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Bye week about looking into the 'mirror'


The following is Jaguars wide receiver Keenan McCardell's diary for Oct 1-7, 2001.

Monday, October 1, 2001

We realized we let one get away against Cleveland. We wanted to get back to business. We watched the film on Monday and saw that we had opportunities to make plays and we didn't. We wanted to correct that during the week. I think that seeing those things on Monday opened our eyes to say that we need to make plays when we have them. I don't think we overlooked Cleveland in any form or fashion. I think we went out and didn't have the emotion we had in the first two games. Those were some big games. Cleveland was a big game also because every game on the schedule is big. They came in with just a little more spirit and fire than what we had. I think we had to try and match their intensity and in the first half I don't think we did.

Tuesday, October 2, 2001

Tuesday was our day off and the loss still hurt. Losing always hurts, but when I'm around my wife and daughter I put football aside. I try to give them their time because of my schedule and I can separate football from my family, however, if my wife brings up the game, we will definitely talk about it. At home, whenever I'm by myself in my office, I'll think about the game, but when I'm with my wife and daughter I focus and give my time to them, but I was looking forward to Wednesday because that's the beginning of a new week and Seattle was on our minds now.

Wednesday, October 3, 2001

In Seattle, I saw a team that was struggling and trying to find their way. I saw a team that just couldn't make a play when they needed one. We were hoping we could make more plays than them. On Wednesday, looking at the film, we saw that we could make some plays. I just thought on Wednesday that we were in a good situation. We had some great matchups after looking at the film on Wednesday. On film you see the different types of defenses that they play and you say, wow! the route that we're running this week will work because somebody should be open. I saw some openings in their defense that would make our game plan work.

Thursday, October 4, 2001

Thursday is a long day. We bring our lunch pale and dinner pale on Thursday because you go in and correct some stuff that we've done on Wednesday. We see some first-down stuff, but we see the brunt of third-down situations, green-area situations, which is inside the 20-yard line. We also practice our two-minute drill that day, so it's a long day. We get a lot thrown at us on Thursday. That's part of our job. We have to be able to receive all the information that has been given to us and put it to work. I think we've done that very well this year. I think the coaches have done a good job, by giving us the information we need early in the week so we can study and put it to use on Sunday. When I leave the stadium I go home and study. At home, when I look at film, I look at the little things that you pass up in the film room at the stadium.

Friday, October 5, 2001

We came in Friday and had a real upbeat practice. We felt very crisp on Friday. Some folks, I think, were anxious to get out on the road. Knowing that it was our first road game, people were ready for that. We did our regular thing on Friday and after practice we got ready for our first road trip. It's just a certain mindset that you have to have when you go out on the road. You know that it's just you, your teammates and coaches. Nobody else is on your side. You have to get your mentality ready. You have to get that mental state for people booing you, calling you names and it starts early. Friday, I start thinking about how we are getting ready to go into a hostile environment. Let's get our minds right so we can go in there and take the heart out of the crowd. I had set my mind to wear a baby-blue suit for this road trip way back in training camp. I don't know why, I just did. I was looking through the closet and I said, "I'm going to wear that one to Seattle." There was something about it. Seattle is a beautiful city, so it called for the baby blue.

Saturday, October 6, 2001

I got on the plane knowing we had a six-hour flight. I was, like, this is a long flight and some way you try to stay comfortable. First thing I did was went to sleep, but when I woke up we still had like three hours left. We were playing cards, watching movies and just staying active. On a trip like that we have to drink a lot of water and Gatorade to keep our bodies hydrated. If we don't, we'll be dehydrated and jet-lagged. That's one thing we stressed to everybody, to drink up. Getting on that flight was kind of funny because we hadn't been in the air since the Sept. 11 tragedy. I had some thoughts of what's going to happen. I wasn't trying to worry about it, but it's in the back of your mind. We got there safely on Saturday and we had a good pilot. Once in Seattle, I left the hotel and walked around. I got something to eat at the cheesecake factory. I saw Nike town, but I didn't have that much time. I didn't want any hotel food, so that's why I went to the cheesecake factory and by doing that I saw some of the city. It's a pretty city. The weather seemed like it was going to be great. It was sunny, but a little overcast; it was football weather.

Sunday, October 7, 2001

We started out fast. I got a couple balls early to get us going and I was feeling great. It hurts that, even though I had a good game, we didn't win and didn't play well. It makes my performance look like I didn't play well. The loss makes me go out and even work harder. Even though I had a good game statistically, the loss makes you feel like you didn't. It almost makes you feel like you didn't play well. It makes me feel like I had to do more than what I did. Jimmy and I were talking about that on the way back. It seems you might have had a good game, but it doesn't seem like you've done anything. If you have a good stat game and we lose, it goes down the drain. It hurts when the offense is struggling or the defense is struggling. We want to play for the defense and the defense wants to play for the offense. When they are down, we hurt just as much because we know they want to play well and likewise. We have to go out as an offense and pick them up by making a big play. When we are not doing what we're supposed to be doing, they go out and force a turnover or hit somebody in the mouth and that, in turn, motivates us to go out and put a whipping on somebody. That's how we have to play. We have to come out and play for each other and I think that's going to happen. After a loss, people are going to be themselves, regardless. I don't think anybody on that plane liked that we lost, but we had to move on. Some people don't dwell on it right after the game. Some wait until they are back home by themselves. I think everybody on this team understands we lost a game we should have one. The only thing you can expect from each man is that they play to their best each Sunday. You can't lie to yourself. You can't lie to that mirror. It's either you played well or you didn't play well. I think that's something we're going to look at during this bye week. We are going to look into that mirror during this bye week to say if we played well during the first four games or we didn't play well in the first four games.

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