Upon Further Review: Edmonton Elks

Upon Further Review is a series that looks back at each team’s 2021 season, their key free agent additions and other staff and roster changes and looks ahead to their 2022 campaign.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.cfl.ca/2022/03/09/upon-further-review-edmonton-elks/
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The offence looks really good. Good depth on OL & @ National Receiver, a bounce back from Walker neede. Could always use Carter if need be, & Martavis Bryant is a name to watch. Wilder is a good, big RB. The big question is QB.

Defence is a work in progress. The Elks were terrible vs the run. Bringing in 2 old veterans in Henry & Charles should help. Ceresna is very good with 13 sacks in 31 games as an Elk, 2nd in the CFL with 2.62 tackles/game. Rookie DT Rector had 4 sacks in 11 games. The DE's are a different matter. Rookie DE Costigan had 6 sacks in 11 games & Simmons likely is the other DE. Depth isn't there IMO. They're set @ DB which allowed the 2nd fewest yds & big plays last season. Three returnees & Gainey replaces Washington. Rookie Lyon had 2 INT's in 5 games & led CFL in tackles/game. For an appetizer, CFL fans potentially get an amuse bouche in Duron Carter @ CB. DB's Lacey & Morgan are solid @ LB but Moncrief leaves a big hole @ SAM.

ST's, a sore point, has been upgraded with a half dozen veteran ST's brought in but kicking is a real issue. Reports have Castillo landing in either Winnipeg or Edmonton & that would be a crucial signing. The schedule sees them on the road for 3 of the 1st 4 games so they'll be challenged.

In short there's work to do on D & kicker. If they can sign a good kicker, the Elks may surprise. At this point I see them 4th.

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It would be tremendous to have Jon Ryan join the Elks

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Speaking of QB question marks...

I expect the Elks will end up with two diversely different quarterbacks, each with their own game plan. If there is one thing Jones knows, it's how to disrupt a defence. That will be part of the plan for sure.

Hopefully there are other up sides to all the QB's signed. That is we get a development guy or two. A real solid bring them up through the system thing.

It's gonna be fun to see who comes out on top but the fallout from this is a bunch of new talent that may look for employment elsewhere. That upswell in available talent is like the tide. It raises all ships.

Although you have to question the QB room & note it, it's not the biggest concern IMO. 1) They have a really solid OL. 2) The much maligned Steven McAdoo has a pretty good history with green QB's. I've said it before - Reilly was a 2nd yr starter when McAdoo took over & under him became a CFL star, GC MOP & winner. Fajardo as a 1st year starter was West MOP, Franklin a highly sought after FA & nobody got more out of Bridge. I think either/both of Arbuckle & Cornelius will have a good chance of succeeding there. And someone will fill the Jordan Lynch role as a run threat & special teams.

I am going to make 3 predictions for the Elks:

  1. Chris Jones will make significant improvements and they will tie Calgary for third in the west at 8-10. Winnipeg at 12 wins and Sk with 10...BC last!
  2. Duron Carter (Arguably the biggest wasted talent in CFL history and only Jones will put up with it time and time again...Why?) will start strong and be a fan favourite and then be in the news for all the wrong reasons by year end causing the !#1# to hit the fan.
  3. None of the active QB's in Edmonton will actually be the starter come Year end, someone new that Jones digs up will be the starter.
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Deon Lacey will fill the hole left by Moncrief imo. Also think Cole Nelson will work well in rotation with Henry and Charles.

Don't think Jones will over pay for Castillo either and would think there are others coming.

I see a renaissance season in the making with strong fan support. Season series with Calgary will decide first place. No easy points like last year.

Upon further review: Change that stupid name!! You are a laughing stock!

Thanks for the overview – pantsonfire – overall I feel they’ve upgraded most of the roster (especially OL, receivers, DB’s) over last year’s debacle. Any thoughts on QB – JT Barrett? It’s clear there will be lots of competition come training camp. Cheers!

I thought the Elks Defence had the same problem Ottawa did. You can't expect your D to be on the field and play well 40 minuets a game.

Truthfully, I think Cornelius or Arbuckle will stick. Past that - who knows. Cornelius has the edge though for that cannon of an arm of his. The deep ball was a big part of the game in 2015 and I don't see where those coaches would want to change that.

I see Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton 1,2,3. I don't know if the Riders can make up for all the defensive talent they lost on the defensive side of the ball. Losing 3 of 4 starting DB's will be a tough thing to overcome. Not to mention one of their best linemen, and several linebackers.

100% agree. Definitely upgraded. The D needs a few bodies but Jones has shown he has an eye for finding talent on defence. Moncrief, Leonard, Marshall, McCoil - all top notch players he brought into the league. Have no idea on Barrett. But I think they're going to get better as the year goes on & would not be surprised to see a big jump in wins. A lot of good pieces in place there.

[quote="Squishy21, post:11, topic:77060"]
... The deep ball was a big part of the game in 2015 and I don't see where those coaches would want to change that.I see Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton 1,2,3. I don't know if the Riders can make up for all the defensive talent they lost on the defensive side of the ball. Losing 3 of 4 starting DB's will be a tough thing to overcome. Not to mention one of their best linemen, and several linebackers.
[/quote

I have Winnipeg @ #2 behind Calgary? Why - see quote below:

It’s probably safe to assume that (Sergio) Castillo will end up in Edmonton or Winnipeg by the time training camp rolls around, but the team that doesn’t get him is going to be in trouble. The Bombers wouldn’t have won the Grey Cup without Sergio.

Hard to argue that. The Bombers were under 50% FG collectively with the 3 guys before Sergio. There's questions on OL (1 National backup with no experience. Eli unsigned, lost Dobson to USFL so very thin). Ellingson in, Lawler AND Adams out & thin there too. I still like them but those areas have to be addressed or the Bombers are in trouble IMO. Complacency may be issue too. Bombers group of veteran receivers might be worst in West & only teams with proven RB's in West are Calgary & Edmonton. They will be the favourites but have lost 6 starters on O & D, their kicker & returners, most of them All-Stars. Expecting some tight races in both divisions.

Give it a rest man! I don't like the change either, but what's done is done.

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What I really meant was throw their names in a hat and pick 1-3. I don't know about ranking them specifically this early. There is still too much to be done rosters are final.

I don't doubt that adding Castillo would be a big bonus for the Elks but I would also bet there are more guys out there that could fill the job.

Yeah, I would agree with that. At this point it's all just throwing darts at the wall. Most of the teams will have some significant changes come June & it will be interesting to see some pre-season games this year to get a proper evaluation on some of the incoming talent, something missing last year. Nothing wrong with a little controversy at this time. We're in the doldrums so nothing much better to talk about. Usually easy to get the Rider & Bomber fans riled up.

Castillo was money last year & an allstar in 2019. Of the 15 kickers who attempted FG's the bottom 7 were virtual unknowns, except maybe Crapigna. So it's a crap shoot, no pun on Crapigna intended. Not sure why the Elks went away from Whyte other than Whyte maybe decided to move on. Not like everyone is a Jones' fan so who knows.

Riders defensive pass stats were near the bottom of the league. The guy they will miss is Purifoy. But, I believe the Riders will have the best linebacker group in the CFL. Dean, Sankey, Moncrief and Teitz. Edmonton will improve, but I do not see a team that will compete for the Grey Cup. A playoff spot yes. Elks will be most improved team in the west. Stamps and Elks fight it out for third.

...and around when other teams start making cuts.

And in free agency you lost 3 DB's (Gainey, Pirifoy) 2 Defensive Lineman (Micha Johnson was one), 2 Line backers (Lacey and Francis -a Canadian), 1 wide receiver, 1 quarterback and 1 running back (Powell).

And replaced them with 2 linebackers (Sankey, Moncrief*), 1 receiver.

So who's playing DB?

Bold predictions Kellyhelen. Chris Jones is remaking your team in his own image and it's kinda fat. So a slow start it will be. All these new guys will take a while to 'gel' but by season's end the Elks will be a much improved club I'm sure. I agree that Duron Carter will likely continue to disappoint and that none of the current QB's will be world beaters. For that reason I truly believe that Jones will try to snag someone in September RIGHT after NFL clubs make their final cuts.

Justin Dunk mentioned that J. T. Barrett's contract includes an unusually high incentive of $10,000 for winning the Most Outstanding Player or Most Outstanding Rookie Awards. While there is almost no chance he wins the MOP and a long shot he wins the MOR, Dunk thinks that the inclusion of such a clause is a sign that Barrett will get a legitimate opportunity to demonstrate that he is worthy of playing in 2022.