The Edmonton Elks came up empty in their first two games of the season at home on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium. Now they will search for their first win of the 2021 CFL season on the road Thursday night against the Lions (1-1) from B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver.
Read more: Alouettes down Elks 30-13 in season debut
After losing 30-13 to the Montreal Alouettes last Saturday to fall to 0-2 on the season, defensive coordinator and Elks assistant head coach Noel Thorpe says a change of scenery is welcome right now.
“We’re all feeling good about having a short week and flushing last week,” Thorpe said. “Getting out and playing against a divisional opponent in their place, so we’re looking forward to it.”
LISTEN BELOW: Edmonton Elks head coach Jamie Elizondo is focused more on the belief in his team and not an 0-2 start
A significant member of the Elks defence will out for Thursday’s game as defensive end Kwaku Boateng was placed on the team’s COVID-19 protocol list on Wednesday afternoon.
Boateng has been placed on the team’s one-game injured list. Thomas Costigan will start opposite Mathieu Betts at defensive end. Costigan recorded the only sack of the game for the Elks to go along with three defensive tackles last week against the Alouettes. Boateng is one of six players in the CFL to have recorded more than one sack in the young season.
LISTEN BELOW: Elizondo on DE Kwaku Boateng missing Thursday’s game as he’s in COVID protocol
On offence, the Elks are sputtering in the red zone, scoring only one touchdown in six trips inside the opponents’ 20-yard line so far this season. The Elks have averaged just 12.5 points in the first two games despite ranking second in average net yards per game with 363.5 yards.
One matchup to watch is the Lions passing attack led by quarterback Michael Reilly against the Elks passing defence. The Lions are first in the CFL in passing through the first two weeks averaging 369.5 yards per game. The Elks have only allowed an average of 141 passing yards through the first two weeks.
LISTEN BELOW: Edmonton Elks defensive coordinator Noel Thorpe on Lions QB Michael Reilly and his big play ability
Offensive lineman Kyle Saxelid will make his season debut as he starts at left tackle. He missed the first two weeks of the season with a back injury.
Receiver Armanti Edwards has been placed on the one-game injured list with a knee injury. Receiver Jalen Tolliver will draw in — he played with Elizondo when the two were a part of the XFL’s Tampa Bay Vipers.
Other changes see linebacker Brian Walker added to the active roster after clearing COVID protocols, which kept him out for the first two games of the season. Defensive linemen Cole Nelson, Christian Rector and Rossini Sandjong, along with linebacker Brandon Pittman have been added to the active roster.
Running back Walter Fletcher, linebacker Malik Clements, defensive linemen Tibo Debaillie and Andrew Ankrah, along with receiver Hunter Karl have been placed on the team’s practice roster.
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: Kyle Saxelid, Jacob Ruby, David Beard, Matt O’Donnell, Steven Nielsen
Receivers: Derel Walker, Greg Ellingson, Tevaun Smith, Mike Jones, Shai Ross
Defensive line: Mathieu Betts, Jake Ceresna, Mike Moore, Thomas Costigan
Linebackers: Nyles Morgan, Kieshawn Bierria, Darius Williams
Defensive backs: Jonathon Mincy, Trumaine Washington, Jordan Hoover, Aaron Grymes, Jonathon Rose
You can hear live coverage of the Elks and Lions on 630 CHED starting with and extended edition of Countdown to Kickoff at 6 p.m.
The opening kickoff from B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver will be at 8 p.m. with Morley Scott and Dave Campbell calling all of the live action. Plus, hear analysis from Blake Dermott and Eddie Steele.