EDMONTON — Aaron Fiacconi wasn't thrilled with the view he had of Sunday’s 25-10 loss to the B.C. Lions and is hoping for a better vantage point this Sunday against the Montreal Alouettes.
Like back in the trenches, staring up from centre at opposing defensive linemen.
“I’m good to go,” said Fiacconi, who was back taking starter reps at Edmonton Eskimos practice on Wednesday. “Rehab went really well. The goal was to play in this Montreal game. I’m on track for that.
“Coach told me to do as much as I can, until I felt comfortable. I did everything I wanted to, which is a good sign. It feels stable and it’s a matter of getting my feet going and getting chemistry with the guys.”
Having been rolled on in practice during training camp, Fiacconi is now wearing a hard brace on his right knee and a sleeve for slippage.
“Brace it from now on, which is typical with this injury. Standard operating procedure,” he said. “The knee will never quite be the same, but it’s as good as can be. Pain free. I did have a little swelling.”
It’s nowhere near the pain he went through watching the catastrophe last Sunday, knowing there was nothing he could do to prevent five B.C. sacks.
“It was tough to watch,” admitted Fiacconi, who was replaced at centre by usual starting left guard Kyle Koch, while Greg Wojt took Koch’s place. “I know how much success we had with this group last year.
“Koch went in there and did a great job. You can’t thank him enough. He’s a huge asset to this team. For him to go in there and play that position, not having played it before, he did a great job. It just seemed that we were out of sync on the line; everyone took a turn at times.”
Fiacconi steamed out of the dressing room after the loss, a look of disgust and frustration on his face, knowing he couldn’t help.
“We have to take it to heart, we can’t let stuff like that happen,” he said.
“We have to start to develop here. We want to be a championship team and if we want this locker-room on Nov. 28 (at Grey Cup) we have to start playing like it, it’s as simple as that. We can’t go on a roller-coaster all season. You can’t have your ups and your downs, you have to have consistent football, win football games consistently and play championship-calibre football. That’s how you become champions. Sunday we didn’t do that.”
Eskimos head coach Richie Hall reiterated that same worry on Wednesday, having watched his team fail to respond after an early scoring chance went awry.
“Right now, to be honest with you, my biggest concern coming out of the game was our emotional state,” said Hall. “It wasn’t so much the fundamentals or the concentration thing, it’s our state of energy. After we turned that ball over on the first drive, it didn’t seem like we had the energy to sustain or to go out there and win a football game.
“It’s one of those things that, even if we won the football game, why was there such a dropoff in our emotional state or energy over the next 55 minutes? That was my biggest concern. We addressed it as a team and we talked about it as a staff. The other things will take care of themselves ... you always have to have that energy, that passion, that emotion to play the football game, and we didn’t have that.”
Fiacconi brings that emotion on a daily basis, as does defensive lineman Dario Romero. However, the latter remains out with a right ankle injury and is not expected to play Sunday against Montreal.
“My job as a coach, or at least the way I look at it, is I can’t motivate anybody. That comes from within yourself,” said Hall. “My job as a coach is to challenge you. Some people look at challenge and emotion as the same thing, but I think they’re two different things.
“The emotional aspect of a football game or the emotional aspect of your feelings comes from within you. No one can bring that out other than yourself. That’s what we have to have in order for us to compete, week in and week out.”
Fiacconi plans on playing a big part in rebounding.
“It’s just a matter of getting back with the guys – getting in sync again and getting off on the right track on Sunday.”