With the 2022 season completed for the Edmonton Elks, we look back at the season that was. With high hopes for an improvement from the 2021 season, fans in Edmonton were curious about how the team would perform in 2022.
And why not?
The infancy of the changes was made in December of 2021 when it was rebuilding the house again. The mentality was to strip the house to the studs and foundation and build new. That’s not to say that some key pieces were still in place (roster-wise), but drastic changes were inevitable in the City of Champions where without a doubt, the 2021 season was the worst in franchise history.
What fans were optimistic about was the fact that their worse had already passed (or at least we thought so). And the turning of the corner for success in 2022 was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The logical and realistic point of view would be that a 7–8-win season was very much achievable. Even if they would fall short of a playoff spot in 2022, they will be a team that will compete for week-in-and-week-out and the 2021 season was now an afterthought.
STRIP DOWN THE HOUSE, AND BUILD NEW
On Sunday, November 21st, 2021, and just 1 day after the final game of the 2021 CFL season, the Edmonton Elks hired Chris Jones as their new Head Coach and General Manager. Chris Jones was the perfect fit for the franchise. He brings a ton of knowledge to the game and has a wealth of experience in doing so. His track record speaks for itself in that he has a resume with winning in the CFL that has been established since joining the league in 2002.
Grey Cup Champion in 2002 with the Montreal Alouettes (Defensive Co-Ordinator)
Grey Cup Champion in 2008 with the Calgary Stampeders (Defensive Co-Ordinator)
Grey Cup Champion in 2012 with the Toronto Argonauts (Defensive Co-Ordinator)
Grey Cup Champion in 2015 with the Edmonton Eskimos (Head Coach)
On Monday, November 22nd, 2021, just 2 days after the conclusion of the 2021 CFL season; the Edmonton Elks wasted no time in beginning a rebuild. After a disastrous 2021 season in which the green and gold would finish the season with a 3-11 record, the inevitable had to come to fruition.
With that said, the Edmonton Elks cleaned house by firing CEO Chris Presson, GM Brock Sunderland, and Head Coach Jaime Elizondo.
To counter the departures, Edmonton went all in by hiring one of if not the brightest minds in the history of the Canadian Football League. Wally Buono was hired as an advisor for the club in building back the foundation for the great franchise that Edmonton has been.
Now into the 1st month of 2022, the Edmonton Elks announced that Victor Cui would be named the new Edmonton Elks President and CEO. The announcement was made on Tuesday, January 25th, 2022. The move is a great one for the local boy from Edmonton. He is a proud Edmontonian who has a wealth of knowledge of the business side of the sport.
Victor Cui was previously a Senior Executive with ESPN Star Sports, along with the PGA Tour. Moreover, he was a Co-Founder of One Championship, a Mixed Martial Arts promotion which debuted in 2011. Currently, One Championship is valued at over 1 billion and broadcasted in over 150 countries.
THE 2022 CFL DRAFT
Round 1, 4th overall
Enock Makonzo, Canadian, DB, 5’11, 195 LBS, Lachine, Quebec, Coastal Carolina University
Round 1, 8th overall
Tre Ford, Canadian, QB, 6’1, 192 LBS, Niagara Falls, Ontario, University of Waterloo
Round 2, 19th Overall
Jacob Plamondon, Canadian, DL, 6’3, 230 LBS, Red Deer, Alberta, University of Calgary
Round 3, 21st overall
Marc-David Bien-Aime, Canadian, OL, 6’5, 350 LBS, Montreal, Quebec, Fresno State University
Round 3 | 28th overall
Peter Adjey, Canadian, LS, 6’3, 220 LBS, Toronto, Ontario, Queen’s University
Round 4, 30th overall
Gavin Cobb, Canadian, WR, 5’10, 170 LBS, Victoria, BC, University of Manitoba
Round 5, 39th overall
Wesly Appolon, Canadian, LB, 6’4, 225 LBS, Montreal, Quebec, Tuskegee University
Round 6, 48th overall
Jeremie Dominique, Canadian, DB, 6’1, 192 LBS, Montreal, Quebec, University of Charleston
Round 7, 57th overall
Jean-Paul Cimankinda, Canadian, RB, 6’1, 225 LBS, Ottawa, ON, University of Ottawa
Round 8, 66th overall
Nate Edwards, Canadian, LB, 6’2, 237 LBS, Ancaster, Ontario, McMaster University
Week 1: The Edmonton Elks would open up their 2022 CFL season on the road at BC Place Stadium vs the BC Lions. In a game were both teams wanted to shrug off disappointing seasons in 2021, both teams wanted to display their improvement for the 2022 season.
Unfortunately for the Edmonton Elks, the BC Lions from the drop of the hat were too much to contain and would score at will.
The end result would be an absolute beatdown in which the BC Lions would win 59-15. For the Elks, what could go wrong did go wrong. The Elks were unable to get into any rhythm and were out muscled on just about every play.
Week 2: The Elks returned home for week 2 for their 2022 season home opener vs the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Although it was not a blowout as it was the week prior, the Elks were unable to beat the Roughriders in which they would fall to an 0-2 record in a 25-16 loss.
The effort was there, but the Elks were unable to establish a running game throughout the showdown with Saskatchewan. Nick Arbuckle would start the season as bad as it could be. In 2 games thus far, he would throw for 1TD pass, along with 5INT.
Week 3: The Edmonton Elks would travel to McMahon Stadium in Calgary to lock horns with their Provincial rivals the Calgary Stampeders. The Elks did play the better of the 3 games thus far in an early season so far.
Unfortunately, the more experienced Stampeders team would be victorious in a 30-23 victory.
Week 4: A trip to Tim Horton’s Field would be the next stop for the Edmonton Elks in which they would square off with the back-to-back Eastern Division Champions in the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
With the Hamilton Tiger-Cats surprisingly struggling to begin the 2022 season, the Elks capitalized on a lot of miscues by the Tiger-Cats. The green and gold would snag a come from behind victory scoring 20 points in the 2nd half in a surprising 29-25 victory. It was a complete team effort in all phased of the game for the Edmonton Elks.
Week 5: In a return home to Commonwealth Stadium vs the Calgary Stampeders, the Elks went back to there so far dysfunctional ways.
The Edmonton Elks was humiliated by the Calgary Stampeders in a lopsided 49-6 Calgary victory.
Week 6: Back on the road in La belle province, to face the Montreal Alouettes, the Edmonton Elks would continue a chapter in taking a page from their script similar to the Hamilton game.
The Elks would score again 20 points in the 2nd half to complete a come from behind 32-31 victory. Once again it was a total team effort on capitalizing on opportunities. Alberta beef was more superior than Quebec poutine that day. The Edmonton Elks would improve to a 2-4 record.
Week 7: A trip back home for the Elks in week 7 was a more than a challenge to say the least. They would face the back-to-back Grey Cup Champions the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Although they would be defeated 24-10, most fans thought that this would have been a blowout loss. The most interesting thing about this a game was the fact that Edmonton dominated in the time of possession. They would complete the game with a total of 37:14 compared to 22:46 for Winnipeg.
Week 8: Bye Week.
Week 9: The Edmonton Elks went back to their losing ways in another humiliating loss at BC Place Stadium.
The Elks were again overmatched physically in the trenches in which the BC Lions would win 46-14. Elks’ fans were having memories revisited of the 2021 season all over again.
Week 10: A return home vs the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Edmonton would let this game slip away in a game that was very much winnable.
Edmonton was unable to halt Saskatchewan at key moments in which they would lose 34-23. The offense became stagnant also in the 2nd half which costed a potential victory.
Week 11: A trip to the Nation’s Capital, the Edmonton Elks would play the Ottawa REDBLACKS at TD Place Stadium.
The Elks would win 30-12 in which it would be the best all round showing for the Elks in 2022. The Edmonton Elks would now sit at a 3-7 record.
Week 12: A return home to Commonwealth Stadium, the Elks would play Ottawa again in a back-to-back series.
Unfortunately for Edmonton, this was a blown opportunity to win at home, and halt the consecutive losing streak that was now at 12 games. This was a game that was one of the games that probably the most painful for Edmonton fans.
Week 13: On the road in Calgary for the annual Labour Day Classic vs the Calgary Stampeders, the Elks looked at times when they would be able to cause the upset in Calgary.
Unfortunately, the Elks would fall once again to Calgary in a 26-18 loss.
Week 14: Back at home for the return game vs Calgary, the Elks again went back to their ways in not being able to compete.
Edmonton would fall to the Stampeders in a humiliating fashion in a 56-28 loss.
Week 15: A trip to Saskatchewan, the Edmonton Elks would win 26-24 at Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field.
This was a game that showed a lot of character for the Elks. Aside from the win, they showed a lot of resilience in this game. The score might not show it, but the Elks played well in all phases of the game to grind out a victory.
Week 16: Bye week.
Week 17: Returning home to host the Montreal Alouettes, the Elks would lose a game that was very much winnable. They would fall 25-18.
In this game Edmonton had a lot of chances in the red zone to put the game away and build a comfortable lead. A hot Montreal team took advantage of the miscues by Edmonton in which it was more than panic time to end the losing streak at home.
This time Quebec poutine wins over Alberta beef.
Week 18: A trip to Winnipeg, the Elks were completely outclassed by the class of the CFL. Edmonton would-be victim to another blowout loss at the hands of Winnipeg 48-11.
To make matters worse so far this season, this was the 5th game in which Edmonton would be on the opposite end of blowout games.
Week 19: The lone game vs the Toronto Argonauts at home in the 2022 season, it was another game that was winnable for the green and gold.
Edmonton for most of the game had control of the game and shell-shocked Toronto. The experienced Argonauts squad would create key turnovers and comeback to win 28-23.
This was the 4th game that was very much winnable at home this year for Edmonton.
Week 20: The last hurrah. Edmonton played their last home game for the 2022 season along with their last game of the calendar season.
The football gods were not on the side of Edmonton. Edmonton would fall 31-14 against the BC Lions and end the 2022 season with a 4-14 record.
Week 21: Bye Week.
THOUGHTS OF THE 2022 EDMONTON ELKS
When looking at the season that was for Edmonton, to say that it was a disappointment is an understatement.
The fact that they were inconsistent at the QB position in the 1st 7 games of the season was costly. Nick Arbuckle was shipped out to Ottawa due to poor play where tossing only 2 TD passes and 8 INT’s. Injuries to Tre Ford then occurred in which Taylor Cornelius would come into relief, and complete the 2022 season minus the last game due to injury.
The running game was not consistent until late in the season along with the offensive line. Since adding Kevin Brown to the lineup, the running game was far more productive in adding the much-needed element for Edmonton. The offensive line was much better in opening holes for the running game which was a major obstacle in the Edmonton offence in having a balanced attack game-in-and-game-out.
Unfortunately for the 2022 Edmonton Elks, they lead the CFL in man-games lost. Key figures were gone every week. Take your pick on the current roster, everybody was missing a large number of games either collectively, or in large amounts of consecutive weeks.
The defence was unable to stop the run. The Elks were last in the league in points allowed, and yards allowed. This was most notable on the run defence.
However, even though it was only a 1 game improvement in the win total from 2021, there are a lot of players that gained valuable experience with Edmonton. When most of the squad had only been here for under 2 years wearing the green and gold, at times it was inevitable to display poor play and or struggles on the field of play.
With that said, being the youngest team in the league will benefit the Elks long term. Unfortunately, fans will have to wait another season for the product to improve. And when it does, it will be a special moment for the Edmonton Elks.
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