Keenan McCardell remains the most consistent player on the Jaguars roster. He consistently finds reason to motivate himself to play another game.
That's a difficult task these days. The Jaguars have lost six of their last seven games and all six of those losses have been to AFC teams. But McCardell is still talking playoffs. He's talks about "running the table" and says 10 wins will usually get a team into the playoffs, even though the Jaguars' record against AFC teams would doom them in a tiebreaker scenario.
McCardell just won't give up.
"Give up is not in this locker room. It wasn't last year and I don't expect it to be this year. We're not quitters here. We were worse off last year. Did we quit? No," McCardell said.
"That's the only way to do it. Just win; 10-6 will get you into the playoffs," he added.
The Jaguars had the same 3-6 record last year they have this week. Last year, that mark went to 3-7 with a loss to visiting Seattle.
There are several parallels between last season and this season. You begin with another season-long rash of injuries. Maybe that's what's most consistent about the Jaguars; injuries.
In each of the last two seasons, the Jaguars have also experienced five-game losing streaks. What the team believed was a fluke last season has become a trend this year. Unless something dramatic happens, the Jaguars are headed for their second consecutive losing season, and the Super Bowl-champion Baltimore Ravens are coming to Jacksonville this weekend to drive another nail into the Jaguars' coffin.
McCardell is bound and determined to put that "nail" into the Ravens' hopes to repeat as NFL champs.
"Does it hurt any less?" McCardell said of losing on a team that has become somewhat accustomed to the feeling. "It hurts more," he said.
"With guys like that out," McCardell said of the absence of Mark Brunell, Tony Boselli and Fred Taylor from the lineup in Pittsburgh, "the people in this locker room have to realize that everybody has to make at least one play.
"They made a play when they needed to make a play," McCardell said of the Steelers, who turned the game decidedly in their favor on consecutive plays with about four minutes to play, when Joey Porter sacked Jonathan Quinn and stripped him of the ball, and Jerome Bettis broke loose on a 40-yard run.
"I keep telling our team, 'Men, there's only one way to do this: Keep firing away,'" coach Tom Coughlin said.
McCardell loads his gun every week.