The Alouettes | The new value of Cody Fajardo

What has changed the most in Cody Fajardo’s daily life since winning the Gray Cup? He became more credible with his students.


The Alouettes quarterback spoke to members of the Montreal press for the first time this year, Monday afternoon, with confidence and enthusiasm.

During the off-season, the MVP of the last Gray Cup continued to give clinics to young quarterbacks in the Reno, Nevada area.

Winning the Gray Cup “certainly helped my credibility,” he admitted. They listen a little more. »

All joking aside, Fajardo quickly got back into training after his team’s victory. If it usually takes a month to get back in the saddle and heal certain injuries, two weeks will have been enough this time. “I told myself that all the teams that didn’t make it to the Gray Cup were already at work. »

However, he left a gap in his schedule to attend a ceremony in Southern California a few days ago. His brother was voted Teacher of the Year in Orange County, so the quarterback had to be there, especially since several students from his high school cohort were there too. “2023 has been a good year for the Fajardo family. It will be hard to do better in 2024.”

Do better

Barely a year ago, Fajardo arrived in the Quebec metropolis with the desire to make a name for himself again in the Canadian Football League. He was convinced, at the time, that he could still help a team win. This was probably his last chance to prove it.

PHOTO DOMINICK GRAVEL, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Cody Fajardo

A year later, he is about to begin a season during which his mission will be to convince the skeptics that the Alouettes’ dazzling and surprising epic in 2023 was not a simple stroke of luck or a vulgar combination of circumstances.

It’s amazing what 365 days can do.

Cody Fajardo

The work done by the team’s staff during the off-season is enough, he believes, to believe that the Alouettes will still be among the contenders at the end of October.

“We kept the same core. Usually, teams that win the Gray Cup lose a lot of players. But we lost very little to other teams in the CFL. »

He notes the return of four of the five starting receivers among general manager Danny Maciocia’s feats.

“Austin Mack is a player that you simply cannot replace,” Fajardo said of the only receiver to have defected, due to an agreement with the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL.

And even though Mack is irreplaceable, Fajardo praised Tevin Jones, one of the team’s new acquisitions.

Both rubbed shoulders with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Seeing Fajardo’s facial expression when the 31-year-old receiver was mentioned, the quarterback will find a great ally.

“What he did last year was really impressive. Everyone talks about his age, but this guy can fly around a field. He is a player who always puts the team first. He is one of the most special players I have ever been around. And when he doesn’t have the ball, he doesn’t complain or scream to get it. He blocks or he does whatever he can to help the team win. He’s one of the most competitive guys I know. If we eat pizza, he’ll want to turn it into a competition! »

So even though Jones will be the new kid on the receiving end, “it feels like we have five returning.” We already have a great established relationship. »

New backfield

Fajardo also wanted to comment on the departure of William Stanback. The running back signed with the British Columbia Lions during the opening of the free agent market.

If I signed with the Alouettes, it’s largely thanks to him.

Cody Fajardo, about William Stanback

For a long time, “William Stanback was a key piece for the Alouettes. He has been so consistent. »

PHOTO CHARLES WILLIAM PELLETIER, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Cody Fajardo handing the ball to William Stanback during a game in July 2023

But things changed and after two more complicated seasons for the veteran, the divorce between the Alouettes and him seemed inevitable.

So there will be a battle for the starting job in the backfield when the team’s training camp opens in picturesque Saint-Jérôme. Walter Fletcher, Jeshrun Antwi, not to mention newcomer Sean Thomas Erlington, will be in the thick of the race for the starting running back position.

“Fletcher is more than competent to take over as the starting running back. Antwi was also in the fray on big plays up until the Gray Cup. I remembered one block in particular that he made in the Eastern final. »

Fajardo will spend most of his time training until his return to Quebec. While he usually starts releasing balloons again at the beginning of March, a recent layer of snow that fell in northwest Nevada threw a bit of a wrench into his routine.

For the first time in his career, Fajardo will pilot the team to beat in his return to competition. And his motivation is overflowing. It is therefore not a weather irregularity that will slow it down. Even less the fear of disappointing. “Perhaps the fans will have a little less patience if things get worse quickly (…) It’s encouraging, especially since several players in our team deserve more recognition and they will be able to show it from the first week. »


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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