QB change: Edmonton Elks to name Jarret Doege or Tre Ford as new starter

Photos courtesy: Michael P. Hall/OUA & Timothy Matwey/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

The Edmonton Elks will have a new starting quarterback when they return from their bye week, though it remains unclear which passer will be at the helm.

“We’re gonna look at all avenues. Tre (Ford)’s gonna get a solid look. (Jarret) Doege, he’s gonna get a solid look,” head coach and general manager Chris Jones told the media. “We’re not gonna throw Taylor (Cornelius) out the door. He comes from a very good family, he’s got high character, he’ll do our third-down stuff and he will stay prepared. He’s not going to not go into the game. He’s a solid kid.”

The quarterback swap came after Jarious Jackson was promoted to the role of offensive coordinator, while Stephen McAdoo was demoted to an advisory role. Edmonton ranks last in a number of offensive categories and has scored an average of 13.1 per game amid an 0-8 start. The club was shut out for a second time this season in a 27-0 loss to the B.C. Lions on Saturday, prompting the coaching change.

Cornelius has started seven games for the Elks this season, completing 58.4 percent of his passes for 1,250 yards, four touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Doege replaced him as the starter in Week 4 but had a poor outing in his first career start, throwing for 223 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions in a 26-7 loss to the Ottawa Redblacks.

Ford has yet to see the field this season and was recently challenged by Jones to play better in practice. The six-foot-one, 185-pound passer was a first-round pick in the 2022 CFL Draft out of the University of Waterloo and made his first career start in Week 4 last season. He threw for 159 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in a win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats before suffering a shoulder injury early in the next game.

Jackson didn’t confirm who will start for the Elks in their next outing but appeared to give Ford a vote of confidence, at least when it came to his athleticism.

“He’s young, I know he won’t be perfect, he’ll make mistakes as well. But the one attribute that he does have and that he does do well is run with the football,” said the new offensive coordinator. “When things aren’t there or if the pocket’s breaking down, that kid has world class speed in my opinion. From that standpoint, I know he’ll be more apt to use his legs when he can.”

Jackson has previously served as the offensive coordinator for the B.C. Lions (2018-19) and Toronto Argonauts (2020-21). He played quarterback in the CFL for nine seasons and is hopeful that his experience will translate into improved performance for the Elks at the game’s most important position.

“From having a quarterback background, I think I can definitely get through to the quarterbacks with my play call and help them with execution on the field,” said Jackson.

“We have to definitely call things that suit to the quarterback as well as potentially pushing the ball down the field a little bit more, giving our guys that can stretch the field opportunities. It’s hard to go 12 to 18-play drives in this league. We don’t have Ricky Ray here, we don’t have Mike Reilly here. We have the guys that we have, so we have to do things that suit their strong points and bring out their capabilities as quarterbacks.”

The Elks are currently on their first bye week of the season but will return to host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Thursday, Aug. 10 with kickoff slated for 9:00 p.m. EDT.