Fajardo says nothing changes after Roughriders trade Collaros

REGINA — With Saskatchewan trading veteran quarterback Zach Collaros to the Toronto Argonauts on Wednesday, the usual football parlance would now call the Roughriders Cody Fajardo’s team.

General manager Jeremy O’Day and head coach Craig Dickenson, however, prefer a more collective concept.

“This is no one player’s team. This is not my team, it’s not Jeremy O’Day’s team. The whole idea of team is a group of men coming together with a common purpose,” Dickenson said Wednesday.

“Is Cody a leader on this team? That has yet to be determined but this will never be one person’s team for as long as I’m the coach. That defeats the purpose of team. He might be the leader on offence, we’ll let the players figure that out. This is a collective group of men and they feel like playing hard for each other and that’s the whole idea.

“Yes, he is the starting quarterback. He’s got one of 24 starting positions.”

The 27-year-old Fajardo was thrust into the starter’s role when Collaros suffered a concussion early in the June 13 season opener against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, a 23-13 loss. Since then, Fajardo has gone 3-2 as the starter, completing 107 of 146 passes for 1,392 yards and seven touchdowns. He’s also thrown four interceptions.

Fajardo found out about the Collaros trade during a meeting prior to Wednesday’s walkthrough for Thursday’s home game against the Ticats. He described his promotion to undisputed starter as bittersweet and said Collaros served as a valuable mentor over the past six weeks.

While Fajardo is looking forward to the challenge of being the full-time starting quarterback, he isn’t about to make any big adjustments.

“For me, nothing’s going to change,” Fajardo said. “I don’t think I’m going to be any more vocal than I’ve been. I don’t think I’m going to try and do anything more than I’ve already done. I’ve been able to start pretty much the whole year and taking those experiences and moving forward, it’s professional football. At any given time they can bring in another guy if I’m not performing well. I just want to continue to go out and prove to this team that I can win football games.”

Fajardo also isn’t about to let the expectations of the job affect his play.

“There’s more added pressure, because people are going to look at you as the franchise guy now,” said Fajardo. “Like I’ve always stated, any time you play the quarterback position you can’t put any more pressure than what is already on the position … We can’t let this distract us from a pretty good team coming in to play us tomorrow night.

“I just try to take a page out of (former CFL star) Ricky Ray’s book — stay even keeled, no matter what is going on around you.”

Fajardo is in his first season with the Riders after stops with the Argos and B.C. Lions. While he was a backup quarterback with those teams, O’Day felt confident that Fajardo could one day become a starter in the CFL.

“Not to give away my secrets or anything like that but I’m a firm believer that past performance dictates your performance down the road,” O’Day said. “I believe that in order to be a very good or great player, you’ve had to have shown that you’ve got the ability to do it, whether it’s in college or the pros. Cody played at a very high level in college and every time he was given an opportunity at our level, he did well.”


Thursday, Mosaic Stadium

SPEEDY’S ON THE SIDELINES: The Tiger-Cats placed wide receiver Brandon Banks on the one-game injured list on Wednesday. In six games this season Banks has 42 receptions for 554 yards and three touchdowns. He also has returned two missed field goals for touchdowns.

GOING FORWARD WITHOUT MASOLI: Dane Evans will make his first start this season at quarterback for the Ticats, replacing Jeremiah Masoli who tore his left ACL in Friday’s 23-15 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Evans was 13-of-25 for 94 yards in relief of Masoli.

LAUTHER STILL OUT: Riders kicker Brett Lauther will sit out his fourth straight game with a groin injury. Rookie Gabe Ferraro will continue to fill in for Lauther. Ferraro is three-of-five on field goals with a longest of 48 yards.

Just Posted

Red Deer would be the site of potential TV show

A potential TV show aims to bring Red Deer kids across the… Continue reading

Oilsands firms considering diluent recovery units to boost crude-by-rail volumes

CALGARY — Ongoing pipeline project delays and growth in crude-by-rail capacity from… Continue reading

Ex-Eskimos CEO gets new job among flurry of Alberta government appointments

Ex-Eskimos CEO gets job among flurry of appointments EDMONTON — Len Rhodes,… Continue reading

State of mind to be key issue in Alek Minassian trial, judge says

TORONTO — The trial of a man accused of killing ten people… Continue reading

WATCH: ‘Lots to see and do’ at Pioneer Days in Red Deer

Sunnybrook Farm Museum is celebrating its 24th annual Pioneer Days this weekend.… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Thursday The Red Deer and District Garden Club hosts its annual Flower… Continue reading

Two men seriously injured after small plane crashes in Alberta field

BLACK DIAMOND, Alta. — Two people were injured in a plane crash… Continue reading

Two young girls dead after collision in Manitoba, RCMP say

DAUPHIN, Man. — RCMP say two young girls are dead after a… Continue reading

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is condemning violence in Hong… Continue reading

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

OTTAWA — Emotions ran free in Ottawa Saturday as the more than… Continue reading

Liberals unveil $3B sole-source deal for armoured vehicles ahead of election

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government has unveiled plans to award a… Continue reading

85-year-old, lifting since 1950, on track to cinch weightlifting championship

MONTREAL — Olympic-style weightlifting isn’t just about strength or power. It’s about… Continue reading

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson comes out as gay after 40 years

OTTAWA — After 40 years, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has come out… Continue reading

Most Read