Bring on Behar
With the retirement of Ottawa’s top target Brad Sinopoli, there is a massive void left in their receiving corps. In 2018 the former Redblack totalled 116 receptions for 1,376 yards before following it up with 72 receptions in 2019.
Now that he is gone from the nation’s capital, one major question looms over the new-look Redblacks offence. Without Dominique Rhymes or Caleb Holley there to step up, who will fill Sinopoli’s role?
The answer is a simple one, former Carleton Raven Nate Behar.
After two seasons in Edmonton where he played in thirty games, Behar returned to the city he spent years making play after play at the USports level.
In his initial season with Ottawa, Behar did not make a huge impact in the stats columns adding 16 receptions for 169 yards. While the numbers are not overwhelming, the departure of the top two targets from the Redblacks leaves a wide open chance for the fourth-year pass catcher to make his mark.
One of the biggest reasons Behar should be able to become one of Ottawa’s leading receivers this season is his return to the slot. When he played in 2019, the majority of his snaps came from the line, while most of his time in Carleton was spent using the waggle. This subtle change in positioning on the field opens up the passing game for Behar while allowing him to impact the game with his blocking as well.
With the Ravens, Behar was consistently amongst the top receivers in the conference (OUA), making teams pay with short and intermediate routes while using his unique combination of speed and strength to draw mismatches out of the slot.
In his four seasons with the Ravens, Behar accumulated 178 catches, 2,577 yards, and 21 touchdowns, including a spectacular last minute touchdown to win a Panda Game against the rival Ottawa GeeGees.
Now that Behar can roam the slot, a pairing with new head coach Paul LaPolice could benefit the young national talent as he will be able to use his creative schemes to put Behar in a place to succeed.
Another addition to the Ottawa Redblacks that will help Behar’s growth is new quarterback Matt Nichols.
Nichols’ proficiency in the short-mid range benefits Behar who averaged 10.9 yards a catch in 2019. With his ability to add into the blocking schemes, Behar will be able to contribute to the quick passing game through concepts like slices and jet motions.
The options that branch off of these concepts mix perfectly with Behar's skill set and could be the key to his involvement in the offence.
Hopefully the new signal caller for Ottawa will develop a good relationship with his young receiver and build off of their mutual strengths. This season may be a tough one in Ottawa, but national talent like Behar have a chance to make the difference on an offence completely rebuilt from two years ago.