Fajardo to start for Riders Friday; Leonard suspended another game
Cody Fajardo will start against the Toronto Argonauts on Friday after suffering a concussion in Week 5 of CFL action in Saskatchewan’s loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
“If I’m healthy enough to play and I feel good enough to play it’s ultimately partially my decision as well, and so I feel good enough to play a football game,” the Riders’ quarterback said.
Head coach Craig Dickenson said he has 100 per cent confidence in Fajardo after a short week of practice.
“I think he’s going to have a good game,” Dickenson said on Thursday. “Day one (of practice) he passed with flying colours, day two we increased him, passed with flying colours, day three, same thing.”
Fajardo left Saturday’s game early after taking a hit from Bombers defensive lineman Willie Jefferson. The quarterback said it wasn’t the hit that injured him, but the contact his head made with the turf following the sack.
“I can take a big hit all day,” Fajardo said. “The turf monster is the one that got me.”
Fajardo referenced the fact that the injury occurred during a game that had less value than the Grey Cup. He campaigned to re-enter the game, but the Riders exercised caution.
“I went through the protocol in the locker room and honestly didn’t feel like anything stood out, my memory was good. I remembered everything I could think of in the game,” Fajardo said.
Receiver Kyran Moore says it means a lot to have their number one quarterback cleared for the game.
“He’s our leader, it’s always great to have your leader out there with you,” Moore said. “Even though we got all the faith in Isaac just with Cody back on the field it gives certain people a level of confidence.
Saskatchewan has failed to score a touchdown since week three. Fajardo hasn’t thrown a touchdown since Week 2 and will try to re-ignite the offence after throwing four interceptions over the last two outings.
“I want to get back to a good completion percentage I think that’s when we’re at our best when I can facilitate the ball to eight or nine receivers, move the chains,” Fajardo said.
Moore even reached out to Fajardo following the Labour Day game, which the Riders lost 23-8.
“I actually text Cody after the Labour Day game and was saying we weren’t connecting on any deep balls and if there was anything I can do to help him,” Moore said.
Meanwhile, the Riders will be without A.C. Leonard for Friday’s game. The defensive lineman was suspended for one more game Thursday; the league citing “verbal abuse and unacceptable behaviour towards the doping control officers” as the reason for the suspension. Leonard was previously suspended two game for failing to give a sample for drug testing.