When it comes to the CFL feel good story of the year, few can top what Saskatchewan’s backuo quarterback Cody Fajardo is currently authoring this season.
Beginning the season as the team’s backup, Fajardo was inserted into the starting lineup just 3 plays into the Roughriders’ season opener against Hamilton, after starter Zach Collaros suffered a concussion.
Fajardo, 27, has kept the starting gig on lockdown since, guiding the Riders to a 9-4 record and locking up a playoff berth in the process.
Saskatchewan dealt Collaros to Toronto back in July, but Collaros has yet to take the field for the Argos.
Fajardo was 23-of-27 passing for 278 yards and three TDs in Saskatchewan’s 41-16 win over the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday in Toronto, and also showed his dual threat ability by rushing for a game high 80 yards.
“Zach unfortunately went down early,” Roughriders’ linebacker Solomon Elimimian said, according to TSN. “Cody came in and seized the opportunity and really stabilized things for us.
“We’re playing with confidence individually and with each other and that’s something special. We just want to keep going, each game has its own challenges. We don’t want to be overconfident and lose focus and sight of what got you there.”
Fajardo has thrown for 3,140 yards with 13 TDs and seven interceptions while rushing for 476 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.
“The biggest thing was if I got my opportunity to never regret it,” Fajardo said. “Go out, play as hard as I can each and every game because I never know when my last snap will be.
Fajardo is scheduled to become a free agent next February.
“I think that’s one thing many football guys have to understand, you can’t control the way your season or career is going. So for me, it’s playing every play like it’s my last and just lay it on the line for my guys because they respect me and look up to me and so I want to do everything I can to help this team, build this team and be positive.”
Gear up for the playoffs! The Roughriders are ready!!
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Tiger-Cats’ Chris Van Zeyl Planning to Be Vocal Leading Up to Grey Cup
As the Hamilton Tiger-Cats prepare for their clash with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers this Sunday in the Grey Cup Tiger-Cats offensive lineman Chris Van Zeyl is looking to take on a vocal role leading up to the game.
“I don’t care who’s listening I’m going to tell every guy all week,” Van Zeyl said following Hamilton’s East Division win over the Edmonton Eskimos. “(Grey Cup week) is going to be a marathon week . . . for guys new the league or who haven’t experienced Grey Cup week, there are distractions everywhere.
“The team that stays focused the best is the team that usually wins the Grey Cup. If we can lock in for one more week and treat it like it’s going to be our last week together as a family and team, I’m pretty confident in our ability to win the game.”
Van Zeyl has stepped into the starting lineup for the offensive line and has been a big part of the TiCats success this season despite the loss of Jeremiah Masoli to a season-ending knee injury forcing to the team to turn to backup Dane Evans.
“There was no weight of expectation put on me,” Van Zeyl said. “This team embraced me and let me do what I had to do.
“I can’t speak highly enough about the quality of people in this locker room and leading this team in terms of coaches and front office and what they’ve done for me and this organization.”
“I’ve never really been one for personal accolades,” Van Zeyl said. “To be honest, it would mean a lot but if we don’t win the Grey Cup it will be all for nothing.
“I’m going to give that one night, and really that’s all it is — one night — everything but I want to make sure I put my best foot forward so when we’re in the Grey Cup my teammates know they can count on me.”
“I still feel like I’m playing pretty dominant football and I’m going to play until I’m not having fun anymore,” he said. “Honestly, this has been a heck of a fun year for me.
“But that’s a credit to the guys around me and the coaches and preparation that goes into every game. It’s fun to come to work every day, it’s fun to play with these guys and I look forward to many more years with this team.”
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Argonauts Hire Mike (Pinball) Clemons as General Manager
The Toronto Argonauts are bringing in one of the biggest names in CFL history to replace Jim Popp as their General Manager.
Mike ‘Pinball’ Clemons.
Clemons is a former star for the Argonauts on the field, a former head coach, and a former executive with the franchise, so he has a uniquely deep understanding of the team in a number of areas.
The Argos are in the midst of a terrible 2-12 season, following up a bad 4-14 record from last season, so a big change is long overdue and they feel that Clemons can help bring about the change that they need.
Argos president Bill Manning enlisted Clemons’ help last month in an advisory role and Clemons been vice chair of the team since 2009, saying that he turned down a front-office role with the Argos twice earlier this season before agreeing to the position after Saturday’s game.
“I didn’t need a job, I have a wonderful (charitable) foundation I love,” Clemons said, according to TSN.
“I make a living talking to people. I talk and they pay me. I’m not in this job because I need a job. I’ve got a bunch of jobs. I’m here because I love it and I care about our fan base. We want to make it better.”
Clemons knows that building a roster of the right players will be the key to his success.
“It’s not an I thing. If it’s me, this can’t be done,” Clemons said. “We’re going to build a strong, capable team around us. That’s only way we’re going to have any success.”
With the change, Clemons knows that addressing the quarterback position will be high on his priority list.
“We have to build a strong team, no question about that,” Clemons said. “But ultimately, you can’t disguise the importance of that position.”
Now, Clemons takes on the task of turning around a team that has been stuck in a rut and in need of change for the past few years.
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Alouettes’ Tony Washington Out for Season
The Montreal Alouettes will be without left tackle Tony Washington for the rest of the year due to a broken leg, according to TSN.
Washington, 33, suffered the injury during Montreal’s victory over the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday and has undergone surgery for the injury.
Washington was injured when Alouettes quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. fell on his leg.
Washington has played in 13 games for the Alouettes this season, his second season with the team.
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