Both the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Edmonton Elks really needed a win in Week 7! The Bombers were coming off their second loss of the season – losing 28-31 in overtime giving the Redblacks their second win in Week 6. The Elks were looking to finally put a “1” in the win column and were hoping the once dominant Bombers had some holes that they could exploit.
In fact the Redblacks did find some holes to exploit…running holes for Taylor Cornelius. Some fans that I talked to before the game did not think that Cornelius would be a threat with his legs…but as I predicted the Elks certainly scouted some running plays from Crum and the Redblacks vs. Winnipeg. And it played out as I had predicted that Cornelius would be the leading rusher for the Redblacks that game. Yet after the first half the Bombers came out and looked like a different team and completed the task at hand, beating the beleaguered ELKS.
If you were just to go with performance and statistics there would be a number of front runners for the Bombers. Starting with the two time Most Outstanding Player Zach Collaros. He completed 20 of 24 passes and eclipsed the 300 yard passing mark with 308 yards, two touchdowns and one interception – an interception that I can not completely lay blame on him for.
If you move over to the rushers and remember that Winnipeg’s run game against the Redblacks looked almost as bad as the running backs for both the BC Lions and the Saskatchewan Roughriders, this week! Yet in Week 7 the run game found its traction again and Oliveira was able to put up 110 yards on 17 carries which equates to a 6.5 yards average per carry. That really sets a team up for second and very manageable! As I said in last week’s Truth Bomb article, without the run the Bombers have none.
Or you could move over the the defensive side of the ball and still have a few options. Abu Daramy-Swaray led the Bombers with 6 defensive tackles. The Bombers are going to have to keep bringing in and developing these young players if they want to be successful for years to come (and especially the 2025 Grey Cup that they will host).
Alternatively you could go with Demero Houston, Ricky Walker, Adam Bighill, Willie Jefferson, or Jackson Jeffcoat who all had an impact in the game. But this week I will give the Game Ball to whoever on the coaching staff won the Jock last game. While I criticized the coaching staff last week, this week the coaching staff went into half time and made the adjustments. You will remember the game was ties at 6-6 at half time and the Bombers ended up winning 28-14.
Check out the highlights and decide who you would have given the Game Ball to.
In a very untypical fashion, Bombers’ kicker Sergio Castillo missed both a point after and a field goal! Yet, neither of those blunders cost the Bombers the game. So instead I am going to look towards the Elks. Usually the Jock is awarded to a player, or coach that made a terrible decision in the game. However, I am going to deviate from my standard practice.
The Elks need to start winning! That is not a surprise to anyone. All you have to do is watch an Elks home game and you see how empty the stands are…you have front row seats wide open! The Elks must be bleeding money right now. We know that in the four years prior they lost 18 million dollars! In the same article the Elks’ President & CEO said that they hope to break even this year…I do not see that happening. They also signed a lease extension for 5 years with Commonwealth Stadium.
When asked about why attendance is so low, the team’s President & CEO Victor Cui had this to say,
“We’re in competition with YouTube, Netflix and Disney Plus, and all of these things are competing for our fans’ attention, so we have to find more creative ways to attract them,”https://edmontonjournal.com/sports/football/cfl/edmonton-elks/edmonton-elks-hope-to-break-even-in-2023-after-four-year-18m-loss-commonwealth-stadium-lease-renewed
I almost have to give Victor Cui the Jock for that comment! All teams are facing that reality, but the difference between teams that are drawing fans and teams that are not has a lot more to do with on field performance!
But what will really earn Victor Cui the Jock is letting Chris Jones have ALL of the following titles; GENERAL MANAGER, HEAD COACH, & DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR. With all of those titles it is going to be difficult to replace Jones, a move that I see more and more obvious each week.
A shake up is needed in Edmonton, unless they believe they are on a trajectory towards winning…I am not convinced that they are! Sure, they were 6-6 at half with the Bombers, then got outscored by 14 points in the second half. Maybe they do not have the talent it takes to win – I have seen that in Winnipeg as the Bombers were moving into their new stadium around 10 years ago.
One could ask, “If they do not have the players to win how is that Chris Jones’ fault?” Simple! He is the General Manager. The General Manager is the boss of the scouting staff. Moreover, the General Manager assesses the teams weak spots and is in charge of all football operations.
Maybe Jones knew he was walking into a tire fire in Edmonton and only took the job if he was given all of those titles to provide himself protection when the team would struggle as is has. Maybe Edmonton could not find anyone else that wanted to come and take on any of those roles.
I spoke with an Elks’ insider last week and he told me he could see the Elks only winning 1 game this year! That is completely unacceptable! A change at the General Manager position is an absolute must if the Elks keep trending this way by Labour Day – but will be very challenging due to the many roles Chris Jones has.
So this week’s Jock goes to whomever thought it was a great idea to give one person the titles of GENERAL MANAGER, HEAD COACH, & DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR with a struggling franchise! Jones will have nobody but himself to blame if the ship does not get righted…but the Elks have dug themselves a whole if they need to fill any 2 or even all 3 of those positions mid-season!
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