: Joseph

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:52 AM ET

In these days of Mardi Gras Madness, it has become the game within the game at Frank Clair Stadium, scanning the fringes of the action with binoculars trying to catch a glimpse of ...

Pat Woodcock.

The Renegades receiver is once again conspicuous by his absence from the post-game stats sheet, having no catches (and no balls thrown to him that I can remember) in last Saturday's win over the Calgary Stampeders.

The name that was once featured in full-page newspaper ads in this town when he was being wooed as a free agent in 2004 doesn't appear among the top-45 receivers in the CFL stats handed out yesterday.

As the Renegades face the Edmonton Eskimos tonight, Woodcock might be an afterthought in the Ottawa offence (four catches in four games for 35 yards; no catches in the last two games), but he is anything but when it comes to talk about the team.

CERTAINLY A TOP TOPIC

He might not be the hot receiver, but he is a hot topic.

Fans -- and visiting media -- want to know why the home-town hero hasn't been getting the ball.

A favourite theory on talk radio is a personality conflict between Renegades quarterback Kerry Joseph and Woodcock.

Joseph doesn't like Woodcock for some reason, so the conspiracy theory goes, so Joseph doesn't throw him the ball.

Joseph bristled at that one yesterday after the Renegades had their walk-through at Frank Clair.

"People who make comments like that, at times you want to tell them to shove it," said Joseph.

"But you remain humble and you just ignore that. A lot of times people who make those comments or call into the radio don't understand the reality of football and the way the game goes. They don't understand what goes on in the course of a game, throughout the course of a week. Our offence is designed to attack a defence. It's not designed to go to one particular receiver."

So what's the deal? How would Joseph characterize his relationship with Woodcock?

"We have a great friendship," said Joseph.

"Pat is doing a great job for us out there. He's doing everything that we ask him to do. Our offence is not designed not to get the ball to Pat," he said.

"Our personalities are not to the point where I'm not throwing it him the ball because of a personality issue. That's not the issue. I love to get the ball to all of our receivers. I try to get the ball to all of our receivers. I don't have a favourite receiver. If I had a favourite receiver, I'd have one guy with 40 catches or something. That's not the issue. We just try and go out and execute the offence. My read is to go where the defence dictates. A lot of times I know the formation we're in, but I don't know what guys are where. Sometimes they switch up, if a guy is tired and he has a deep route, he might switch up and give it to another guy. That's the way our offence goes. It depends what the defence dictates to us."

What the defences have dictated the last couple of games is a big "0" for number 16.

Running back Josh Ranek has been Joseph's top target so far this season with 18 catches, followed by Jason Armstead with 15 and Yo Murphy with 14.

3 CATCHES IN GAME 1

Three of Woodcock's four catches came in the first game of the season against Edmonton, so maybe the defence will dictate the ball might find its way to Woodcock tonight.

"Pat (tonight) could get eight catches. It all depends on what the defence dictates for us and where we go with the football," said Joseph.

If not, Joseph has a word of advice for those who would continue to speculate on why not.

"Before you open your mouth, you should think about it and know the facts behind it. When you speak on something you really don't know," he said, "you're speaking from ignorance."


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