Brad Sinopoli has been an elite receiving option throughout his career with the Ottawa Redblacks. However, with declining targets so far this season, Sinopoli needs a more pronounced role in the offence again.
The wide receiver played well in the opener against Calgary but has seen fewer balls thrown his way in the subsequent two games. In Friday night’s loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Sinopoli only brought down one reception. It was his first one-catch game since the 2016 season.
The Redblacks offence failed to score a touchdown against Winnipeg and still has a lot of work to do to establish an identity this season. The results have been mixed through three games thus far but one way to get back on track is to look back on what worked last season.
In 2018, Sinopoli led the CFL in receptions en route to capturing his second career Most Outstanding Canadian award. Now, he has fewer targets than teammates Dominique Rhymes, R.J. Harris and Caleb Holley.
Brad Sinopoli Being Less Targeted
The reception and receiving yard numbers are important but the most relevant stat to Sinopoli’s role in the Redblacks offence is the number of targets.
The 31-year-old receiver had 10 targets in the opener against Calgary, then six in Week 2 and just three in Week 4. Not only is he having less of an effect on the game, but he is also being given less of an opportunity to have an effect.
Sinopoli has always been a high target guy with the Redblacks. With underneath routes being his bread-and-butter, high volume involvement is needed for him to be his most effective.
He had the second most targets in the entire CFL last season and has been targeted game in and game out throughout much of his time with the Redblacks.
Sinopoli’s average targets per game with the Redblacks:
2019: 6.3 targets per game
2018: 9.1 targets per game
2017: 8.0 targets per game
2016: 6.6 targets per game
2015: 5.9 targets per game
As it stands now, Sinopoli is averaging his least targets per game since 2015 and sits fourth on the team in total targets.
How Sinopoli Affects an Offence
Now, why is it important that Sinopoli be more involved? Because not only is he a reliable receiving option, his play opens up the offence for others.
Sinopoli is a slotback and an elite slot receiver at that. His ability to have an impact on the short and intermediate passing game has a dual impact. For one, it provides his quarterback a reliable safety blanket to check down to, which Sinopoli can then can turn into tough yards after the catch.
Secondly, it allows for better spacing for the Redblacks’ other receivers when opposing defences have to worry more about Sinopoli’s involvement. Ottawa used the differing skill sets to great success in the past with Diontae Spencer and Greg Ellingson providing more downfield impact.
2019 Redblacks Offence
This year’s offence has often looked to throw the ball deep to rangy receivers Dominique Rhymes and R.J. Harris. When that is working, it should create room for Sinopoli to do his thing down low and vice versa. The passing game needs to be more well rounded in its strategy for every facet to thrive.
After losing for the first time this season, the Redblacks’ next challenge will be the Alouettes next Saturday in their first divisional matchup of 2019. As Ottawa continues to look for offensive consistency, it would be wise to employ Mr. Consistent: Brad Sinopoli.
Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images