It’s never easy to do, but it’s important to admit when we’re wrong. Former CFL head coach Chris Jones did exactly that on Tuesday when talking about Saskatchewan Roughriders’ franchise quarterback Cody Fajardo.
“You have your opinions on guys and you think, ‘What’s he do good? What’s he not do well?'” said Chris Jones on The Rod Pedersen Show. “When he got his opportunity, he proved me wrong in a few things last year. He’s got tremendous leadership. [Then-offensive coordinator Stephen McAdoo] loves working with him and if you can get along with Mac [sic], you can get along with anybody.”
Jones took over as the head coach and general manager with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in December 2015. He cut fan favourites Weston Dressler and John Chick shortly after, then traded away franchise quarterback Darian Durant after a 5-13 season.
“There was a few people at the top of the chain making a whole lot of money and unfortunately that wasn’t the reality of putting together an entire team,” said Jones. “I’m sure I’ll ruffle some feathers with that comment, but that’s what it is.”
The Riders improved in their second season under Jones, but the team struggled to find consistency at quarterback between Kevin Glenn and Brandon Bridge. Glenn was released after the season, while Bridge was retained as the backup behind Zach Collaros.
“It was unfortunate. KG was balling until he got hurt [in 2017] — hurt his thumb,” said Jones. “Then we turn around and Zach [Collaros] gets hurt [in 2018]. The whole time we were there we were trying to replace a quarterback and unfortunately we weren’t able to do it.”
Jones believes his performance from Winnipeg’s Grey Cup run in 2019 proves that Collaros could have done great things in Regina provided he’d stayed healthy.
“That magic that Collaros has that we knew he had when we were in Toronto — we saw it in Hamilton. That magic that he’s able to bring, you saw it last year. He’s a great quarterback, unfortunately it just wasn’t for the green team.”
Fajardo famously said in October 2020 that he couldn’t see himself playing for Chris Jones because he didn’t feel their personalities would match. The reigning West Division Most Outstanding Player has a new fan in the former CFL head coach who underestimated him heading into the 2019 season.