Cody Fajardo assures that the Alouettes are not a one-season team

Cody Fajardo doesn’t remember starting a season with a target on his back like the Montreal Alouettes and he will have one in 2024. But he is certain of one thing: his club will not be the club of a only season.

“It’s crazy how much 365 days can completely change things,” he said Monday by videoconference from his home in Reno, Nevada. Last year, I was just trying to prove that I had my place in this league, to this new team. »

He could never have said so well: it is day and night between the first meeting between the scribes and No. 7 and today. It must be said that he had also just had a horrible season in Regina, where the Roughriders fans had practically run him out of town covered in feathers and tar.

Fajardo assures that he and the Alouettes will be able to manage this pressure.

“Danny [Maciocia, le directeur général] has been able to keep most of the core, and that’s what the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have managed to do over the years, which has made them so successful. Unfortunately, when you win the Gray Cup, you usually lose players. We lost, including two in the NFL, but what Danny did was keep the core and not help a bunch of clubs in the CFL,” he said.

“We are very excited to turn the tables this season, to be the team with a target on our back. What we like most is all the excitement around this team in Montreal and the province. It’s a shame that we have to wait two weeks before seeing our supporters again [en début de saison] “, added Fajardo.

The latter does not remember the last time he launched his season with a team for which expectations were so high.

“In college, we had a few good seasons. There was 2019, when I had a good season and we had a good campaign with the Roughriders. Then there was the pandemic, then, and it kind of took away that target that we had on our backs. So I would say I’m treading into uncharted territory, especially after winning the Gray Cup as a starting quarterback.

“All eyes will be on us. Several guys on our team deserve this praise, and they haven’t gotten it in the past. Guys like [le demi défensif Reggie] Stubblefield, who had a splendid season, without receiving any recognition. This time, from week 1, he will be watched. This too will be different: everyone will praise the Montreal Alouettes on Day 1, instead of dismissing them out of hand from the start of the year. »

Same preparation

The playoffs may not be as long in the CFL as in the NFL, but when you win the Gray Cup, with the festivities that follow, you inevitably end your season a few weeks later. Fajardo, however, believes he is at the same point in his winter preparation as he usually is. However, he had to sacrifice a few weeks of rest to achieve this.

“I experienced the extremes two years in a row. […] In 2022, we did not participate in the playoffs and last year, we won the Gray Cup. I usually take a month off from training, whether we make the playoffs or not, but this year I only took two weeks off because I figured the other teams were going to be ahead of us in their preparation. That was my motivation,” he explained.

“I also finished the year in very good health,” continued Fajardo. I had a few injuries during the season, but nothing that required much attention. Previously, I often had to deal with more serious injuries. I was very happy that I only needed two weeks off.

“The only thing is I haven’t started throwing balls yet. We just got some snow here, so it’s delaying my training a little in that area. In all other aspects, I am exactly where I need to be,” he assured.

Not the Dodgers!

Fajardo is a big baseball fan and since he is from Brea, a few miles from Anaheim, he is a big fan of the Los Angeles Angels. Like all their supporters, Fajardo was very sad to see Japanese star Shohei Ohtani leave this winter, even if as a professional athlete, he better understands the ‘business’ side of sport.

He still blames Ohtani for choosing the Dodgers.

“The saddest thing about all of this is that I probably would have been OK with all 28 other teams, but not the Dodgers!” Now I’m going to have to suffer every time there’s a ‘Freeway Series’, pitting the Dodgers against the Angels.

“It’s been a very difficult off-season for Angels fans. If they can sign Blake Snell, I’ll be a little happier. But there are still several question marks within this team. Who knows ? Maybe the pundits will rank them dead last and Mike Trout will deliver an inspiring speech in the locker room and then they’ll go on to win the World Series. That’s what I hope,” concluded Fajardo, undoubtedly referring to the predictions of various CFL experts for the Alouettes in 2023 and his speech that went viral during Gray Cup week.

But isn’t that what we all want for fans of teams in small markets?

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