Can a team that is 0-9 actually be considered a playoff team? In the CFL you can. The Edmonton Elks under Tre Ford at Quarterback showed improvement in their 38-29 home loss to the powerhouse Winnipeg Blue Bombers on August 11. Was it enough improvement? Possibly.
The Elks are only four games back of the Saskatchewan Roughriders for the final playoff spot in the West (three games back of the Calgary Stampeders for fourth place). And when you look at a crossover spot, the Elks are only three games behind both the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Ottawa Redblacks. But the winning has to start this week, including the Elks upcoming game in Hamilton on Thursday, August 17.
The Elks Have Nine Games Left To Make Up Ground
The Elks almost pulled off their first win of the season against the Bombers – who are currently the best team in the league at the moment. Yes, they squandered a 22-0 point lead. But when watching this game, I felt that if the Elks would’ve been playing a weaker opponent, I believe they could’ve won the game. All the Elks need at the moment is one win. A confidence booster, and if it comes this week in Hamilton, or at home next week against Ottawa–that will go a long way for a team that’s clearly had the crap kicked out of them both mentally and physically in 2023.
Are the Elks As Bad As Their Record Shows?
Maybe or maybe not. The next four weeks will reveal where this team truly stands as all four games are against Hamilton, Ottawa and then Calgary back to back on Labour Day and the Labour Day rematch in Edmonton. Look it’s clear that the Bombers, Toronto Argonauts and the BC Lions are clearly the class of the league in 2023. The Montreal Alouettes are good but not elite. And with the remainder of the CFL teams anything can happen.
Despite how some people feel about Elks Head Coach Chris Jones, I think he’s still a good coach…and a better coach than he is a General Manager – but that’s another topic for another day. Jones along with new Elks Offensive Coordinator Jarious Jackson might be able to pull some rabbits out of hats. It seemed like the change at the OC with Jackson replacing Stephen McAdoo and then naming Ford the starting QB helped bring some life and creativity to the Elks. It’s what they needed, considering how bad things were looking before they made the change.
The Real CFL Season Starts On Labour Day
The reason I still have some optimism is that this is the CFL we’re talking about. Anything can happen. That’s what makes this league so great. If the Elks can somehow dig deep and win three out of four games in the next four weeks, then it’s really game on. The only way to foster confidence is by winning one game, gain back some optimism and belief and let it snowball from there. With weaker opponents on the horizon, this is make or break time for the Elks. It could be interesting to watch.
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