Riders are fine with giving their backup quarterback the first team reps at practice


Fresh off their bye, the first practice of the week got off to an interesting start for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Mason Fine took all of the reps at quarterback with the first team offence on Tuesday with Jake Dolegala taking the reps with the second string offence. Cody Fajardo was present at practice, but his only action on the field was during positional drills.

Following Tuesday’s workout, head coach Craig Dickenson immediately poured water on any possible controversy at quarterback for the Riders by saying that Fajardo was receiving a veterans day off.  He added other veterans including Larry Dean and Mike Edem also had a lighter than usual schedule at practice.

Even with the Riders coming off a bye week, Dickenson believed that an extra day of rest was warranted for his starting quarterback.

“Trust me, those guys need vet days, a lot of them, lot of them need some rest.” The Riders head coach added the players took part in some mental reps as he believes at this point of the season they don’t require as many physical reps.

For Fine, he feels it’s very beneficial for him to get first string reps with the first team offence.

“Especially as a backup you don’t get to throw to Shaq (Evans), Swerve (Kyran Moore) or Shaf (Kian Schaffer-Baker), so to be able to get on time throws, getting in a routine, getting into a pattern, getting that chemistry down, getting in the huddle and being assertive, being a leader when calling the plays off the wristband, those are things people don’t think about. ”

If his number is called during the final two weeks of the season, the North Texas product says he would be ready to assume the duties behind centre for the green and white.

“I feel very confident, just being around here for two years, paying attention, I feel like I’ve really focused in the meetings, I have a great understanding of the offence.”

The backup quarterback also points to his relationship with the starting quarterback as a reason that he’s prepared to step on the field if needed.

“Having a veteran like Cody to talk to about some things, I feel like I’m ahead of my years.”

In the 2022 season, Fine has seen action during four games for Saskatchewan. He came in relief in Week 3 in Montreal when Fajardo first suffered his knee injury, as he went 7/9 for 83 yards with a touchdown and an interception. His most extensive action this year came on August 19 against BC when he was 16/26 210 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Even though he saw his number listed on top of the quarterback depth chart for practice, Fine didn’t believe he would be the starter for Saturday’s game against the Stampeders.

“I’m just out here doing my job, it’s just like anything, I show up to work, and I’m going to do what I’m told to do, and go make the most of it.”

Dickenson said that Fajardo should be back under centre for the green and white when they practice on Wednesday.

Saturday’s game can be heard on 620 CKRM, Countdown to Kickoff begins at 2:00, opening kickoff at 5:00.

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