Jason Maas didn’t realize social media negativity bothered Cody Fajardo as much as it did

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Saskatchewan Roughriders’ offensive coordinator Jason Maas didn’t realize the negativity Cody Fajardo recently received on social media affected him until he spoke about it to the media.

“I read some of his comments after the two-game losing streak. I didn’t realize things bothered him as much as it did, personally. I would like him to not let that stuff bother him, but I’m glad that he does talk about it and I think it’s good to talk about it,” Maas said via videoconference.

“I just hope that he understands that the belief in the building in him is at a super high level. I tell him all the time, ‘We have faith in you and in everything you do.’ A part of that reason is just the work ethic he has and the understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Fajardo struggled in back-to-back losses to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, completing 61 percent of his passes for 380 yards and four interceptions. He missed the second half of the Banjo Bowl with a mild concussion but has played well in Saskatchewan’s two games since, leading the team to victories over Toronto and B.C.

“I just see nothing but a guy that works his butt off getting better and he’s going to continue to do that each and every week. It’s not always going to go your way. Even if you look at our last game, he throws a pick right before the game-winning drive and all we did was come to the sideline and talk about it and say, ‘Hey, it’s a great learning experience,'” said Maas.

“Any decision you make — good, bad or indifferent — helps you for the next play if you let it and that’s one thing that I know about Cody. He’ll let the next play happen and let all those other plays provide information and make him better.”

Fajardo engineered a 54-yard touchdown drive in the final two minutes of last week’s game, capping it with a one-yard quarterback sneak on third-and-goal. The win moved Saskatchewan into sole possession of second-place in the West Division standings at 5-2, while B.C. fell to 4-3.

“Cody’s about as competitive a quarterback as I’ve been around. I’ve been fortunate to be around really great ones and he’s as competitive as all of them,” said Maas. “He wants to win as badly as anybody.”

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.