The following is Jaguars wide receiver Keenan McCardell's diary for Nov. 8-Nov. 13, 2000.
Wednesday, November 8, 2000
The first thing everyone was talking about was the presidential election. The presidential election is a little wild right now. Coming in on Wednesday and knowing the uncertainty of the presidency and knowing that Florida was a big issue with the presidency was a big thing. It didn't sit well with a lot of people in the locker room. We were laughing about it, but it didn't sit well because we just want the best person in there. Whoever it is, we just want it to be done fairly. With all of the stuff happening with the election, we were, like, it's just a big scandal. Why can't we just re-vote? Everybody in the locker room came to an agreement that Florida just needs to re-vote and see what happens. We were ready to go on Wednesday. The weekend was nice for us. Coming off a win, we were very happy and ready to go. Wednesday was a day when practice was OK, but it wasn't like it was the weeks before, because we were continuously playing. We had a little rust and we were trying to get the rust off from the weekend. Wednesday's practice started slow, but it picked up big-time. You could see people saying the rust is off and let's go.
Thursday, November 9, 2000
We felt that we were going to have some big-play opportunities by watching the film against Seattle. They were a defense that liked to blitz and gamble. They wanted to take the chance of pressuring the quarterback and leaving their secondary out in man-to-man coverage and leaving their linebackers one-on-one with the running back. We felt that if we could crack the blitz with the run or crack it over the top of the blitz with a pass, we'd have a big day. Thursday, we worked on a lot of blitz stuff. Practice finished very well. We were very sharp, crisp and we had a lot of confidence. Thursday night at home was tough for my wife because she knows how competitive I am. She knows losing doesn't sit well with me and with her either. With the season as it is, she keeps saying, "Just keep playing. You guys have seven games left, if you run the table you'll be in the playoffs." She comforts me very well. My daughter, every time I see her I just smile. She's so innocent. It doesn't matter to her. She doesn't have a care in the world. She just goes and plays has fun and when I see her, I remember the times when I was little and didn't have a care in the world. When I see that, it makes the days go a little bit better.
Friday, November 10, 2000
The bye week made Friday seem like a regular game week. Everybody was like Friday is here and it's time to roll. The game is Sunday. Friday we stepped out onto the field and had a real good game plan for the red area, I thought. We were going to take advantage of some of the man coverage. Jimmy and myself were saying let's get in the red area and just pick any play on our play sheet. It will work. We were happy and stepped off the field very confident. This week went well and coming off a win helps everything. It helps the aches and pains; they don't feel the same. Friday, after practice, I went home and went to sleep. I was very tired. It was a day that I expended a lot of energy and I had to get my rest to get it back. I woke up and got my twists (hair) done. After that I went to bed. One thing I tell the young guys when we're hanging out is that football is a business and it's your job. If you can't do that, don't go out and do stuff. If you can't perform at the level needed, you need to check your priorities. If you can do both, you're a better man than most. I know some guys who can do both, but the majority of the guys in the league can't.
Saturday, November 11, 2000
Saturday was good. We felt that if we could jump out on them early, get them down, they could fold their tent. They were coming a long way from Seattle to Jacksonville. We figured they would be tired, and they were. That was our mindset on Saturday. We went over some last-minute plays, last-play-of-the-game situations; we went over everything. Tom Coughlin is a great preparation person because he wants the player to be able to handle every situation. The things that we prepared for on Saturday came true on Sunday.
Sunday, November 12, 2000
We jumped out early and momentum was on our side. I really felt that we were going to run away with the game. You have to give those guys a little credit. They bounced back. They were down 21-7 and right before the half the scored. You have to give them some credit because they fought. Going into the half we still felt that we were in total control of the game. We went out in the third quarter and I give up a fumble. I personally feel that changed the momentum of the game. People will tell me it didn't, but it did. I'm a veteran and I know that. I'm on the sideline hoping that we get out. The defense got out and then had a penalty and Seattle gets the ball back and they score off my turnover. I'm feeling terrible right at this moment. The game was tied and we were still in it. I was thinking to myself that I just need to make a play to make up for the fumble. In our offensive huddle we never thought we were out of it. On the last drive, we thought we were going to win. Before Mark Brunell came to the huddle, a few guys, including myself, were saying that they couldn't stop us in our two-minute offense. We asked if anybody was scared, everybody said no, so it was time to play. We went out and made some plays, got down to the one-yard line and lost the game. When we got down to the one-yard line, Fred Taylor said, "Let it all hang fellas," as we broke the huddle. He was right; you have to let it all hang out. The formation that we had was set up for a run. We felt that if they didn't blitz we had a chance. They showed blitz. Mark made the check and it's a simple check, but the majority of the times we run that check is when Jimmy and myself have run it. Those things happen. Mark saw the prefect coverage for the play, it was just a miscommunication. If we had to do it over again, he would make the same check and I wouldn't doubt him any other way. It was the right check and it was going to be a touchdown. Sunday night the feeling was terrible, thinking what if? It's something that goes through every football player's mind. If you believe in this game and love this game you can also recap every play.
Monday, November 13, 2000
The film on Monday didn't show me anything new that I had not already thought about. We controlled the game as usual. For the last couple of weeks we've controlled the game, but not putting any points up. We are a play here or a play there from breaking the game wide open. It's tough, because we are used to making those plays and busting the game open and it's over.