‘We’re a middle-of-the-pack team that needs to figure it out’: Cody Fajardo ‘frustrated’ with losing streak entering Riders’ first bye week

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The Saskatchewan Roughriders’ 32-17 loss against the B.C Lions in Week 8 was the team’s third straight, putting them at 4-4 going into their first bye week of the season.

“We’re a middle-of-the-pack team that needs to figure it out,” said quarterback Cody Fajardo. 

Fajardo completed 18-of-27 passes (66.7 percent) for 168 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the loss. The six-foot-two, 223-pound quarterback connected with Tevin Jones in the first quarter for the rookie’s second touchdown of the season. In the second quarter, Fajardo found the endzone with a one-yard QB sneak. The Green and White did not find their way past the goal-line in the second half of the game, however. 

“I can only speak for the offensive side,” said Fajardo. “I felt like we moved the ball well in the beginning part of the game. It fell out of rhythm because we didn’t feel like we were on the field enough to stay in rhythm. We have to find a way to stay on the field, convert some second downs, second-and-longs, and go from there.”

Fajardo had to miss the Riders’ Week 7 game due to being in COVID protocol, but it did give him a chance to rest his nagging knee injury. 

“I feel good,” said Fajardo. “I didn’t take any hits to the knee which is good, but I’m at the point where this bye week comes at a great time where I can get healthy,” said Fajardo. 

The 30-year-old came out on Friday night looking confident, but in the second half of the game showed some visible signs of frustration when the offence was unable to put together any scoring drives.  

“I felt like I missed early on a few throws, a little bit of rust from not playing and not getting a full week to prep on a short week,” said Fajardo. “It’s such an emotional game and I’m an emotional player that I’m gonna sometimes show my emotions because I care that much and I want to win football games, no matter how it comes.” 

“Cody is frustrated, I think we’re all a little frustrated, but he’s still our guy. We’ve got great confidence in him,” said head coach Craig Dickenson.

“I want him to get his mind off football and just enjoy being a husband and future father and hopefully come back like everybody else; a little healthier, a little more positive outlook on things, a little more energy because we’re gonna need it, it’s gonna be a tough stretch.”

The California native is heading home for the bye-week to see his expecting wife Laura and family. The star quarterback and his wife plan to have their baby shower on Sunday. 

“Sometimes life outside of football brings you back energized and excited and I’m very thankful for this job, but I think getting away for a little bit will help all these guys in that locker room, including myself.” 

The Riders currently sit fourth in the West after eight games. Nine of Saskatchewan’s 10 remaining games are against West Division opponents.

“I don’t think we’re at full strength as a team, so if we were at full strength, I would probably sound the alarms, but we’re missing some key players and we also have some key players with injuries,” said Fajardo.

“Hopefully we get some guys back here and hopefully this bye week gets guys healthy so we can come back to full strength and really show the West what kind of team we have.”

The Riders next game is August 13 against the 2-5 Edmonton Elks. 

“On the day I fly back from the bye week, I’ll turn my brain back on and watch the game, but there’ll be no CFL, no social media, no nothing for me,” said Fajardo. “So now’s your time to say whatever you want to about me.”

Olivia Lawrence is a University of Regina School of Journalism graduate who covers the Saskatchewan Roughriders for 3DownNation.