On Friday, November 19th, 2021, the Edmonton Elks played their last regular-season game at B.C. Place Stadium.
The result was a major defeat at the hands of the home team the B.C. Lions, who destroyed the Edmonton Elks in all 3 phases of the game. The end result would be a 43 – 10 victory for the B.C. Lions.
When the CFL schedule came out for a shortened 14 game schedule, it was a great day for the CFL which football would finally be played for the 2021 season. This was a positive day for the CFL and football fans in Canada, as we would slowly be allowed to attend a live game.
For Edmonton Elks fans, there were a lot of positives on possibly making the post-season for 2021. And why not. Their roster on paper was pretty good.
Trevor Harris at QB, James Wilder Jr at RB, WR’s Greg Ellingson, Derel Walker (Although up there in age, is very reliable and is still a good depth option to have), Mike Jones, and Jalen Tolliver just to name a few.
On the defense, Thomas Costigan, Jake Ceresna, Derrick Moncrief, Kwaku Boateng were great tandems anchoring the defensive front 7.
The secondary was not bad either with Trumaine Washington anchoring the secondary.
JUST BECAUSE ITS GOOD ON PAPER, IT’S SOMETIMES DOES NOT LEAD TO SUCCESS
Just like a lot of sports, free agency and draft picks don’t always lead to instant success.
Although the 2021 Edmonton Elks was not full of a star-studded roster like some other teams in the CFL, there was some optimism in which the squad did look like a team that will compete for a playoff spot.
Each week became more painful to watch as it seemed that the Elks were never in a game.
Trevor Harris although had shown some flashes, was nowhere near the form that he once had when he was an Ottawa RedBlacks, and during his 1st year in Edmonton for the 2019 season.
Everything just seemed out of place for the Edmonton Elks in 2021.
WHO WILL BE THE STARTING QUARTERBACK IN 2022?
A lot of fans were surprised when Edmonton traded Trevor Harris to the Montreal Alouettes on October 17th, 2021.
Only days later on October 26th, 2021, Edmonton acquired Nick Arbuckle from Ottawa via a trade who was with the Toronto Argonauts during the 2021 season. Nick Arbuckle did show signs of struggles in the Toronto offence and fell victim to better play by then starter Mcloud Bethel – Thompson.
Although backup Quarterback Taylor Cornelius never took a pro football snap until this year, it clearly showed that there is more development needed moving forward. Anthony Calvillo also went through the same experience. Anthony Calvillo has numerous struggles with various teams in which it was not until he landed in Montreal, where then he finally broke out to multiple great seasons. Could Taylor Cornelius become a great player in this league? Only time will tell.
The 4 quarterbacks up for free agents this year that will be all be a hot commodity for various reasons are Jeremiah Masoli, Dane Evans, Jake Maier, and Bo Levi Mitchell.
Will Edmonton pursue any of the 4 quarterbacks, or begin to look elsewhere?
There is no doubt that if you are banking on only a 1 season success in Jake Maier, it could potentially backfire on you. Recent acquisitions occurred in 2017 when the Toronto Argonauts acquired James Franklin from Edmonton. James Franklin had all the tools to take the next step of being a starting quarterback, only to be an average at best quarterback.
Matt Nichols went 0 – 3 with Ottawa this year after having great seasons in Winnipeg. Mind you that the Winnipeg team was stacked with a lot of offensive weapons as a good part of that core are still with the team today in Andrew Harris, Rasheed Bailey, Drew Wolitarsky, Nik Demski, Kenny Lawler, and Darvin Adams just to name a few.
Do the Calgary Stampeders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats find a way to retain both of their quarterbacks in Jeremiah Masoli, Dane Evans, Jake Maier, and Bo Levi Mitchell, or will some be released to test free agency?
Only time will tell in February when free agency begins
IN WALLY BUONO WE TRUST
When the Edmonton Sun broke the news that the Edmonton Elks hired Wally Buono, there was a lot of joy in Edmonton.
There is nothing but positives in landing Wally Buono. His resume speaks for itself in what he had accomplished during his years as either a general manager, coach, and or an executive in both Calgary and B.C. respectively.
5 Grey Cups. (1992, 1998, 2001 with Calgary, 2006 and 2011 with BC)
13 West Division titles from 1990 – 2018 with Calgary and B.C.
EDMONTON WILL BE AGGRESSIVE THIS YEAR IN UPGRADING THE TEAM
The seed has been planted so far with Wally Buono. This will only be the beginning in upgrading the team both short-term and long-term.
Although they are questions at quarterback, Edmonton will be aggressive in acquiring a head coach also.
Both Mike O’Shea and Orlando Steinauer are up for contracts. Does Edmonton look for long-term success from both coaches? Only time will tell between now and free agency.
It was a surprising year, to say the least from the outcome of the Edmonton Elks in 2021. Nobody saw this coming. The positive is that there are some existing pieces in place for success. Wally Buono is the perfect hire, at the perfect moment right now for the Edmonton Elks.
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