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Candy tastes bad after a loss


The following is Jaguars long-snapper Joe Zelenka's diary for Oct. 14-20.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Monday's are tough days, especially after a loss. I remember coming in here and it wasn't like anybody really wanted to be here and we had a couple of guys hurt, a couple of key guys like Mo (Williams), and we learned about Brack's injury that day, so that kind of brought everybody down a little bit. But with this group of guys, we get together on Monday and we kinda start getting excited again about the next week's game. We knew we had a big week in Baltimore -- they were Super Bowl champs a couple of years of ago -- which was huge. It's always big to knock off a guy who won the Super Bowl, so we started to get excited again.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

I went to the World Golf Village with my wife. Tuesday's a day off and I like to just get away from the place. I come in and watch film in the morning and then I get away; just kind of re-focus and get ready for the week at hand. So we went to the World Golf Village, spent a little time down there, ate at the Caddyshack golf place, you know, had some fun. We goofed off a little bit; went to the outlet mall with my wife. She had to shop. I had to follow her carrying bags. So it sucked but, hey, it works.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Wednesday is focus day, especially for me. Focus on the team at hand, which was the Ravens. And you know, for me it's the returners, and the punt looks and the field goal looks, and really give a great effort for the defense on the scout team. I like to call them "Bloody Wednesday" because they're full-out; just a long-haul day. We go out and get after it and have a lot of fun. Last week, I remember specifically on Wednesday sitting in the locker room because Mike Pearson was starting at tackle. It was weird because this cat, he's a rookie; a young kid, he was born in 1980. I mean, Kyle Brady was graduating from high school in 1980. Yeah, Pearson was starting and we learned that on Wednesday because Mo Williams went down and Wiegert went over to the right side, so we stuck Pearson in there. I remember sitting in the locker room and seeing this Mike Pearson kid with 15 media guys around him, and they asked him, you know, "How are you feeling for this upcoming game?" And the first words that come out of his mouth go, "Yeah, w-w-well, I'm nervous, but excited." And I just looked at him and then all the media guys left and I said, "Mike, don't ever tell anybody you're nervous again. It's just going to come out bad." And then Pearson told me this long story about him and Spurrier, when he was at Florida about how he said he didn't like to play in night games and it was a big fiasco with him and Spurrier, but you'll have to ask him about that.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Thursday is another kind of hone it in day. We do special situations on Thursdays and for me it's get everything right. Wednesdays kind of knock the rust off, forget about last week, sit in, get your "bloody" Wednesday in. Thursday is sharpen it up; sharpen the pencil for me. There were a couple of key rushes Baltimore would throw at me, which I wasn't having a problem with, but I just wanted to get it down and I knew I had to on Thursday. But Thursday was that kind of day for me. It was also fun. I caught some balls, pretending I was Todd Heap on scout team, so that's always fun when I'm out there catching balls.

Friday, October 18, 2002

Friday is patty melt day for Brad Meester; grilled cheese day for me. You get up early on Friday morning and it's always fun because you're here early. You know you're getting out and you're getting out at noon, so you know your day is kind of condensed. So, we roll in and I remembered it was my week to buy coffee for the coffee club; it's me, Wiegert, Brady and Hanson. So it's my week, so you've got to get up a little early to get the coffee. I brought it in for the fellas. We had our meetings and Friday is the polish day. Friday was the day I kind of stepped back when the offense was running and kind of watched the young Mike Pearson over there, see if he was polishing it up. I'll be darned, he sure was polishing it up. Him and Brad Meester had calls going on and they were taking nice steps and he looked good. I knew he was going to play pretty well, just because Friday he was polishing it up good. But after Friday practice, I'll tell you what, that's the best time right there because we get out at noon, then we go eat lunch. Every Friday I get the grilled cheese. I don't know why, it's just something I do. Patty melt for Meester and grilled cheese for me. It's the best day.

Saturday, October 19, 2002

Saturday you just strap on the feedbag there, man. Saturday is a great day because you roll in here and the rookies have to bring you donuts, so you roll in and it's just donut heaven. There's just maybe, I don't know, 15, 17, 20 dozen donuts sitting there and the coffee in the players lounge. And you just walk in and you down a couple of donuts. You go to your meetings and you got a quick walk-through, pretty much, then you shower and get on the plane. Saturday's mindset is really just to kind of, you know, make sure that if there's any last-minute things, you get them in. And for me, Saturdays are all about just kind of relaxing and waiting for the game to arrive. I try not to think too much or worry too much when Saturday comes because I think when Saturday night rolls around the hay's in the barn. You can't do anything other than that. You're going to the market the next day to sell your hay. I don't try to worry too much on Saturdays. I kind of stay in the groove and if anything comes up I want to know about it Saturday instead of Sunday morning. We go to mass on Saturday with the coaches. Pete Mitchell and I are the only two guys in mass. Coach Coughlin has a big rule against cell phones; can't have cell phones in meetings. If it goes off, it's a pretty hefty fine; I mean, we're talking nine grand if it goes off in a meeting. So we're sitting in church, you know, the coaches and players, and some of the coaches families can come to church with us. And about halfway through mass one of the coaches' family member's phone goes off and the guy's sitting in the same row as me, so Coughlin's head wheels around to me and Pete. Pete and I are like, "No, it's not us, man; don't be fining us!" So luckily after mass the guy who's phone it was went and told coach.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

Sunday mornings are the greatest because I wake up early, take a nice long shower, and just kind of focus on what I've got going on in the day. And I know if I practice well in the week, Sundays are going to take care of themselves, because practice should be definitely harder than the game. Just take a nice hot shower and focus on what I've got to do, and my job is pretty well-defined, you know, snap the ball and protect the kicker. And I also like on Sunday morning to relax a little bit and watch the hunting shows and fishing shows, kind of relax my mind and calm down. I learned when I was in San Francisco my rookie year that if you sit around and watch the NFL shows in the morning, you get too excited and you wind up just being hyper all day long and you can't play like that. And we go and have our pregame meal. It was pretty focused. You could tell even in the locker room that guys were kind of focused and ready to go out and get into a fight. We did, and, you know, chips didn't fall where they should've, but I thought we got after them a little bit. The plane ride home stinks all the time after a loss. They try to come by with their ice cream bars and their rice crispy treats and cookies and stuff, but it sucks, man. You don't want to eat that stuff if you lose. If you win, sure, down a couple of them. They put 38 grams of fat or whatever it is in those jobbies. The whole talk's about food! That sucks! People are going to be looking at this like, 'Zelenka's a fattie, man! All he talks about is food.'

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