Chris Jones & new Edmonton coaching staff not paying attention to ‘outside noise’

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

Edmonton Elks’ head coach and general manager Chris Jones brought some familiar faces back to the organization when he hired Stephen McAdoo, Jarious Jackson, and Markus Howell to serve on his coaching staff.

“We’re just trying to put as good a staff together as we possibly can. We have a big job to do there in Edmonton and we can’t worry about any of the outside noise or what anybody says,” Jones told the media on Tuesday via videoconference.

“We’re certainly hoping that the fans are receptive to a good group and again — we’ve got a good group of guys and the whole key is to try to win as many football games as you possibly can. We’re not going to sit here and overpromise and underdeliver.”

McAdoo, the team’s new offensive coordinator, and Jackson, the team’s new pass game coordinator and quarterbacks coach, held the same roles under Jones during his original stint as Edmonton’s head coach (2014-15). They also followed Jones to Saskatchewan immediately following the Grey Cup in 2015, which left some fans feeling jilted.

All four coaches served on Ryan Dinwiddie’s staff with the Toronto Argonauts this past season. Jackson was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, McAdoo was the offensive line coach, and Howell was the passing game coordinator and receivers coach. Jones joined the team midway through the season as their de facto defensive coordinator.

Jones believes the strong familiarity between the veteran coaches will allow them to hit the ground running with their new (old) team.

“They know what’s expected. We could come and practice tomorrow — you know, we could fly in today and practice tomorrow, so the group knows what we gotta do. They know the agenda of how things roll, and most importantly for myself, I’m hiring better people than I am coaches,” said Jones.

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

Jones and McAdoo worked together well before their time together in Edmonton, serving on the same coaching staff in Montreal for six seasons from 2002-07. The pair share a strong bond with Jones suggesting they’ve virtually become family.

“It’s a yin and yang. I’m very positive and got tremendous personality and Mac’s [sic] on the other side of the equation,” said Jones with a laugh. “He’s as much like a brother as I’ve had. He’s an outstanding football coach. We didn’t hire anybody that doesn’t bring something to the table.”

“It’s been a tremendous time with Chris,” said McAdoo. “I’ve learned a lot from him. We’ve been together and been through a lot of trials and tribulations and kinda learned from those processes, almost to the point that when he’s thinking of something I’m almost thinking the same thing.”

Jones was asked about the status of Noel Thorpe, who remains under contract after serving as the team’s defensive coordinator in 2021. He declined to comment, saying the team is “only talking about our offensive staff” at the moment.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.