The Ottawa Redblacks don't know who their starting quarterback will be when they open the CFL season next month, but the team sees no reason to worry about the situation.
The Redblacks are confident returnee Dominique Davis and newcomer Jonathon Jennings can step up and lead the offence. It's just a matter of determining who starts the opener on June 15 in Calgary against the Stampeders.
A quarterback competition isn't a regular occurrence for the Redblacks, who had veteran Henry Burris at the helm for the team's first three seasons before turning to Trevor Harris for the past two. The latter signed with the Edmonton Eskimos this off-season.
While the 29-year-old Davis has limited playing experience, he has the advantage of being familiar with the Redblacks playbook after spending last season as Harris' backup.
"When they called me and told me they wanted me back, I thought great because this is the situation I wanted to be in," Davis said Tuesday as the Redblacks continued training camp. "The familiarity helps, but on the other hand I don't have that much playing experience and (Jennings) does. I don't look at it as I have an advantage. I think we both have an advantage, just in a different way."
Jennings knows what it takes to be a starter. Three years ago, while playing for the B.C. Lions, the 26-year-old passed for 5,226 yards and 27 touchdowns. In 2017, Jennings struggled to regain his form after separating his shoulder and last season Travis Lulay got the bulk of the workload.
Jennings doesn't like to use the shoulder as an excuse, but realizes it has had an impact on his throwing mechanics.
"I didn't really know how bad it was until almost now," Jennings said. "My power was gone so the power that I used to throw with changed significantly. Having my power back now means I have to get comfortable with trusting myself again.”
While both players want to emerge as the starter, they understand the process.
"I'm here to compete and here to do what I can each and every day and let the coaches decide what they need to decide at the end," Jennings said. "I'm going to go out there and try to maximize my time on the field, maximize my reps and be productive."
Jennings thinks he might be at a slight disadvantage being new to the team, but feels his progression has been solid.
"I've seen most of these concepts before and I can match them up with other things I've done in my past four years," Jennings said. "Terminology wise and all the nuances of the plays and intricacies, that's where I'm a little bit behind. But that will come with time. I'm getting more comfortable with the offence each day.”
Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell plans to give both quarterbacks playing time in the team's pre-season opener against the visiting Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday.
Campbell expects a number of starters to be in the lineup.
"Selfishly for our football team, we need to find out what we need to do," said Campbell. "It's fair to those guys too because they're busting their butts trying to be the No. 1 quarterback so we have to give them that good look to find out.”
The team doesn't have an offensive co-ordinator after Jaime Elizondo left Ottawa in April.
Receivers coach Winston October will be calling the plays, but Campbell says it will be more of a group effort by the offensive staff.
"We're comfortable with our terminology and our offence and we needed someone to come in and fit in with our players and our coaches because we're so far down the road with our terminology and our playbook," Campbell said.
"We have some really good football coaches here so we wanted to bring someone in that could adjust to us and I think all three (offensive coaches) could be co-ordinators and (assistant) Joe Paopao has been a co-ordinator and a head coach so they’re all capable. I just didn't want to throw a title on one of the guys at the late stages just for the sake of doing it."
The Canadian Press