The Edmonton Elks captured their first win of the season last week in Hamilton and now they have a chance to collect their first win streak of the season this week.
The Elks host the Calgary Stampeders on Thursday, the second of four meetings this season between the two teams.
In the June 25 matchup in Calgary, the Elks led the game for 39 minutes before giving up the lead and ultimately losing the game 30-23.
As well as the defence played, they felt they left too many plays on the field. They would like to have the script they used in their 29-25 win over the Tiger-Cats last Friday. Down by the 13 points, the defence forced four turnovers in the second half, including two interceptions and a scoop and score by Elks defensive back Jalen Collins.
Jalen Collins scoop and score securing the Edmonton Elks first win of the season
Tackling was an issue in the first three games and it was much improved on Canada Day.
Elks defensive lineman Christian Rector picked three of those defensive tackles and says it was a point of emphasis in practice leading up to the game.
“We work on that in practice and it carried over into the game,” Rector said. “I think we have seen a difference so we just need to continue and build on it. We can take that moving forward and that will be good for us.”
The Elks sacked Tiger-Cats quarterback Dane Evans three times. Rector recorded one of those sacks.
The Elks have recorded seven quarterback sacks in the first four games, good for fifth the the CFL. In the their last meeting with the Stampeders, the Elks failed to get to quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell.
Rector says more heat on the quarterback is something they can do much better come Thursday.
“Just to play smarter ball, knowing the down and distance, and knowing the situation,” Rector said. “Just being more familiar with what we do and how we execute.”
Sacking Mitchell hasn’t proven to be an easy task. The Stampeders are tied for first in the CFL with the B.C. Lions. Head coach Chris Jones says his pass rushers need to be creative in how they rush Mitchell.
“Well, he knows right where to go with the football and the ball comes out often in just under two seconds,” Jones said. “A lot of times you’re going to have to play in the throwing lane and do a great job of knowing right where he’s going to throw the football, and try to something in the coverage aspect to make him hold the football.”
Edmonton Elks head coach Chris Jones on putting pressure of Bo Levi Mitchell and moving practice indoors on Tuesday
Locksley banged up
On Tuesday, the Elks took their practice indoors to get away from the rain. Receiver/quarterback Kai Locksley left practice early after suffering an apparent shoulder injury. No update was given after practice. In four games this season, Locksley has three rushing touchdowns and has recorded 51 receiving yards.
Thursday’s game between the Elks and Stamps will be heard on 630 CHED starting with Countdown to Kick-off at 5:30 p.m. The kick-off on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium will be at 7 p.m.
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