An 0-1 start in a 18-game regular season isn’t something a CFL team is going to sweat too much about. But the potential of starting off 0-2 in a reduced 14-game season means the margin of error is slimmer.
The Edmonton Elks will look for their first win of the season on Saturday when they host the Montreal Alouettes on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium.
The Elks dropped their season-opener to the Ottawa Redblacks by a score of 16-12.
Head coach Jamie Elizondo says the reality of a shortened season makes every game much more important.
“The fact there are four less games obviously means that each game is magnified more,” he said.
“We’re running a marathon. Winning one race or losing one race isn’t going to make or break our season. There’s no doubt we want to perform better on Saturday and we expect to.”
Listen below: Elizondo talks about learning the head coaching job as he goes.
The last time the Elks started off a season with two-straight home losses was the 2010 season when the team finished 7-11 and missed the playoffs. The last time the Elks were held without an offensive touchdown was in 2019 where it happened on three occasions.
The Elks will welcome back defensive tackle Almondo Sewell who now plays for Montreal after spending nine seasons wearing the colours of green and gold. Sewell is a seven-time West Division All-Star, a six-time CFL All-Star, and a 2015 Grey Cup champion. He’s third in quarterback sacks among active players with 70 behind Shawn Lemon and Charleston Hughes.
Listen below: Elks DL coach Demetrious Maxie speaks on his time coaching Almondo Sewell.
The Elks will make two changes to the starting group.
First, Canadian safety Eric Blake, who was drafted by the Elks in the 8th round of the 2019 CFL Draft, will make his first start. Fellow Canadian safety Scott Hutter has been placed on the six-game injured list with a knee injury. Offensive lineman D’Antne Demery is out with a knee injury — he started at left tackle last week against the Redblacks. Offensive lineman Kyle Saxelid has been added to the roster but is listed as questionable because of a back injury which caused him to miss the season-opener. Defensive backs Jordan Hoover and Jermaine Gabriel will move from the injured list to the active roster. Defensive linemen Christian Rector and Alian Pae have landed on the injured list with hamstring injuries.
The following are the projected offensive and defensive starters for the Elks:
Quarterback: Trevor Harris
Running back: James Wilder Jr. (fullback: James Tuck)
Offensive line: Justin Renfrow, Jacob Ruby, David Beard, Matt O’Donnell, Steven Nielsen
Receivers: Derel Walker, Greg Ellingson, Armanti Edwards, Mike Jones, Shai Ross
Defensive line: Mathieu Betts, Jake Ceresna, Mike Moore, Kwaku Boateng
Linebackers: Nyles Morgan, Kieshawn Bierria, Darius Williams
Defensive backs: Jonathon Mincy, Trumaine Washington, Eric Blake, Aaron Grymes, Jonathon Rose
You can hear live coverage of the Elks and Alouettes on 630 CHED starting with Countdown to Kickoff at 3:30 p.m.
The opening kickoff on The Brick Field at Commonwealth will be at 5 p.m. with Morley Scott and Dave Campbell calling all of the live action. Plus, hear analysis from Blake Dermott and Eddie Steele.