Should the Elks Bench Trevor Harris Despite the Win?

Trevor Harris
Edmonton Elks quarterback Trevor Harris (7) makes the throw against the Montreal Alouettes during first half CFL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday August 14, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson.

Trevor Harris helped lead the Edmonton Elks to win against the BC Lions. He threw a pick early on but settled into the game nicely as it progressed. Before the week three matchup, Harris struggled and only had one touchdown prior to the game. In his season debut against the Ottawa Redblacks, he threw for 333 yards but also had three interceptions. It’s early, but he only has two touchdowns so far. That should be unacceptable for a quarterback of his caliber, and a tough matchup with the Toronto Argonauts is coming up. The Argos just recently downed the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Tough to Judge Right Now

The Elks don’t really have a choice, they have to start him because he got the win. It helped that receiver Greg Ellingson was uncoverable and James Wilder Jr couldn’t be stopped on the ground. However, the Argos defense pretty much shut down a dominant Winnipeg attack. To be fair, Andrew Harris wasn’t playing so that made life easier. However, Zach Collaros had had a lot of success with the Bombers receivers with and without him. Brady Oliveira couldn’t bust out either.

If the Argos double cover Ellingson, that could very well disrupt Harris’s rhythm. In the CFL, you are allowed to have 12 players on the field and that usually leads to five DB packages. Toronto obviously knows that Ellingson had a great game. They won’t let that happen again. Expect two DBs on him and for the secondary to play aggressive like they did with Winnipeg. Wilder Jr will have to get the ball in creative ways to keep Toronto on their toes. Running at them straight up won’t penetrate.

The Argos defense also was able to knock down Collaros a fair amount, and as a QB, your not in a rhythm if your flat on your back. Harris has shown at least so far that if you make him uncomfortable, he can’t always adjust. The aggressive style of defense may deter Harris from pushing the ball downfield and force the Elks to check it down and play conversiative. In two down football, that won’t win you games, especially when the defense will bottle up you skill players and keep them from working in space.

Who Else Can Start?

The backup quarterback is 25 year old Taylor Cornelius. Cornelius played at Oklahoma State and didn’t start until his fifth and final year at the school. He was pretty good. He went undrafted in 2019 and spent time with the Green Bay Packers, and the XFL’s Tampa Bay Vipers. At OSU during his starting campaign, he threw for 3,978 yards and 32 touchdowns. He also added 122 rushes for 406 yards and 10 touchdowns. If Harris has another bad game, this is who would be going in for the Elks if the tough call is made. This is a make or break game for 35 year old Trevor Harris. A loss would put the Elks at a 1-3 record with a young backup quarterback waiting in the wings. What do you have to lose?

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