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Quarterback Change Could Be What the Edmonton Elks Need

Edmonton Elks head coach Chris Jones didn’t reveal who will start at quarterback against the Ottawa Redblacks for their upcoming game on Friday, June 30 but it looks like Jarrett Doege might be behind centre when the Elks take to the field. The native of Lubbock, Texas was taking first team reps in practice this week and is coming off a strong showing when he threw for two touchdowns with one interception against the Toronto Argonauts in the Elks 43-31 loss at home.

Doege came to the Elks from the University of Troy in Alabama and had previously played at Bowling Green from 2017 to 2018 and West Virginia from 2019 to 2021 before transferring to Western Kentucky. Doege replaced Elks starter Taylor Cornelius in the second half against Toronto and seemed to bring a much needed spark to the Elks offense in their loss against the defending Grey Cup champs.

Quarterback Carousel in Edmonton

The Elks who find themselves winless at 0-3 to start the 2023 CFL season have had their share of change at quarterback so far in this young season. Kai Locksley who was the #2 QB behind Cornleius to start the season was released on June 26 after some controversial moments in the Elks loss to the Argos. In his only rep from scrimmage, Locksley fumbled the ball and was replaced by #3 man Doege.

The Elks signed Khalil Tate on June 27 and continue to have four QBs on the roster with Doege, Cornelius, Tate and Tre Ford who, as of June 28, is listed on the 1-game injured reserve list. It’s hard to determine what’s happened to Ford, as he showed such promise in his rookie season last year, but hasn’t seen active duty so far in 2023.

Elks Are Favourites Going into Ottawa

In his early lean, TSN CFL Analyst Davis Sanchez is picking the Elks by 3.5 to beat the Redblacks on June 30th. The Redblacks will be without injured starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and will turn to 26 year old QB Tyrie Adams. The graduate of Western Carolina will be tasked with trying to help Ottawa get into the win column at home as the Redblacks have lost 24 out of their last 26 games on home turf. It’s not 0-19 at home like the Elks, but it’s not much better. If the Elks can carve out a win in Ottawa they’ll move to 1-3 on the season, putting pressure on the 1-2 Calgary Stampeders to win in Winnipeg on July 7.

Fan Experience at Commonwealth Still Good Despite the Home Losses

My daughter and I had tickets in the “Salute to TSN 1260 section (QQ)” last home game against Toronto. Despite the loss, it was still a great experience to be at Commonwealth. Something I noticed was the exuberance of the young fans, and I hope the Elks can continue to draw families to their games. From what I witnessed, there’s still some enthusiasm for the Elks and CFL football despite the low fan turnout.

Hopefully this is rock bottom for the franchise in terms of attendance and on-field performance at home. If the Elks are looking to improve their game even more in terms of entertainment, they may need to look to the west coast for inspiration. BC really set the tone for fan entertainment when LL Cool Jay performed at halftime in the Lions home opener against the Elks. As a lifelong fan of the Green and Gold, I’m hoping the Elks organization and the team itself can experience more wins both on and off the field at Commonwealth this season.

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Dale Bochon Reporter
A fan of the CFL for over 4 decades, Dale Bochon's background is in marketing writing where he worked with the Edmonton Football Club, the Edmonton Oilers and the Edmonton Rush of the NLL.
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