Enough 'rah-rah'

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

It was something Danny Maciocia was hoping not to have to bring up again.

But yesterday, the Edmonton Eskimos head coach pulled out the pride card when talking about his football team.

Tomorrow the Eskimos play host to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Commonwealth Stadium, needing a win to keep their fading playoff hopes alive.

"It's really unfortunate that I have to play that card, but that's exactly how I feel," Maciocia said.

"I've expressed that and hopefully Friday before the game, or before any other game, I don't have to stand up on a chair or a table and make one of those rah-rah, speeches.

"If I have to do that for us to line up and win a football game, I can guarantee we have the wrong guys. Just be proud."

There has not been much for the Eskimos to be proud of lately.

CAN'T AFFORD IT

After an impressive win over the Calgary Stampeders in the Labour Day rematch, the Eskimos went into Hamilton and lost to the worst team in the league the following week. It was one they could not afford.

The loss put the Eskimos 34-year playoff streak in serious jeopardy.

"It's a pride issue," Maciocia said. "You have to win your matchup, because the next day when we walk back into this locker-room and we watch the film, your teammates are going to be watching you play.

"They're not dumb, they see that you just lost a battle out there. That's what should matter to the individual play in and play out."

How the Eskimos respond tomorrow will be a big indicator whether they can make a push for a playoff spot.

Sitting four points behind Saskatchewan in the West Division, it's likely the Eskimos have to win their six remaining games to have a shot at the post season.

"At this point in the season, we're sitting at 4-8, and if you need someone to light a fire under you, you're not a professional," said Eskimos linebacker A.J. Gass. "Definitely nobody in this locker room needs a fire lit under them. We're are all self-motivators and we are all ready to go."

RESPONDED WELL

The last time Maciocia challenged his team's pride, the Eskimos responded with the win over the Stampeders. That win restored the team's playoff hopes, only to have them come crashing down a week later.

"As far as motivation a coach can only do so much," said Eskimos receiver Ed Hervey. "He can give you the plays, he can fire you up, but it comes down to each individual player and what he's playing for.

"Whatever motivates you individually is what you have to go out there and fight for."

Upon their return from Hamilton, Maciocia had the players walk out onto the field and look at the Eskimos wall of fame.

He told them that's who they represent every time they step on the field.

"There's a difference between playing football in the CFL and playing Eskimo football," Hervey said. "Eskimo football is everybody sticking together, everyone playing for each other, you check your ego at the door.

"You're not playing for the money. You're not playing for your bonuses and how many plays you get in. You're not playing for the glamour. You're playing for a common goal and that's to win the Grey Cup. That's what we do here."


Videos

Photos