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Edmonton Elks proceed their combating spirit even when playoffs ghosted

‘As a staff, we have got to be open to taking that criticism, and I believe that is going to be the top level of our staff’

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So, what now for the Edmonton Elks?

The down-and-out membership that has grow to be synonymous throughout the continent with dropping over the previous three years is simply that: Down within the standings to the purpose the place they’ll’t presumably get any decrease, and to date out of the playoff dialog they may as effectively be formally eradicated.

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That’s concerning the story for the staff that went winless over your entire first half of the schedule, on the way in which to lastly, mercifully placing an finish to a monstrous 22-game house dropping streak that made them the butt of the joke when it got here to skilled sports activities in North America.

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Besides there’s one chapter the staff stubbornly continues to put in writing because it toils away, on their own in final place with a 2-10 report after failing to win on Labour Day — a win that will have pulled them even with each the Calgary Stampeders and Ottawa Redblacks at three apiece and put them proper again within the hunt for the playoff crossover.

As an alternative, a 35-31 loss to the Stamps at McMahon Stadium on Monday ended all of the momentum the Elks had gained from successful their two earlier video games, and places them proper again on the very backside rung of the league’s ladder.

However for as a lot because it’s been acquainted territory all season lengthy, if not a lot of the previous three seasons, these Elks proceed to be a scrappy bunch. In a race that may very effectively be over lengthy earlier than they’ve come into sight of the end line, they’re doing rather more than merely lacing up their cleats, week in and week out.

Whereas they haven’t fairly discovered the successful method relating to defending leads over these previous 4 weeks since Canadian quarterback Tre Ford ascended to the helm of the offence, the very fact they’re 2-2 in that span and have led at one level by at the very least two scores in each of these losses (22 factors towards Winnipeg and 15 towards Calgary) should be famous. Particularly when so many different groups of their place would have packed up the tent lengthy earlier than the circus leaves city.

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“They’re going to (struggle), they’re going to proceed they usually’ll bounce again too,” Elks head coach and normal supervisor Chris Jones mentioned following the Labour Day loss he known as as powerful as any he’d ever been concerned in. “They’re a younger staff. I believe we’ve bought 23, 24 youngsters which might be first- or second-year guys, and also you’ve bought to present all of them the credit score on the earth.

“They had been powerful in all three phases, the quarterback hung in there and we bought after (Calgary quarterback Jake Maier) within the first half and sacked him a bunch. They got here again with a great plan within the second half and bought the ball out of his fingers rather a lot faster. We didn’t deal with very effectively within the fourth (quarter) and that actually harm us.”

Edmonton Elks
Edmonton Elks head coach Chris Jones calls performs towards the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on July 13, 2023. Picture by David Bloom /Postmedia, file

His staff has gone from incompetent to aggressive over the primary two-thirds of the season, and the subsequent step is studying the right way to maintain onto a lead. Contained in the locker-room, the main focus stays on that course of versus these outcomes.

“It’s the identical factor we’ve been up towards,” Jones mentioned of the remaining six video games. “We’ve simply bought to proceed to work and determine the right way to do the issues essential to win video games.”

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It’s simpler mentioned than carried out, after all.

“The problem is we’ve simply bought to return to the drafting board and see what we did effectively and didn’t do effectively,” mentioned Elks receiver Steven Dunbar Jr., whose two landing receptions Monday added to his team-leading 5 on the season. “And we’ve bought to be open to teaching. As a staff, we’ve bought to be open to taking that criticism, and I believe that’s going to be the top level of our staff.

“We’ve bought a younger staff, so it’s going to be an enormous problem for us to have the ability to sit again and take the issues that we did unsuitable constructively and get again to work.”

If that they had the reply, they seemingly wouldn’t be 2-10.

“I don’t know, we’re going to must go have a look at it and attempt to determine it out,” a dejected Ford mentioned of studying to maintain a lead, after posting a career-high 135 dashing yards within the loss. “I assumed we got here out of halftime fairly first rate and bought a landing, so I assumed we picked up our efficiency in that manner. As a result of normally after we’d come out of halftime, we’ve been a bit bit boring.

“However then I felt like we bought sort of flat once more and I believe that’s sort of what price us.”

The staff has come a great distance from earlier within the yr, after they had been struggling shutouts by the hands of the B.C. Lions.

“I believe it means we are able to play with anyone. We will play with Winnipeg, we are able to play with Calgary, I assumed we should always have gained (Monday),” Ford mentioned. “However typically you don’t get the hand you want and it’s what it’s.

“We’ve simply bought to get again to work.”

E-mail: [email protected]

On Twitter: @GerryModdejonge

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