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Jaguars succumbed to lure of Super Bowl


VK: Give me a short state-of-the-Jaguars address.

WW: You have to be candid and say we're in a totally dysfunctional state. We're not playing well on offense, we're not making plays on special teams, and our defense plays well one series and is a sieve the next series. So, we're in a dysfunctional state and I think you have to say it's a number of things. Injuries, it's safe to say, hurt this football team, but more than that I think it's a mental state that we're just not making plays. McCardell is a great example. Keenan was trying to make a play, and the guy puts the helmet on the ball and it pops out. He was trying to do something extra to make a play, and sometimes when you're reaching and trying too hard you make dumb mistakes; instead of protecting the football and having the football at the two or three-yard line, we get a fumble and lose the football.

VK: Aside from the record, what's your greatest disappointment to date?

WW: I know we're a much more talented football team than we're playing. This is a good football team, and we're not playing like a good football team. Do I really believe we can turn it around? I have every confidence we can turn it around. Can we win nine of the next nine games? I don't know. I know we have a chance to get this thing back together and at least salvage some respect for this football team.

VK: We're hearing the words "turn it around." What constitutes turning it around?

WW: This football team has got to get its confidence back, and some respect, internal respect for themselves and this football team. It starts with our players understanding that responsibility lies with us. We've got to go out and play the football we're capable of and make plays, and we've got to cut out the dumb mistakes.

VK: Look back and tell us what you would have done differently?

WW: I guess hindsight is always 20-20 but, looking back, I don't know that we would've gone into this season any differently than we did. Obviously, we would've liked to have not been snakebitten by so many injuries. Other than that, if you look at signing Hardy Nickerson in the free agency period; we thought Hardy was going to come in and help our football team and make us a better defense, and Hardy is certainly a great addition to our football team. When you lose a guy like Carnell Lake, it's devastating to your football team, not only as a player, but as a leader on defense. I don't know that we would've prepared any differently than we did. We've just been unfortunate with some injuries, and some of our younger players just haven't been able to play up to the level you would hope they would at this point.

VK: Some people, some writers, are suggesting that this team should start looking ahead. Too early?

WW: I think it's much too early. We've got another huge football game this Sunday, against the Washington Redskins. We've got to look ahead and say, 'There's a game we really need to win.' It's at home, we're going to have a full stadium, and I think we're going to have a full stadium of supportive fans, and it's the first step in the turn-around.

VK: To what degree can you clear your salary cap next season?

WW: It's going to be tough. As I said to you before, we're going to have to make some very difficult decisions, and that's an evolving process. Each week, as we see how the season is going and what our record is going to be, that will influence some of the decisions we make. That's a working process and we just have to let it evolve and see where we go with that. We've got a tough job ahead of us in dealing with our salary cap.

VK: Did you abuse the cap?

WW: That's a fair question. Again, 20-20 hindsight, I guess; there's always the carrot dangling, you've got to do it now, you've got to win now. I certainly think we succumbed to some of that philosophy and did mortgage some of our future, in terms of the salary cap, that we got ourselves into a deeper hole, but the lure of getting to the show (Super Bowl) is powerful. You make decisions on that basis and, looking back, would we have done it differently? I hope we would have learned from this, that we're smarter now than we were, but, again, the lure of getting to the Super Bowl is powerful.

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