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Win in Dallas proves this team has heart


The following is a transcript of a question and answer session between Senior Writer Vic Ketchman and Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver.

VK: What were your emotions in Texas Stadium Sunday?

WW: First of all, I was really proud of our guys. When you have Jimmy Smith and Gary Walker and Joel Smeenge and all of these guys out, and then have young guys like Paul Spicer and Rob Meier come in and really make some big plays, it just goes to show you that this team has heart and those guys play hard. I couldn't be more proud of all of the team, that they hung in there, they played hard and they found a way to win. Even when the Cowboys tied the game at the end of regulation, I still felt we were going to win the game. We didn't turn the ball over. When you're plus-three in a game in turnovers, you ought to win the game. I just felt we were going to get a break and win the football game. Alvis Whitted made two great plays. I was really proud of Alvis.

VK: Do you feel a sense of relief?

WW: Yeah, I do. You get rid of all of that negative energy that's been building here. Tony Boselli said to me that winning never felt better. The locker room was just a totally different attitude.

VK: What do you believe can be accomplished the rest of this season?

WW: Our bye week comes at a great time. You're going to get Walker and Smeenge back. You're going to give Hardy Nickerson a chance to heal. You're going to give Boselli two weeks to get closer to 100 percent. You're going to have a guy like Fernando Bryant with a couple of weeks to heal. It's going to be a different football team when we play Seattle. I think that's huge and I think the emotional part of this is maybe the biggest part of all. These guys now know they can win a football game. They know they can play winning football. I think these guys feel like they can make a run, now. Probably not too many people from the outside would agree with us, but no one thought we were going to go in there and win that football game yesterday. Nobody gave us a chance.

VK: Does your team's performance in Dallas quiet rumors that Tom Coughlin had lost his team?

WW: Hopefully, it'll quiet rumors like that because those rumors have no basis. People love to create sensationalism, and the media is great at that. Tom Coughlin has never lost this football team, and you had to be in the locker room last night to see the emotion; not only the players' emotion, but Tom's emotion and the other coaches'. We needed a win. We needed something to build on, and this gave us our first building block.

VK: From where does your team draw its strength?

WW: Tom Coughlin truly is the leader of this football team and he always has been. The emotional part is natural when you make mistakes and you lose players to injury and you've had the kind of losing streak we've had. It's natural that people get to their lowest point in terms of emotion and morale, but it doesn't take much to build that back up to a peak. Last night's win did that for us.

VK: Your team endured a lot of criticism, from fans and media, during the losing streak. What effect did the criticism have on you?

WW: It's tough. To say it any other way would be disingenuous. It was very difficult. I thought the criticism to some degree was unfair. We haven't played well, but if anybody looks at the number of injuries we've had; we've had a number of inexperienced players out on the field who were probably trying too hard to make a play and made mistakes. Some of our veterans were trying to carry the team on their shoulders and they made mistakes. I've always felt we were a better football team than our record. We lost some games the other team didn't win.

VK: Do you think the criticism has hardened your team?

WW: I would hope that it has made us think that when we get out on that football field that the player has to just focus on what his assignment and what his job is, and that he can't worry about what the press is saying and he can't get caught up in that. I do think to a certain degree that any time you go through this long losing streak we went through, I think it has a maturing effect and, hopefully, our people grew from this.

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