Edmonton Elks’ head coach and general manager Chris Jones is fed up with talking about the team’s home losing streak, which now stands at 18 games.
The last time the green and gold won at Commonwealth Stadium was Oct. 12, 2019. The Elks next chance to stop the home losing streak, which will be up to 1,352 days, is in Week 3 against the Toronto Argonauts.
“If we were playing on the road, it would be just as big. Are we disappointed? Hell yeah, we’re disappointed. But at the same time, we’ve got to come out regardless of where we play because in six days, thank God, we’re playing a game over in B.C. and we’ve got a lot of work to do between then and now to become the team that we need to be to beat a very good B.C. team,” Jones told the media in Edmonton.
Jones listed a number of costly mistakes his team made on Sunday in a 17-13 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Not only did Edmonton fail to score after three cracks at the Riders’ one-yard line in the fourth quarter but they had fewer first downs and a far worse second-down conversion rate than the Riders. The Elks also took five penalties in the first six minutes of play.
The veteran coach was also critical of franchise quarterback Taylor Cornelius, who struggled outside of his 102-yard touchdown pass to Eugene Lewis. The third-year passer finished the game completing 13-of-25 pass attempts for 202 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
“He didn’t play very well, he knows it. It’s one of his worst games that he’s played,” Jones said. “[Quarterbacks coach Jarious Jackson] will do the things he’s done with the other quarterbacks that we’ve had in the past and he’ll play better.”
It’s clear that tempers are running high in Edmonton. Team president Victor Cui took to Twitter after the game to speculate that the media “will take a negative spin on an unbroken home loss streak” and ignore the positives, which included an announced crowd of over 32,000, the largest Edmonton has had for a home-opener since 2013.
The Elks broke the CFL’s all-time record for a home losing streak last season, which stood at 14 games and dated back to the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1988. It’s worth noting that the Redblacks are amid a 12-game home losing streak, which dates back to Oct. 16, 2021. Ottawa will have a chance to snap that streak when they play their home-opener on Thursday against the Calgary Stampeders.
Though he readily admits his team has had its challenges, Jones is choosing to focus on some of the positives heading into Week 2. In his mind, change starts with him and his coaching staff.
“The easy thing is to panic and throw the baby out with the bathwater, that’s just not what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna hold together. Coaches have got to do a better job. Number one, we’ve got to come up with game plans that are easier to do so that we can play at a higher rate of efficiency on all three phases. And then we’ve got to take it to the field, and then that’s what we’ve got to do.”
The Elks (0-1) are set to take on the B.C. Lions (1-0) on Saturday, June 17 with kickoff slated for 7:00 p.m. EDT.