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Houston, I can still dunk


The following is Jaguars wide receiver Keenan McCardell's diary for Dec. 17-23, 2001.

Monday, December 17, 2001

I was still doing Christmas shopping. I ended up going to Atlanta again. I was getting ready to get Christmas right. You want other people to be happy and be grateful. The wife and I went to Atlanta, had lunch and just had fun. I like going to Atlanta because it just gives you more shopping options. You can go to Lennox, Sach's, Neiman's, Niketown and stuff like that.

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

I just stayed around the house and wrapped gifts. When you have twins you stay around the house and you don't get the chance to get out. I just kept the girls as my wife went out. Sooner or later, I knew I was going to settle down. At first I didn't think so, but after I got into the league I realized that family was important; having people you could be around and share your experiences with. My wife is great and she gets the chance to share in all of the experiences. My kids also share in these experiences. This game has given me some great luxuries to provide for them. It's just been fun.

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

The winning feeling was back in the locker room and we were on a two-game winning streak, getting ready to go up against a team that really embarrassed us the last time we were in Minnesota. I think that made us a little more focused, especially for the guys who were there in 1998. It was all business on Wednesday and we had work to do.

Thursday, December 20, 2001

What I saw on film was that they had a small defensive line up front and we had a great opportunity to run the ball. Receivers usually don't say that, but watching film and studying, I think they were the 30th-ranked defense against the run. It was an opportunity for us to run the ball and get a good mix of pass and run. If the passing game was needed, we had some areas that we were going to attack. It's kind of hard to prepare for a dome. It's enclosed so you can't prepare for that, but you can wear different shoes. We don't have a turf field to practice on, but if you had a turf field you could prepare for the turf. The noise in the dome, you can't prepare for that. It's up to you to see how loud it's going to be. If you go out and quiet the crowd with scores, it's going to be in your favor, but, if not, then the dome will be against you.

Friday, December 21, 2001

It was a short Friday and we prepared for our red-area stuff so we could take advantage of our opportunities when we got into that area of the field. We wanted touchdowns instead of field goals. Each Friday is a different red-area game plan. Just walking off the field I thought we could score touchdowns. After practice I went home and it was time to pack and get ready for the cold. I really don't like the cold, but I can deal with it. Looking at the weather channel, it was going to be about 20-something degrees and I just went looking in the closet for the warmest thing I could find.

Saturday, December 22, 2001

My trip to Minnesota was real good. I got out and did more Christmas shopping. I stopped into a couple of places to get a few people those last-minute gifts. I went to Chevy's and had some Mexican food. After that I came back to the room and relaxed. My stop in the mall was a man's stop in the mall; 5-10 minutes. I went in, bought what I needed, went to eat and I was back in the room.

Sunday, December 23, 2001

We went out and executed what we had practiced during the week. We executed our whole game plan. We wanted to establish the run and control the line of scrimmage. We went out and threw the ball when we needed to throw the ball. We really didn't need to throw that much. Our big thing was to control the game with the running game and we did. Stacey Mack, Elvis Joseph and the offensive line did a great job. That just makes it easier for Jimmy and myself. We just go out and make our plays and sit back and watch the game go by like that. That was probably one of the quickest games I've played in all year. I had the opportunity to score in the game twice, but the first one was called back because of a delay-of-game penalty. It was a tough catch. I think I really wanted that catch because I think it would have been on ESPN. The second one was a crossing route and that was an easy catch and I just had to find the end zone. After that catch I had to show the real hoopsters I could dunk. There were some people who were doubting my skills, saying I just finger-roll all the time. Yes, I finger-roll because I like George Gervin, but after a while when you get me mad. Like the "Iceman" says, "I don't have to finger-roll; I can turn that wrist over and dunk it." So I just had to show everybody that I still had my skills and that the people back in Houston remember how I could hoop. Everyone from Waltrip, Booker T. Washington, Sam Houston, and everybody else back in Houston who reads this knows I can hoop. Overall, we had a solid game and we were glad to get the win.

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