Edmonton Elks’ head coach Jaime Elizondo didn’t mince words following his team’s 34-24 loss to the Ottawa Redblacks on Tuesday night.
“We played really poorly in all three phases,” he told the media. “I’m embarrassed. I’m disappointed and I’m obviously frustrated. They beat us in all three phases, there’s no doubt about it.”
Edmonton lost to Ottawa in Week 1, though the Elks dominated on the stat sheet. This was not the case at TD Place on Tuesday as rookie quarterback Caleb Evans and the Redblacks clearly outplayed the visitors to snap an eleven-game home losing streak.
The Elks turned the ball over three times, including a fumble on their first offensive play of the game. Ottawa quickly capitalized on the takeaway, taking a 14-0 lead early in the first quarter before Edmonton had a chance to build any momentum.
Taylor Cornelius showed signs of improvement in his second career start in place of an injured Trevor Harris, finishing the game with 334 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw two interceptions, however, one of which was thrown into the end zone early in the fourth quarter.
“You’re not going to win many games turning the ball over as much as we have,” said Elizondo. “The one that kills you is the one in the end zone when we’re obviously getting back into the game and getting some momentum.”
Budding star kick returner DeVonte Dedmon had an outstanding game for the Redblacks, returning a punt 73 yards for a touchdown early in the second half. Edmonton fired special teams coordinator Chris Rippon in August but the team’s cover units have not shown signs of improvement since the coaching change.
“We knew Dedmon was a real talented player and the fact that we have not seen the improvement there is another area that I’m just very, very disappointed in,” said Elizondo.
It was a tough night for the first-year head coach as he is now 0-2 against the team he left unceremoniously in April 2019. To make matters worse, Kenny Stafford — the receiver Elizondo suggest wasn’t a “culture fit” in Edmonton during training camp — caught a touchdown pass for Ottawa.
“Playing as poorly as we did in all three phases is the biggest area I’m disappointed in,” said Elizondo. “I’m embarrassed by that performance tonight.”