Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Cody Fajardo spent part of his bye week preparing for the stingiest defence in the league.
Fajardo will meet the Blue Bombers in the Labour Day Classic on Sunday with Winnipeg allowing a league-low 14.75 points per game. Reigning Most Outstanding Defensive Player Willie Jefferson and teammate Jackson Jeffcoat have formed a formidable tandem at defensive end to lead the unit.
“I don’t think you can back off. Over the years I’ve seen both sides of it. Sometimes you overthink it, you have so much time that you overthink it or you try to scheme up so many things,” Fajardo said.
“Sometimes you don’t focus enough on it and you think you don’t want to over-prepare. It’s finding that happy medium. I’m going to get into the film room and see if I can get an early start on those guys because they have a tremendous defence.”
The dual-threat Riders’ signal caller has proven to be a difficult assignment for opposing defences with his ability to throw and run, especially highlighted in the offence installed by play-caller Jason Maas.
The 29-year-old Fajardo has thrown four touchdowns and rushed for two so far in 2021. He’s averaged 258 yards per game through the air and 46 yards per outing on the ground — 304 yards and two majors combined each time out.
“I’m going to have to know everything they’re throwing at us to hopefully be able to move the ball on that great defence,” Fajardo said.
Roughriders’ head coach Craig Dickenson has noticed Fajardo putting in the required work to sustain his success on the field. Even though he wanted the players to enjoy the bye week, Fajardo was in the facility prepping for the highly anticipated match-up with the 2019 Grey Cup champions.
“We want to give guys time off, that’s one of the things that I believe in as a coach: mindfulness. Knowing that there’s other things besides football,” Dickenson said.
“So we tell our players and coaches: get away, go see your families, do something fun for a few days, come back re-energized and recharged and get ready to work.”
Fajardo mixed and matched to his liking.