When the 2022 CFL season was concluded in week 20 for the Edmonton Elks on Friday, October 21st, 2022, it was another lost season that would translate to no postseason play for the green and gold.
The green and gold would fall to the heavily favourite BC Lions 31-14 on that day seeing BC Lions as the much-improved club in 2022.
If there was any motivation amongst the Edmonton Elks roster, they can take a quick look at the BC Lions that departed the field that day into the locker rooms at Commonwealth Stadium.
With that said, and as much of a bad season that was for the Edmonton Elks in 2022, the last quarter of games played showed some promise for the future going forward for 2023.
And in that, The Edmonton Elks finally began to sign some key players that can contribute to the club in 2023.
On Wednesday, January 11th, 2023, the Elks’ wasted no time locking up Defensive Lineman Jake Ceresna on a 2-year deal.
Without a doubt, the signing of Jake Ceresna was so vital heading into the 2023 season.
What Jake Ceresna brings to the defensive side of the ball is paramount for the growth of Edmonton moving forward. Not only is he a player that wrecks a lot of havoc on opposing Offensive Linemen, but he was one of the few bright spots on the Elk’s defence in 2022.
During a season in which roster players got hit with the injury bug, Jake Ceresna was no different. However, in 12 games played, Jake Ceresna had completed his 2022 season with 31 tackles, 10 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles.
Jake Ceresna hit a personal statistical best in achieving the 10-sack mark in his young professional football career.
And he will only get better.
The Elks did the right thing in signing Jake Ceresna sooner rather than later. Because after all, there would have been 8 other CFL teams lining up to sign him to upgrade their rosters.
In another rebuilding year, having Jake Ceresna is a luxury to have.
On Friday, January 13th, 2023, the Elks signed veteran Wide Receiver / Slot Back Emmanuel Arceneaux.
“There was unfinished business with how the 2022 season went,” Arceneaux said. “I just felt there was so much more I had to give on and off the field. If God was going to give me an opportunity to come back and play the game that I love and take so much pride in, it’s one of those opportunities that I couldn’t just leave on the table.” Via goelks.com
Edmonton fans might question the reasoning behind this signing and that is a valid point. However, you have a player that has done some great things for the Elks in 2022.
For a player that only played 12 games in 2022 and you guessed it, injuries of course like the whole roster in 2022; Manny Arceneaux was still a clutch player when the Elks needed a big play.
He would complete the 2022 season with 39 receptions, for 513 yards, and a lone touchdown. 228 of those yards were in the form of yards after the catch.
Edmonton fans could only imagine had there been consistencies at Quarterback from the beginning of the 2022 season, none of this would have been an issue.
The Manny show still has some gas left in the tank, and with Taylor Cornelius making strides in the 2nd half of the 2022 season, the offence looks a lot brighter by having a veteran leader to mentor a rookie in Wide Receiver Dillon Mitchell.
On Saturday, January 14th, 2023, the Edmonton Elks signed utility player Ante Litre.
“I’m coming back because we have a lot of unfinished business from last year,” Litre says. “I believe in my teammates, I believe in the coaches, I’ve got a lot of faith in this team. I think we can make a good run at the Grey Cup this year, so I’m excited to get back to work with everybody.” Via goelks.com
“I imagine building off the role I had last year, whether that’s being the starter or a special teams guy, whatever duties I’m asked to do, I’ll do it for this team,” says Litre, who was voted Unsung Hero in the 2022 Elks Fan Awards. “Whatever it takes to win, I’m going to do it.” Via goelks.com
“Edmonton is going to get the best version of Ante Litre,” says the six-foot-zero, 229-pound back. “I’m going to come in the best shape I’ve ever been. There’s not going to be any gas spared in the tank for this run this year.” Via goelks.com
Signing Ante Litre is only a positive for the Edmonton Elks going into the 2023 season prior to when free agency officially begins on Tuesday, February 14th, 2023.
What the Edmonton Elks get Ante Litre is a player who is one of the most unselfish players in the CFL.
Antre Litre enjoys all the playing time he gets. More importantly, is effective in areas of the game where an offence is in need of short-yardage situations.
Need an important block in the backfield for your Quarterback to buy time to develop a play?
Ante Lite is your man.
Need a lead block to open a hole in the running game?
Antre Lite is your man.
Need a special team tackle?
Ante Lite is your man.
Need a short-yardage catch out of the backfield?
Ante Litre is your man.
In a surprising move on Monday, January 9th, 2023, the Edmonton Elks signed veteran Defensive Back Louchiez Purifoy after being released by the BC Lions.
And the waiver pick-up will only strengthen the defensive backfield for the Elks in 2023.
In Purifoy, the Elks receive a calibre player that has an abundance of experience.
At the age of 30-years old, he is still in prime shape in his respected position. And last season clearly showed that.
He would be instrumental with BC in registering 55 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 1 sack.
This will only add to the secondary that will need all the help it can get. The Elks were a team that was exploited in many areas of the deep ball. Moreover, there has been little to no news on the current status of fan-favourite Arron Grymes.
Will he be fully healthy to play in 2023?
If so, then he will be a key figure for the Edmonton defence which was very noticeable in his absence during the 2022 season.
Let us just say that in Aaron Grymes, Louchiez Purifoy, and up-and-comer Scott Hutter, the secondary is in a lot better hands than it was in 2022.
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