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Losing Brunell hurt us


The following is Jaguars wide receiver Keenan McCardell's diary for Sept. 24-30, 2001.

Monday, September 24, 2001

We were kind of high coming off the win over Tennessee, but we realized we had to get back into the work week. Monday was a day in which we had to come in and get the bumps and bruises out from the Tennessee game, but still prepare for the Cleveland Browns. It was a time to review the Tennessee film, run and get the kinks out so we would be ready for Cleveland. The (Titans) game really didn't surprise me. Both teams were going back and forth. We made that one extra play at the end of the game and that helped us out. That's the type of football we play when we play Tennessee. It's one play that can make or break the game.

Tuesday, September 25, 2001

My wife is pregnant and she has four weeks left before she has the babies. She had me doing all of the honey-do's. She had me going to the mall picking up slippers for the hospital when she goes into labor. The most important thing I've learned since my wife is pregnant is to try to get some sleep now because, when they come, you aren't going to get any after. We are really preparing this time. It's a little easier, because we know what we need. We won't get some of the items we really don't need. Some things are really good, but nine times out of 10 we won't even use them. Having gone through this one time, I know what to get from Babies-R-US. The only thing about me is that I have to get two of everything because we are having twins. We have to double-up on everything. For example, instead of buying five bottles, we need 10. So I had to do my honey-do's on Tuesday and then come back and relax.

Wednesday, September 26, 2001

I thought Cleveland brought more energy than they did last year. Their energy level was high against Detroit. I knew we had to play with high energy. If we execute, that would combat their high energy. We thought on Wednesday that Tony Boselli was going to get a rest, but he practiced on Wednesday and we felt that he would play on Sunday.

Thursday, September 27, 2001

Trash-talking is a part of football. It's just like in the backyard one-on-one. If somebody is talking noise, you're going to talk noise, perform better and shut him up. Jimmy Smith and I knew Corey Fuller was going to come in here and talk noise like he can cover everybody under the sun. We just went out and said let him keep talking and we're going to perform. We practiced hard in uppers on Thursday. We really had a feel for their secondary. We knew what we had to do to get open and make some big plays.

Friday, September 28, 2001

On defense, coach stressed they were going to come in with some different plays and our defense handled it well during the walk-through. On offense we realized they were going to blitz us more. We were preparing for their blitz. This was also Stacey Mack's week to start and we wanted him to go out and be himself. Jimmy and I wanted to pick up the passing game more. We wanted to pick up our points output. We were stressing that we need to score points on offense.

Saturday, September 29, 2001

Saturday was pretty chilly. I took my little girl to a birthday party and came right home. I heard on Saturday about the issue of what was said in our locker room after the Tennessee game. It came on NFL Films that coach said something about 3-0. It wasn't a biggie. People say that's bulletin board material, but this is the NFL and you have to play regardless of what's said. I've heard worse. I've heard guarantees and I don't think what he said was that bad. We had to go out and back him up. Saturday night I visualized about Sunday's game. I think every player in this league should visualize because once you get an opportunity you make it happen.

Sunday, September 30, 2001

During the first play, I didn't see anything about the hit on Mark Brunell. I was trying to chase the ball. The next thing I knew on the sideline is that somebody said, "Mark is out." I didn't see the replay until I got home. It was a pretty nasty hit. In football, defensive linemen are taught to go after the quarterback. Unfortunately that hurt us. That hurt us a lot. I can't say he was trying to knock him out, but it was something they consider a good thing because they knocked our quarterback out. Some people have to step up. Individuals are supposed to have their own fire, but sometimes you have to step up and say something. We were in the huddle and said, "Let's bring this together." We told Jon Quinn that we had confidence in him and let's play. I think everybody in the huddle was a little nervous at first, but when Jon settled down everybody got comfortable. In the first half, coach called the team together on the sidelines and just told us to stop trash-talking. That's what they wanted us to do. We came out playing hard in the second half. We realized we had dug ourselves a hole. We wanted to go out and show people this is how we are supposed to play. We took the opening series and scored. We had them rattled a little bit. Our defense comes back on the next series, creates a fumble, scores and then we are up. My thing is we have to put people away when it's time to put them away. We have to put daggers in people's heart. That's the way it should be. There should be no playing around. We have to execute better to put people away. Coming home after the game my wife didn't say much, but she did say that we did play well. She said we have to play better than what we did. She said we don't play this bad at home, but she said it's a long season. She said it like a true NFL veteran wife would. We tried not to harp on it because she's pregnant, but she knows that if she wasn't we would have been harping on it.

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