Selnes: Early stats show Fajardo playing better than expected

A most dangerous season for starting quarterbacks continued last weekend when Jeremiah Masoli became the sixth starting quarterback in the CFL to go down this season.

In seven weeks of football, quarterbacks are being injured virtually every game. The injuries have meant five backup quarterbacks have become starting quarterbacks.

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In Saskatchewan Cody Fajardo has played better than I expected. Stats, when taken over several games, can show how well a quarterback is playing for a team.

The five new starters and their passing stats this season are set out below:


    Games Comp Att Pct Yards TDs Int Effic Int% Avg
Cody Fajardo SSK 6 107 146 73.3 1392 7 4 107.4 2.7 9.5
Nick Arbuckle CGY 5 102 138 73.9 1284 5 2 108.5 1.4 9.3
Mcleod Bethel-Thompson TOR 6 97 154 63 1249 7 9 79.2 5.8 8.1
Vernon Adams Jr. MTL 5 73 111 65.8 1027 5 2 102.9 1.8 9.3
Jonathon Jennings OTT 2 21 33 63.6 170 1 3 48.8 9.1 5.2
Dane Evans HAM 2 18 31 58.1 199 1 1 74.5 3.2 6.4

While five or six games are low for analysis, the above stats show what you would expect from the team records during the games the new starters have played. The Saskatchewan Roughriders, Calgary Stampeders and Montreal Alouettes are doing well. The Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa Redblacks are struggling.

Fajardo, Nick Arbuckle and Vernon Adams Jr. have the highest quarterback efficiencies at over 100. Bethel-Thompson and Jennings are under 100. Arbuckle trails only Matt Nichols of the Blue Bombers in efficiency.

Mcleod Bethel-Thompson stands out for having thrown by far the most interceptions.

Fajardo has an excellent completion percentage and is as good as any quarterback in the league in average gain per pass. No quarterbacks are averaging 10 yards a pass.

On running the ball Adams Jr. (199 yards) and Fajardo (171 yards) have gained the most yards rushing the ball.

Arbuckle, copying Bo Levi Mitchell’s avoidance of the run, has rushed for a mere 24 yards.

Bethel-Thompson (35 yards) and Jennings (14 yards) have equally had no impact running the ball.

Fajardo demonstrated the dangers of a quarterback running the ball on the night of July 27 when he took a big hit trying to make a first down. Candid as ever, he said after the game that he was selfish in trying to make the first down. He said he would be sliding in the future and slid during the balance of the game. I hope Bob McAdoo takes the quarterback draw out of the Rider offensive playbook.

For reference I have included Dane Evans who will start for the Hamilton Tiger Cats in Regina on Thursday night.

The Rider defence was very aggressive to start the game in Vancouver on July 27. Hamilton has to be expecting the Riders to come hard after Evans. I think the Riders will be aggressive again and see what Evans can do against pressure.

For the Riders Fajardo has looked good facing teams with a weak pass rush. Thursday night will see if he can handle pressure. He did well in his first game against the Tiger Cats but he did not do well against the Stampeders. Stats are no help in predicting his performance on Thursday. He has not played enough games against good teams. I do like his poise and confidence.

Bill Selnes, who’s based in Melfort, has written about the Saskatchewan Roughriders since the late 1970s. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, Football Reporters of Canada wing on Nov. 24, 2013.

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