The following is Jaguars wide receiver Keenan McCardell's diary for Oct. 18-Oct. 23, 2000.
Wednesday, October 18, 2000
Coming off a short week from the Monday night game, we were working on a short week. My body was still aching from the Monday night game against Tennessee. We came out to practice with no pads, kind of a semi-Friday for us. The day was longer because we did not come in until noon. We went into meetings and we didn't get onto the field until about 3:15 p.m. We're usually off the field at 1:15, so that's a two-hour difference. We didn't get off the field until five o'clock. It was a long day! We went out sore, ready to practice. We felt like we gave another game away to Tennessee on turnovers, so we just got ready to go. My body was still aching and I got a massage Wednesday night to get the lactic acid out of my body. After that, I got in the bed early and got some rest.
Thursday, October 19, 2000
On Thursday, the offensive coaches were telling us (receivers) that we had to be crisp on our routes against those guys (Washington's secondary). They were good man-to-man cover guys, but Jimmy and myself were, like, we're pretty good ourselves. They have to think about some things covering us, too. We're not too shabby of receivers ourselves. We went in and did things to precision. Get in and out of your cuts, catch the ball out and away from your body because these guys like to strip the ball, and just be in the right place at the right time. Thursday was a solid practice. Wednesday, we were kind of sluggish because it was right after the Tennessee game. On Thursday, we were flying around, feeling good and making plays. We had a real upbeat practice Thursday and we were feeling great.
Friday, October 20, 2000
The short day! We're trying to get our legs back and, since it's a short week, we didn't have our normal rest on Tuesday, so Friday stayed the same. It seemed like it got here faster than most Fridays. Friday was real crisp. We worked our red area and that's something that we've got to emphasize to get better in. In this losing streak, you have to recognize that there's life after football. The people at your house are always going to be there, when you are playing football and when you are not playing football. So, you have to treat your family members with a lot of respect and do things with them. Even though we are in the midst of a losing streak, you can't bring your work home with a bad attitude. Being in the league as long as I have, I've learned to do that. It's moments at the house when I'm off to myself; I always think, what is it going to take for us to get out of this? With my family I realize that they need support from me, as well as I need their support during this time. My daughter, Keandra, asked me on Wednesday or Thursday, "Did we win Monday night?" I said, "no," and she said, "why?" You guys win all the time! She's just four and it's kind of hard to explain to a four-year-old that you don't win all the time. She understands the winning and losing part of the game, but she doesn't really understand what daddy is going through.
Saturday, October 21, 2000
We had our walk-through and went over some extra blitz packages that they might do. We went over some plays that were okay during the week, but we fine-tuned them during the walk-through. We made sure people knew their assignments and we did our special-teams call-outs. Saturday afternoon, I picked up my parents and we just hung out at the house. It's always good to have your parents with you. We really didn't go anywhere. It was nice just to be around them. I'm in Jacksonville and they're in Houston, Texas. When I see them, I'm, like, a big kid happy to be at home with them. Just being in their company makes everybody feel great.
Sunday, October 22, 2000
Sunday, being at the Radisson Hotel, on our home turf, we felt good. We didn't sleep in a foreign bed. You know the routine. You park in a certain spot. You walk in a certain door and that felt good. The crowd was great! They wanted us to come out and win so bad you could hear it in their voice and see it in their eyes. We were ready. The fans helped us to be ready. I was, like, it's time to go. Losing on Sunday and this entire losing streak is frustrating. You go out and want to put the ball into the end zone so bad. We moved the ball up and down the field. We controlled the game. I know in the first half we controlled the game and could do what we wanted, but we just couldn't put it in the end zone like we wanted to, as many time as we wanted to on Sunday. When you kick field goals, that hurts you. A good sight was seeing Fred Taylor back on track. He's running the ball well and gives an extra dimension to our offense. When everyone is pumping on all cylinders, we're a hard team to stop. When the media is asking their questions after a loss, you have to be a professional. You have to answer the questions when it's good and when it's bad. When you're doing good, it's easy to answer the questions; when you're doing bad, it's even harder, but you have to do it. My thing is to go out and get us out of this funk. Every time I step out on the field I just want to give my best. I want to lay 110 percent on the line every time I'm out there. If any of the guys question my effort, they can watch the film and find out.
Monday, October 23, 2000
Looking at the film on Monday, we made mistakes and shot ourselves in the foot again. It's unbelievable some of the mistakes that we made. If we didn't have bad luck, we wouldn't have any luck at all. Everything this year is just not going our way. The only way to change luck is to change it yourself. On Mondays, I do my weekly television show. It's easier to get guys out there when you're winning, but when you're losing, not a lot of guys want to come. I've had some great guys to step up and come. Mike Hollis came this past Monday. You get veteran guys who have been through it to come on shows and let them talk about what's really going on. After the show, I call it a night and go home. I go home and get in the bed because it's time to get ready, again.