Cody Fajardo was mad as hell after Saturday’s loss in Calgary.
The TSN cameras showed a clearly animated Saskatchewan Roughrider quarterback shouting in anger on the sideline after his final pass attempt was intercepted by Stampeder defensive back Jonathan Moxey in the dying seconds of that 23-17 loss at McMahon Stadium, dropping the record of the green and white to 5-3.
And the 10 minutes or so Fajardo had to calm down between that play and his post-game press conference didn’t settle him down much, either. He sounds like a guy fed up with his team’s inability to consistently complete long passes.
“50-50 balls are our nemesis. I watch everyone else throw these balls up and make catches (sounds like he’s referring to other offences around the CFL) and obviously I’m a little frustrated right now because anytime it goes up, it seems to be a pick or an incompletion,” Fajardo said.
Let the record state that Fajardo’s frustrations boiled over seconds after he rifled a third-and-10 pass from the Calgary 48-yard line in the direction of wideout Ricardo Louis, only to have it intercepted by Moxey down at the five-yard line, sealing the Riders third loss of the season.
And Fajardo was just getting warmed up.
“It’s frustrating as a quarterback. I know those guys (Rider receivers) are fighting hard but it’s hard to keep throwing those 50-50 balls, knowing they continue to get intercepted or they continue to hit the ground,” Fajardo said.
“It hurts because I know we left a lot on the field. I just felt like we didn’t play very good football, offensively. We got it going in the second half but it’s tough to end a game the way it did and for me, I like to stay positive but this one has been tough — very tough.”
It should be noted that Fajardo did point the finger at himself on several occasions including a miss to Kyran Moore on a third down gamble in the first half.
“I’ve got no answers. We just need to figure something out because we can’t go down the field dinking and dunking the whole time. It’s just very hard, as an offence, to do that. It takes one bad throw, one dropped pass or one sack and you’re out of your game-plan,” Fajardo said.
“Our whole season, it just seems like we’ve had to work so hard for touchdowns because the deep ball is not there. We’re 10-play and 11-play drives and you see us stall out because it’s hard to maintain that for an entire game. It’s hard to go 10 plays for every single drive and that’s where we’re at and that’s the frustrating thing with not connecting with long balls down the field.”
Fajardo sounds like a guy losing patience with some of his receivers.
“We just need to find a guy who can go down and make a play other than (Kian) Schaffer-Baker who’s going to draw a double-team. That’s the biggest thing is finding a guy the opposite of that and I know Shaq (Evans) is coming close but we can’t count on that, he’s still a game or two away, so we’ve got to find somebody and get some confidence with the deep ball.“
Ricardo Louis replaced Paul McRoberts in the lineup for the Labour Day Classic and has been on the game day roster every week since, showing minimal impact in four of his five starts with the Riders last win in B.C. standing alone as the breakthrough performance for the Roughrider rookie receiver.
The loss in Calgary and Fajardo’s obvious frustration with how it ended will surely lead to speculation about who will dress at receiver in the Thanksgiving weekend rematch in Regina.
There hasn’t been a whole lot of adversity in Riderville during the Craig Dickenson era so far and it appears as though that has now changed.