‘You are drunk right now’: Riders’ Cody Fajardo pokes fun at backup Mason Fine’s questionable throwing strategy

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Saskatchewan Roughriders’ quarterback Cody Fajardo was a guest on teammate Charleston Hughes’ Better With Age Webcast this week and a hilarious exchange concerning backup Mason Fine has taken on new meaning following the team’s loss to B.C. on Friday.

Fajardo was pulled by head coach Craig Dickenson with minutes remaining in the first half and replaced by Fine, sparking a quarterback controversy in Saskatchewan. However, Hughes and Fajardo seem to have serious doubts about Fine’s strategy when it comes to how he aims his passes.

“I was eavesdropping on a conversation that you and Mason was having on the bus and he was saying that as a quarterback, he said he doesn’t look at the receiver when he throws the ball,” Hughes shared, clearly bewildered. “He says he watches the ball leave his hand the whole time and he watches the ball in flight and he don’t look at the target.”

After a pregnant pause, both host and guest descended into raucous laughter.

“He’s a young buck,” Fajardo managed to choke out. “He’s gonna learn fast that he better look at the target.”

Still just 25 years old, Fine’s unusual approach to accuracy has served him well throughout his football career. He was the first two-time Gatorade Player of the Year in the history of Oklahoma high school football, before an outstanding collegiate career at the University of North Texas in which he was twice named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year.

Now in his second season with the Riders, Fine is using a different sport to justify where his eyes go.

“I was dying laughing sitting behind y’all, like that don’t sound right. He’s trying to compare it to golf,” Hughes said. “‘It’s like golf, when you swing the club at the golf ball, you don’t look at the target, you look at the ball in flight as it’s leaving the club.’ I’m like, ‘That ain’t a good way to golf either!'”

Fajardo offered further explanation as to the context of the conversation and shared that his own reaction was no less flabbergasted by the backup’s revelation.

“We were talking about Jordan Spieth and when he putts, he doesn’t look at the ball, when he putts, he looks at the hole,” Fajardo noted.

“We were talking about that and then [Fine] was talking about throwing a football and not looking at the receiver and I’m like, ‘You are drunk right now. I don’t what or how you can do it like that.'”

Fine appeared stone-cold sober on Friday night in Regina, completing 16-of-26 passes for 210 yards, a touchdown and an interception in relief of Fajardo. Despite looking the ball into his targets, the starter could muster just 41 yards passing in his two quarters of action and added two interceptions.

The Riders have not yet named a starter for next week’s rematch in B.C. but Fajardo’s struggles this season have soured many in the fan base on his potential. Should he be relegated to the bench, the 30-year-old’s mentorship of Fine will become all the more important — though he believes only game reps can cure the youngster’s curious way of pulling the trigger.

“When you are, I call them carnival quarterbacks, sometimes in practice, we’ll try and aim at targets. Sometimes when you’re throwing at buckets, you’re staring at the bucket and you’ll take a peek at the ball once and now, but you won’t just stare down the ball,” Fajardo noted.

“I didn’t have the heart to break his heart at that moment but I think he’ll learn the hard way when he gets out there and gets some live bullets going.”

Rider Nation simply hopes that Fine will adapt to that pressure better than his counterpart has in 2022.