The headline is obvious isn’t it? It’s like the elephant in the room for the Edmonton Elks franchise who haven’t won a home game since October 12, 2019. I was going to title this article Edmonton Elks Week One Wrap Up. But after watching the Elks offense sputter in the final minutes of their 17-14 home opening loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders on June 11, “Weak One” might be a more appropriate way to describe how this game went.
When you have first and goal in the final four minutes of a CFL game on the opponents one yard line and can’t punch it in, there’s something wrong that needs fixing right away. The Elks coaching staff need to address things in a hurry before another CFL season gets away on the Elks.
A Tough Loss For the Elks
I listened to the post game show on the Elks Radio Network flagship station 630 CHED, and I wasn’t sure who to feel more sorry for after the Elks season opening loss. I felt sorry for the Elks defense, led by Jake Ceresna, who were great from start to finish. I also felt sorry for the Elks broadcast team of Morley Scott and Dave Campbell who have probably run out of words to describe a team that has now lost 18 straight home games. I mean what can you say? The Elks had this game gifted to them, and somehow they found a way to lose. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come in 2023 for the Edmonton Elks.
A Tribute to Christian Saulsberry
Edmonton has always been a first class organization, and they continued to show why by honouring their fallen teammate Christian Saulsberry in their first home game of the 2023 CFL season. Saulsberry offered a lot of promise as a kick returner last season, he brought hope to EE fans, but sadly his life was taken from him on December 17, 2022 in Memphis, Tennessee.
The Elks honoured Chrisitian by welcoming Saulsberry’s family, including mother Melissa Smith, father Vince Smith, sister Caitlyn Smith and grandmother Erma Saulsberry to the home opener. The team also featured Saulsberry’s number ‘25’ painted on the turf in both end zones.
The Positives for the Edmonton Elks
Elks head coach Chris Jones has always been known as a defensive specialist, and that was on full display in game one at home. If the Elks offense can get their game on track, the team could be a force in the 2023 CFL season. But right now there are a lot of question marks.
I would have QB Taylor Cornelius on a short leash and have QB Tre Ford ready to go. I thought Ford showed a lot of promise in the 2022 Elks season before being injured. If Cornelius can’t deliver in the Elks next two games against the BC Lions and Toronto Argonauts, I wouldn’t hesitate to put Ford in to shake things up.
Elks Next Game On The Road in BC on Saturday June 17
The Elks roll into BC for the Lion’s home opener starting at 5pm MDT on Saturday, June 17 looking for their first win of the season. BC looked strong in their first game, a 25-15 win on the road against the Calgary Stampeders. Lions QB, Vernon Adams Jr. looked impressive in the victory, and the Elks will definitely have their work cut out for them.
Lions Fans Hoping Adams Jr. Can Help Them Forget Nathan Rourke
The BC Lions appear to be the CFL’s current QB factory. Not only were they lucky enough to watch Nathan Rourke in the 2022 CFL season, they now may have one of the best QBs in the CFL in Adams Jr. I’m still a big perplexed by Rourke leaving such a great situation in BC to go become #3 on the depth chart with the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL behind Trevor Lawrence and C.J. Beathard. Yes, Rourke signed a standard rookie NFL deal that carried an annual salary of US$750,000, $915,000 and $1.030 million if completed. His agreement reportedly includes some guaranteed money although it’s unclear just how much that is.
Hoping Nathan Rourke Gets His Shot at Greatness
When it comes to Rourke’s situation, it’s not like he’s Warren Moon, Doug Flutie or Jeff Garcia. All three of these fine CFL QBs signed NFL contracts to play, not to carry a clipboard. I know Rourke will be exposed to some great NFL coaching, especially from Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson, but he’s 25 years old, and isn’t going to supplant Jaguar’s franchise QB Lawrence anytime soon. I believe Rourke would’ve been better off finding a situation where he’d have a better chance of seeing more playing time. Or just staying with BC where he could’ve added to his legacy and built an even more impressive resume before moving to the NFL.
I’m a big Rourke fan. I thought he was the best thing to happen to the CFL in decades. I’m really disappointed that he’s gone to the NFL, and I can understand moving south for financial reasons and to live out his dream of playing in the NFL. I just wish he was still here in the CFL because he gave fans from all teams a Canadian born QB to look up to and cheer for despite our hometown loyalties.
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