Riders’ offensive coordinator Jason Maas: what Cody Fajardo did in 2019 was ‘not a fluke’

Saskatchewan Roughriders’ offensive coordinator Jason Maas seems confident that Cody Fajardo can avoid a sophomore slump in 2021.

“It’s not a fluke. When you do it for 17 straight games like he did it, it’s not a fluke, I can assure you that,” Maas said on 620 CKRM in Regina.

“I’ve watched enough film of him, I’ve seen how he operates — the throws that he can make, the great feel that he has for the pocket, and his ability to break down a defence with his legs. All that’s going to come back, and that’s all going to be the same every time he plays.”

Fajardo took over as the Riders’ starting quarterback in Week 2 of the 2019 season after Zach Collaros suffered a head injury in the season opener. The University of Nevada product threw for 4,302 yards, 18 touchdowns, and eight interceptions over the course of the season en route to being named a CFL all-star.

“One thing that I notice about Cody is he understands the game plan. He understands what’s expected of him, he studies really hard, he gets to know a game plan and then he goes out and tries to execute to the best of his ability,” Maas said.

Fajardo is dual-threat passer capable of moving the ball with his legs. In 2019, he carried the ball 107 times for 611 yards and ten touchdowns. Maas, who was hired in December 2019 after being fired as the head coach in Edmonton, will look to get Fajardo acquainted with the new offensive system quickly.

“We want to get him comfortable in the offence, comfortable thinking the game through. The more reps he’s going to get, the better he’s going to become,” Maas said. “For us having talked the lingo for one year and now getting a whole other off-season with it, it’s only going to help his maturation in our offence without having gone out and played yet.”

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The 28-year-old passer has seemingly limitless potential and Maas knows it. Fajardo is entering a contract year and will arrive at training camp in 2021 as the unquestioned starter. If he’s able to make the most of the opportunity, there’s no telling what the reigning West Division Most Outstanding Player could accomplish in Regina.

“That’s what I’m looking for him to take the next step — understand the offence like nobody else, be very comfortable in it so that you’re reacting and not thinking at all,” Maas said.

‘The more reps he gets, stays healthy, he’s just going to mature as a quarterback and get better and better in my eyes.”

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