BOMBSHELLS: A tale of two quarterbacks: Plenty of similarities between Bombers Streveler and Riders' Fajardo
REGINA — There are a lot of similarities between Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Cody Fajardo and Winnipeg Blue Bombers pivot Chris Streveler.
They’re close to the same height, same weight, both love to run with the football and both entered this season as backups before being thrust into the spotlight.
Fajardo has led the Riders to a 6-2 record since taking over for Zach Collaros three plays into the season, while Streveler won his only start last week, working in place of the injured Matt Nichols.
“Both of us started out as short-yardage guys,” Fajardo said. “He got thrown into action last year in the first game of the year so it’s very similar in that situation to the way I was thrown into action this year.”
You’d have to give the Riders the edge at quarterback in Sunday’s Labour Day Classic as Fajardo has done an excellent job of throwing the football and using his legs to get first downs. He has thrown for 2,112 yards and eight touchdowns, against only four interceptions, while also running for 313 yards, tops among CFL quarterbacks.
Streveler’s numbers are more modest. He has completed 16 of 33 pass attempts for 171 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. He has also rushed for 271 yards and six touchdowns.
“I haven’t watched Streveler, obviously, as closely but they’re both tough kids and they both seem to have a really good feel for leadership and for the room,” Riders coach Craig Dickenson said.
“I do see a lot of similarities in those two.”
Bombers coach Mike O’Shea sees some too, but also some differences.
“Probably not in running style, but in running effectiveness,” O’Shea said. “I’d say both quarterbacks are highly effective.”
BOOST FROM ADAMS
While they are without No. 1 quarterback Matt Nichols and suspended running back Andrew Harris, and released popular receiver Chris Matthews, the Bombers should get a boost from the return of veteran wide receiver Darvin Adams.
Adams has missed the last four games and the Bombers passing game has been lacking. He should provide Streveler with a reliable target and will serve as a veteran presence in an at-time stagnant offence.
“Darvin’s a great leader for us,” Streveler said. “When he steps into the huddle, you can feel his energy, feel his presence. He’s a great play-maker obviously, but to our team, he’s just such a leader. It goes beyond making plays. He pushes our team forward and pushes everyone else to work hard. I know it works for me.”
Veteran middle linebacker Solomon Elimimian played six seasons with Andrew Harris as a teammate and he voiced support for the suspended Bombers running back Saturday.
Harris is sitting out the next two games after testing positive for a steroid known as metandienone, which he said was accidentally ingested from a contaminated supplement.
“It’s tough because I know Andrew on a personal level,” said Elimimian, who signed with the Roughriders this year after nine seasons with the B.C. Lions.
“I played with him for many years and I’m never gonna pass judgement on somebody, so when he says it was an honest mistake, I’d like to take his word for it. Andrew is a great player, I’ve seen how hard he works. I’m sure when he gets back in two weeks, he’ll be doing what he did before and that’s dominate.”
A LITTLE BITTER
Elimimian is happy to be a part of a strong Roughriders team, while his former team is scuffling along at 1-9.
The 10-year CFL veteran, who was the CFL’s most outstanding player in 2014, was released by the Lions on April 30.
“It’s life,” Elimimian said. “I moved on, they moved on. How it happened could be up for debate. I just didn’t feel how they did it was completely honest. But that’s them and that’s how this game is sometimes. I don’t dwell on that. I dwell on the present and now I’m playing for a great team, great organization and we’re winning games and I’m having fun playing football.”
BENNETT LANDS ON FEET
Former Bombers quarterback and special teamer Bryan Bennett landed with the Riders shortly after being a late training camp cut in Winnipeg.
He’s the third-stringer with the Riders, but as he did in Winnipeg, he’s playing on kick and punt cover teams and is running some of the short yardage offence.
“Maybe even a little bit bigger role here, which is nice,” he said.
Bennett had a great training camp with the Bombers, but was cut in favour of Sean McGuire, a younger quarterback with perhaps a little more upside.
“I was a little bit surprised,” Bennett said. “In talking to them early on I knew they were gonna make me compete for that three spot and if I didn’t get that three spot, then I was gonna be gone.
“At the end of the day, it’s a business decision. They felt like they wanted to go with the younger guy. Luckily I was able to get off the couch pretty quick and I found a home here in Sask.”
In last year’s playoff game between the Bombers and Riders in Regina, Bennett made a game-saving tackle on Saskatchewan punt returner Kyran Moore late in the game.
So, are his new teammates mad at him for that?
“No, but it has come up,” he said with a laugh.
The Bombers were expected to activate American running back John Santiago and give him some touches in the backfield, but he was injured in practice on Thursday and wound up being left off the roster … The Bombers released defensive end Alex McCalister Saturday. He was with the team in training camp, got cut, went back to Florida, got re-signed on Aug. 20, made a big play against Edmonton last week — tipping a pass that was intercepted by Marcus Rios and returned for a touchdown — and then got cut again … It looks like Rios will start at field-side halfback again for Bombers this week, with Mercy Maston still hobbled. Maston remains on the roster but will likely be scratched.
More on this: 757 stories
- O'Leary: Van Zeyl enjoying other side of Ticats, Argos rivalry
- Switching Sides: Jefferson excited to return to Regina for LD Classic
- Calgary Stampeders notes: Competition on at running back
- Edmonton Eskimos bring league's longest rap sheet into Labour Day Classic
- 3DownNation power rankings: Bring 'em out, bring 'em out, bring 'em out
- Eskimos vs. Stampeders Prediction: CFL Week 12 Point Spread, Odds
- Stamps trying to protect McMahon against Esks
- Labour Day Dreams | Maritime Team Could Spark New Rivalry
- Blue Bombers release wide receiver Chris Matthews after six games
- Matthews release the latest twist in Blue Bombers soap opera
- CFL BLITZ: Picks and rankings for the coming week
- Next Man Up | Augustine & Santiago
- CFL Fantasy Podcast, Ep. 40: 'Boycott average'
- O'Leary: Thoughts from an unforgettable weekend in Moncton
- At the mid-way point Argos find themselves behind the 8-ball
- O-line's Depth Helps Offset Injuries
- Toronto Argonauts lose heartbreaker to Montreal after late-game comeback attempt
- Big Play Chain gets a workout in Riders' win over Redblacks
- Reprised double-reverse pass play helps Alouettes outlast Argos 28-22 in Moncton
- Johnson's fourth-quarter touchdown helps Alouettes top Argos
- O'Leary: Jones dips into TD Atlantic history books to get Als on track
- For Redblacks, 'good football players' not playing good enough
- Reprised double-reverse pass play helps Alouettes outlast Argos 28-22
- Hamilton Tiger-Cats claw out 13-10 win over B.C. Lions
- Toronto Argonauts vs. Montreal Alouettes CFL Pick, Odds, Prediction