Monday, July 15, 2024

QB Cody Fajardo needs to validate Alouettes’ standing because the CFL’s greatest

“This crew needs to validate that we’re constructing one thing particular and it wasn’t simply this unbelievable run we went on. We would like it to hold over into 2024.”

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If 2023 was the season of redemption for Alouettes quarterback Cody Fajardo, this 12 months will probably be about consistency and establishing himself as one of many CFL’s elite.

Or as Fajardo put it following Wednesday’s observe at Stade Hébert in St-Léonard: “The validation. It’s about consistency, exhibiting I can do it 12 months after 12 months. After which validating issues, making all these individuals who questioned whether or not it was a one-hit factor or we bought fortunate. We need to go on the market and me, personally, I need to validate it.

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“This crew needs to validate that we’re constructing one thing particular and it wasn’t simply this unbelievable run we went on. We would like it to hold over into 2024.”

Fajardo and the Als are off to a superb begin. Not solely did Montreal win its season-opening sport at Winnipeg final week, 27-12, in a Gray Cup rematch, it defeated a crew completely and convincingly that was in search of revenge and redemption. The Blue Bombers have been held and not using a landing for practically 59 minutes.

And, regardless of throwing a first-quarter interception on a go supposed for Cole Spieker, Fajardo acquitted himself effectively, finishing 20 of 28 passes for 254 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Tyson Philpot — one masking 76 yards on a flea-flicker.

Now Fajardo and the Als need to do it once more, Friday evening at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium.

Fajardo misplaced his beginning job at Saskatchewan late through the 2022 season, deemed the scapegoat for the Roughriders’ deficiencies. Whereas it’s at all times straightforward to choose on a crew’s first-string quarterback, Fajardo knew his time was over when the Riders signed former Als pivot Trevor Harris as a free agent. Montreal basic supervisor Danny Maciocia signed Fajardo as a result of he was the perfect of the remaining lot accessible.

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Whereas Fajardo wasn’t spectacular with the Als, he was constant and managed most video games successfully. He accomplished greater than 71 per cent of his throws, passing for 3,847 yards and 14 touchdowns whereas being intercepted 12 instances. He then went out within the Cup finale, saving his greatest for final. Fajardo handed for 290 yards and three touchdowns and was named the sport’s most useful participant, main the Als on a late seven-play, 83-yard drive in 1:42 for his or her come-from-behind victory, defying the favoured Bombers, who didn’t suppose Fajardo may beat them.

“We scored touchdowns once we wanted to,” Fajardo mentioned of the Als’ first win. “We put collectively some good drives. I believed we protected the ball rather well, minus the early turnover by me. Aside from that, when it will get right into a turnover battle we’re going to win a number of these video games. Our offence does a extremely good job of defending the ball, enjoying the sphere place (sport) and discovering a approach to be in it within the fourth quarter.

“I felt like I may have performed higher,” he added. “For me, personally, it’s about getting again right into a rhythm. Feeling slightly extra settled within the confines of the pocket. I felt like, at instances, my ft have been slightly bit sloppy, which led to some inaccurate balls. With not having such a powerful arm, I pleasure myself on being correct.”

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Defensively, the Als produced three turnovers and held quarterback Zach Collaros, a two-time CFL most excellent participant, to 209 passing yards. Collaros by no means appeared comfy on the sphere and was sacked twice — as soon as by new defensive deal with Derek Wiggan.

“I used to be in a position to witness their run defensively final 12 months,” mentioned Wiggan, signed as a free-agent from Calgary. “We observe at a degree, have constant habits, we’re aggressive and that carried over to the sport. I see why they went on their run and gained all of it final 12 months.

“Consistency every single day. There’s a excessive compete degree each drill. We don’t need to quit something. We compete, execute and maintain one another accountable. Particulars are emphasised.”

Edmonton opened its season with a 29-21 loss at house towards Saskatchewan. The Elks appeared in management however have been outscored 21-3 within the closing quarter.

Nonetheless, they gained’t be taken calmly by the guests, pressured to journey west for a second consecutive week.

“We need to maintain the momentum going,” Fajardo mentioned. “We’ve got a tricky activity towards an Edmonton crew that’s extraordinarily higher than the place they have been final 12 months. It’s not going to be straightforward and being out west once more, back-to-back street journeys is at all times troublesome. I feel guys are prepared for the problem.

“If individuals need to speak about us being the greatest crew within the league, we have now to go on the market and be constant and do it, every week. We are able to’t have per week off. That’s not what the perfect groups do.”

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