The following is Jaguars wide receiver Keenan McCardell's diary for Dec. 4-9, 2001.
Tuesday, December 4, 2001
We had a short week to prepare for Cincinnati since we played on Monday night. We had the day off on Tuesday, which was much needed. We didn't get out of here until about 1:30 a.m. and we needed to rest the whole day. Also, knowing it's Christmas time, you have to do some shopping on your day off. Most of the guys just rested; I know I did. I rested all day trying to get over the aches and pains. We went down to the wire on Monday night. It was a game that was very intense, hard-hitting and emotionally draining. Every play was a big play and the game went down to the very end, where we had a chance to win it. You have to get your mind and body back on Tuesday. It was a day of rest.
Wednesday, December 5, 2001
We left the Green Bay game in the past and we had to start on Cincinnati because it's such a short week. The body is still aching, knowing that you have to face the Bengals. One good thing about it is that we play the Bengals twice a year so we are kind of familiar with what they do. We can see on film what their game plan is against us and go out and prepare. Wednesday was a no-pads day. Everybody's body really had not fully recovered from the Monday night game and coach took it easy on us. After practice it was all about getting rest. We knew we were going to need every bit of emotion and physical well-being on Sunday.
Thursday, December 6, 2001
I was excited to just have the opportunity to play again; having the opportunity to go out and get a win. I think a lot of guys were ready to go and play again because we felt like we played very well as a team on Monday night. We were enthused about getting back on the playing field because we have been playing so well. We just haven't been getting victories and we felt like this was a game where we could get a victory. The Keenan keys that I gave on Thursday were to continue to play well and, this time, when we get into the fourth quarter, finish the game! We start fast in the first quarter, but we have to continue to be fast in the fourth quarter. I think the last three or four games, we have not been finishing in the fourth quarter.
Friday, December 7, 2001
We were starting a three-game road trip, but we still take it game-by-game. We know we have to prepare for weather, prepare for fans and prepare for noise. You have to prepare that way on Friday and get your mind right. The league put a pretty tough thing on us when you have a Monday night game and then you have a road trip. Everybody I think knew on Friday that it was going to take something extra to get the win on Sunday. We simulated crowd noise on Thursday and Friday. It just gets you ready. You think that crowd noise is distracting during practice, but it actually helps. It makes you focus a little bit more on the snap count. It makes you focus in on Mark's voice. It helps you out.
Saturday, December 8, 2001
There was no mink or trench coat on this trip. It wasn't cold enough to bring it out. We did, however, have our jerk chicken on the plane and I think that's what got us a big victory. We had jerk chicken from Caribbean Express. They supplied jerk chicken and some ox tails for me. They know I like ox tails over there. It was just another so-fresh and so-clean road trip. It was a road trip and I had to get cleaned up. If you look good, you play good. It is the rookies' job to bring the food, but all the rookies bring Popeye's and I got tired of Popeye's. I went and brought some jerk chicken and ox tails and some of the guys were like, wow! you went and got the food? I told them I was tired and it was time for a change. I got some for the receivers and everyone enjoyed it.
Sunday, December 9, 2001
Anytime you play on the road in the NFL it's going to be tough. I think we went out early and jumped on them, but they're at home and they got the crowd behind them. They got a little momentum and came back to tie the game and went in front of us. It really didn't matter because we ended up finishing them off. We knew we had to play well. On the road, you can't have mistakes. The turnover battle was even and we had to play our "A" game. If you play you're "A" game and are focused on the road, nine times out of 10 you'll come out with a victory. I enjoy going out making big plays. That competitive atmosphere is what drives me. I want to make the crucial catch. I want to make the clutch catch when we need it. I just keep banging them out. Jimmy keeps banging them out. Mark keeps banging them out. We just have that type of mentally. On my touchdown, it was time for us to make a play. The third-and-19 before that play, I made a big catch for 29 yards and that set up the touchdown. We were making plays all game long and it was time for us to make another one. My touchdown celebration was a finger-roll. I was not trying to dunk; it was a finger-roll. If anybody knows me, they know I love the finger-roll because I love the "Iceman," George Gervin. His game is smooth as silk. He dunked every now and then, but most of the time he would just finger-roll.