Zach Collaros, Mike O’Shea praise the play of ‘sharp’ Cody Fajardo

Cody Fajardo has thousands fans in Saskatchewan, but he also has at least a couple in Manitoba in the form of Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ quarterback Zach Collaros and head coach Mike O’Shea.

“I think he makes really good decisions,” said Collaros. “He’s able to move around and keep plays alive, which I think is something that you need in this league. I told him after the B.C. game in 2019, ‘Hey man, you’re going to play for a long time. You can move around and extend plays and I think those two things will keep you around for a long time.'”

Collaros was the starting quarterback for Saskatchewan to start the 2019 season when he was knocked out of the club’s Week 1 game against Hamilton. Fajardo took on the No. 1 job in his absence and never relinquished the role, leading the Riders to a 13-5 record and winning the West Division’s nomination for Most Outstanding Player.

Though he was traded to the Toronto Argonauts at the end of July 2019, Collaros spent the preceding weeks helping the Riders break down film and providing Fajardo with scouting reports.

“I think it’s a good relationship,” said Collaros. “I’m very happy for him, obviously. He’s a great teammate and he’ll just continue to get better.”

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym

O’Shea is also impressed with what Fajardo has done during his relatively short tenure as a CFL starting quarterback, particularly with his fast decision-making.

“Cody is sharp, he’s on point, he gets rid of the ball very quickly. He knows exactly where to go with the football,” said O’Shea. “Jason (Maas) runs a good offensive system and he’s had a lot of time to plan and tinker with it and Cody’s had time to digest it and obviously he gets out there and executes it well.”

Saskatchewan currently leads the CFL in points per game at 25.7. They are also first in completion percentage (78.9) and tied for first in fewest sacks allowed (four).

Fajardo has been the biggest key to the Riders’ offensive success and leads all CFL quarterbacks with a 111.4 efficiency rating. He’s thrown for 773 yards, four touchdowns, and only one interception. His league-best completion percentage is all the more impressive considering Saskatchewan has the CFL’s fourth-longest average pass attempt at 8.1 yards.

O’Shea indicated that he wasn’t tempted to play Naaman Roosevelt, who practiced with the Blue Bombers for the first time on Friday after signing as a free agent this past week. The two-time 1,000-yard receiver is one of the CFL’s most sure-handed targets, which could help alleviate some of the issues Winnipeg has had with drops over the past few weeks.

“He would need a little bit more time, but not a lot more time,” said O’Shea. “We’re never looking for an excuse to put somebody in. We look at games the same way that we’ve always looked at them and what gives us the best opportunity to win. That’ll always dictate the roster going forward.”

Must Read