‘If that’s what he needs for motivation, that’s what he can use’: Chris Jones fine with fuelling Cody Fajardo

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The kids would say Chris Jones has moved rent-free into the head of Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Cody Fajardo.

Fajardo admitted this offseason that he’s drawing “a lot” of motivation from the critical comments made by the Edmonton Elks head coach and general manager. Jones said he doesn’t see Fajardo as a passer while praising his longtime offensive coordinator.

“Well, you know what, I mean Cody’s a good kid. What was said was misquoted and I’ll probably get fined for even saying his name again. I was only trying to explain how good an offensive coordinator Stephen McAdoo is — he’s outstanding. He led the league in passing with a couple different guys and that’s really all it was,” Jones said.

“Cody’s an outstanding player, his track record speaks for itself. If that’s what he needs for motivation, then that’s what he can use. All we try to do is win the game. I’m not that smart, you’ll have to deal with Dave Dickenson or Mike O’Shea or one of those guys to be smart enough to play games in the media.”

As a play-caller, McAdoo has only had one quarterback top the CFL charts for passing yards in a season: Fajardo in 2019 with the Riders. That year Fajardo set Saskatchewan’s franchise record with a 71.5 completion percentage while throwing for 4,302 yards with 18 touchdowns against eight interceptions in 17 games. He was named the West Division’s Most Outstanding Player for his performance.

During the 2021 campaign, Fajardo completed 69.6 percent of his passes for 2,970 yards with 14 touchdowns versus 11 interceptions in 13 games. He improved his win-loss record as a starting QB to 21-8 during the regular season and has led Saskatchewan to the West Final twice — Jones never guided the Roughriders there in his time with the team.

However, the defensive guru has a factual point. Under McAdoo, Fajardo averaged 253 passing yards per game compared to 228 in his first season with Jason Maas as offensive coordinator. Maas, Jones and Fajardo will match up three times during the 2022 regular season, Week 2, Week 10 and Week 15 when the man in black makes his return to Saskatchewan.