The following is Jaguars wide receiver Keenan McCardell's diary for Sept. 13-18, 2000.
Wednesday, September 13, 2000
We felt it was time to get back to work; put the train back on the winning track. We lost a heartbreaker to Baltimore and when Wednesday came it was behind us. It was totally behind us. We started with a fresh slate, thinking about nothing but Cincinnati. We had a good day of work on Wednesday. People were ready and really focused to get back on the winning track. We were hurt and stunned about what happened to us in Baltimore, and that feeling does not sit well with us. When you have that bad taste of a loss in your mouth, it makes you go out and work a little harder. Coming in after a loss, it doesn't matter who you are playing that week. You want to stay focused and work on the things that you did wrong last week, so they don't happen in the coming week. People were saying that you could look past Cincinnati, but we couldn't look past Cincinnati coming off a loss. We had to stay focused.
Thursday, September 14, 2000
Looking at the film on Wednesday night, we felt that we should have a balanced attack against Cincinnati. We felt that we could run the ball very well and throw the ball very well. Coming into Thursday we were looking to go out with a balanced attack, move the ball, and put up some big numbers. We were having some great practices and it was hot on Thursday. It was one of those hot days that everybody had to get through. We got through it and felt very, very encouraged. After practice I went and ate some Cotton's Barbecue. I got some barbecue and just chilled to get away and put my mind back in reality of the real world. Eating Cotton's made me remember down-home cooking. It was good barbecue and that was fun. I came home Thursday night and watched film. I watch film at home all the time to stay on top of the mental game. You must study film because if you don't, there will be things that will sneak up on you. They can sneak a blitz or coverage on you. If you do your proper film work, it helps you on gameday tremendously.
Friday, September 15, 2000
Friday comes and you want to be crisp. You want to make everything look good, but in the back of your mind you realize this is the first time we're going to be in front of our home crowd. You can't wait to get to Sunday because the electricity is going to be unbelievable. People are getting ready to come see the 2000 Jaguars. Everybody wants to see if we're able to bounce back from the Baltimore game. Friday night, I did not check out any high school football games; actually I was tired. I fell asleep. I was planning to go and watch a couple of games and I just passed out on the couch. The next thing I knew, I was in the bed and it was Saturday morning.
Saturday, September 16, 2000
Saturday morning, my daughter is not my alarm clock. She likes to sleep. I got up pretty early and picked up the paper. I got the paper for my wife because I didn't read it. I got something to drink, got in my truck and came over to the stadium early. I got in the cold tub to revive the legs. We went through our meetings and things went well. Saturday is a tune-up to make sure that everybody knows where they are going. After practice, I picked up my family and got ready to go to the team hotel. We have a meeting over at the hotel and go over more film. On Saturday night, coach gives up a great talk about what he expects of us on Sunday. He tells us about the weather, the officials and then I go up to my room and get a good night's sleep. Staying at the hotel gives me a chance to get away from the distractions and lets me think about only football. It gets you away from your family and friends, because sometimes you don't get your rest when you're around family and friends because everybody wants to stay up.
Sunday, September 17, 2000
Saturday night, the weather was okay; no rain. When I woke up on Sunday, it was still nice, but gloomy. At 11o'clock, here come the showers. The guys were, like, we just need a window of four hours, but that four hours didn't come and it started raining. You go into the locker room and get prepared for a rainy day. You know you have to take care of the ball and we went out and played well on Sunday. We didn't have many turnovers. I think we had one and that was on a tipped ball, so we controlled the ball very well on offense. I knew the catch was a touchdown because I knew I had my feet down and the thing was to hit the pylon so they would give us the touchdown. We ran a corner route and they were in man-to-man coverage and I was wide open. Mark made the throw and I made the catch. I saw the sideline coming and made sure my feet were down like the old, wily veteran I am, and I said to myself that since I'm here, I might as well kick the cone and make it a touchdown. When the official said it was incomplete, I was, like, you didn't even see it. Coach reviewed the play and the replay official said it was a catch and a touchdown. He overturned the whole thing. I was just playing my game. Every time I touched the ball, I wanted to make a play to help us win. The big picture is about winning. I have to make plays for my team and just not for me. It's good that I get individual accolades, but around here you have to be the ultimate team guy. Right now, we feel that if we make a play in the passing game, it's going to help us win. I didn't notice the lack of fans in attendance; I was just focused on the game. They are going to give us our support, regardless. They might not have come out in the weather, but they were watching it on TV, and mentally they were giving us our support. I understand the weather was bad and people were trying to brace for the hurricane. I'll let the fans off the hook this week, but in two weeks, when we play Pittsburgh, I'm looking for a rowdy bunch of Jaguars fans. My wife was consistent in congratulating me. She said good game and walked on out of the room. That's my wife, and she's probably one of my worst critics, beside myself.
Monday, September 18, 2000
On Monday, I came in and worked out, trying to get some of the aches and pains out. I realized we had so many opportunities on Sunday and realized that we did not take advantage of them. Looking at the film helped us see what we need to do to take advantage of those opportunities. Today, coach Coughlin threw us a bone and told us that we didn't have to do our corrections on the field, and we ran in the morning and he gave us a chance to go home early. With this time, I'm going to get me something to eat and get ready for my television show.