CFL Pass

Fajardo moves ahead in back-up QB battle

SASKATOON — Murray’s musings, mutterings and monsters from the final weekend of the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ training camp at the University of Saskatchewan’s Griffiths Stadium:


The Riders didn’t score a touchdown during Friday’s 37-1 pre-season loss to the host Calgary Stampeders, but nonetheless learned that Cody Fajardo is the best option to back up starting quarterback Zach Collaros.

Fajardo showed control of the offence despite the lopsided score. He was poised and comfortable in the pocket in addition to running for 30 yards on six carries to help sustain drives.

“(Fajardo) certainly separated himself as the Number 2,” Riders head coach Craig Dickenson said Sunday. “We’re going to go through this week and see what happens. Cody took leaps in that game and he looked like he established himself as the lead candidate for the job.”

That leaves David Watford, Isaac Harker and Ty Gangi battling for third on the depth chart. That race is too close to call and should be decided Thursday when the Riders play host to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.


Dickenson said the Riders aren’t interested in Regina-born quarterback Noah Picton, who was released by the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday.

“We have five quarterbacks and we’re fine,” Dickenson said. “I was sorry to see Noah get cut, but I was happy that he played (in Toronto’s pre-season game on Thursday). At least they put him out there and gave him a chance to show what he’s got.”

Picton, who was one of three Canadian quarterbacks with the Argonauts, finished his career with the University of Regina Rams as U Sports’ all-time passing-yardage leader (11,496).

In 2016, he received the Hec Crighton Trophy, which is awarded to the top player in Canadian university football.


Rookie receiver Brock McCoin was released Sunday after suffering a broken right wrist Friday. McCoin had three receptions for 19 yards before suffering the injury.

Middle linebacker Solomon Elimimian remains a no-show on the field while dealing with calf injury.

Safety Mike Edem was also absent, having suffered a shoulder injury on Friday. It’s unlikely that Edem will dress for Thursday’s pre-season game.

The Riders welcomed Justin McInnis, the sixth overall pick in the 2019 CFL draft, to an on-field practice for the first time since training camp kicked off May 19. McInnis has been dealing with hamstring issues.


Top performers from Friday’s game:

Offence: International receiver Austin Ellsworth had three receptions (on four targets) for a team-high 36 yards. He followed up with three nice catches at camp on Sunday.

Defence: Rookie safety Jacob Dearborn had three defensive tackles and one special-teams tackle.

Special teams: Jon Ryan had a net average of 38.0 yards on three punts.


Ryan and his mother, Barb, are to receive honourary doctor of laws degrees from the U of R on Wednesday.

The Ryans are being recognized for their extensive charity endeavours — efforts that warrant additional Monster recognition.