‘It’s asinine’: Elks’ head coach Chris Jones rips Commonwealth Stadium for failure to get scoreboard, sound system working in training camp

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym

The Edmonton Elks were forced to cancel a scrimmage Saturday due to several minor injuries along the offensive line, but head coach Chris Jones has found another outlet for his aggression.

Addressing the media after a shortened practice, Jones admitted that his decision to axe the mock game was partially due to the team’s inability to get Commonwealth Stadium’s scoreboard and sound system working.

“We’re trying to simulate a game and we’re the only team in pro football that can’t get music on their speaker,” Jones grumbled in a press conference recorded by 630 CHED.

“Somehow it’s like putting a rocket on the moon and the fact that we can’t get music out here, we can’t get our scoreboard to keep score in a mock game when we’re preparing for the season or attempting to prepare for the season, it’s a little bit frustrating quite honestly.”

Without directing his criticism at anyone in particular, Jones ripped those in charge of the city-run facility for failing to meet the demands of a professional training camp, stressing that it put his coaching staff at a disadvantage.

“We say football’s important and we can’t get some of the basic necessities done organizationally. That’s frustrating for myself,” Jones continued. “You’re trying to create an environment where the guys want to come out and compete, that emulates a game, and yet you can’t even do the basic necessities in a facility as nice as this right here. It’s asinine to me.”

While the lack of bells and whistles proved to be a nuisance for the Elks’ staff, it was three nagging injuries along the offensive line that were the final nail in the coffin for the scrimmage. None are expected to be out long-term, but Jones did not want to risk their absence for next Friday’s preseason game in Winnipeg, considering them the key to ensuring a fair evaluation of his wide-open quarterback position.

It could prove to be a blessing in disguise, as Jones noted players at camp have had an average of 350 reps apiece thus far, not counting the additional three days of physical strain absorbed by those who attended the rookie camp. The team intends to limit themselves to just one practice a day going forward, but the intensity will need to ratchet up to be ready for next week.

“The rookies that are here, their legs are pretty heavy. I’ve got to look at it and be real smart at how we proceed,” Jones said. “It’s only going to be one a day, but we’ll treat it probably a little bit more like a real game because I want to be able to evaluate apples and apples on Friday night.”