Montreal Alouettes’ quarterback Cody Fajardo is looking forward to making his first start with his new team, which he’s expecting to do against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday.
“I’m just excited to get out there with live bullets again and get hit again. That’s the hardest thing about camp as a quarterback is sometimes you get throws off that you normally wouldn’t in a game. I thought our guys up front have done a great job against our defensive line that gets after the quarterback,” Fajardo told the media in Montreal.
“I feel like I’ve had some much better days these last couple days. I got off to a slow start, which is to be expected when you’re with a new team, new players and trying to get new relationships.”
It remains to be seen how long Fajardo will play when the Ticats visit Percival Molson Stadium later this week. Franchise quarterbacks typically play between one and two quarters in the preseason, though the former West Division nominee for Most Outstanding Player will let head coach Jason Maas determine how long he remains in the game.
“As a competitor, you want to play all four quarters, especially not playing in the first game but I know that Coach Maas and management is going to do what’s best for the team. As a competitor, I can’t take that as they’re not giving me a chance to go out there and have fun. If it were up to me, I’d love to play as much as possible,” said Fajardo.
“I want to play as much as possible but I’m not really lobbying or pushing. Whatever Coach Maas has in mind, that’s what I’ll do.”
The 31-year-old didn’t travel for Montreal’s first preseason game, which ended in a 30-27 victory over Ottawa after Jose Maltos kicked a 42-yard field goal with no time remaining. Former Redblacks’ quarterback Caleb Evans started the game for the Als, though second-year passer Davis Alexander and former Eastern Michigan standout Mike Glass III took reps under centre as well.
Fajardo was impressed with how the young passers played, though he found it difficult to be one of several veteran players who didn’t make the trip to the nation’s capital.
“I thought that the three quarterbacks that played all did a great job. It wasn’t an easy situation to be in, you can never really get into a flow that way but that’s what Coach Maas wanted to stress. With myself being a backup in this league before, that’s kind of how it goes is you never know when your number is going to be called and you’re going to be called upon to win the football game,” said Fajardo.
“It’s tough, especially when you watch the team play and you feel like you’re not part of the team when you’re not there. It was an exciting win and one thing I kinda stressed to the young guys was that it’s the first time we’re going to put this new Alouettes brand on tape. They made a lot of us veterans proud fighting until the end and that’s what happens in the CFL, it always usually comes in the (last) three minutes.”
Montreal’s three young quarterbacks also drew praise from Maas, who has yet to determine who the club’s backup will be. Alexander completed 10-of-14 pass attempts for a team-leading 115 yards and one touchdown. Evans completed 10-of-15 pass attempts for 78 yards, while Glass completed five-of-seven pass attempts for 47 yards.
“I would say they all did a good job. We corrected all the film and graded them out and they’ve got one more game to compete, two more practices to go. We knew it’d be a competition of the whole camp and two games to decide on who will be the backup,” said Maas.
“The effort level was extremely high during that game, as it should be and as you would expect for a first preseason game with guys wanting to make a great first impression. All in all, that is what I was most proud of and then how they played together and the celebration at the end with with Maltos. Carrying him off the field, that tells you our team is coming together and they’re excited for playing for one another.”