Jaguars' WR Coach Keenan McCardell Quotes 8.16.20
COURTESY OF JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
(On his expectations from Chris Conley this season) "You know, Chris [Conley] has been the eldest statesman in my room. I expect him to lead the younger guys, show them how to be pros, but continue to be Chris. I think Chris had his best year of his career last year and I want him to continue to grow on that year. And I think coming out to practice and showing guys how a professional does it is really big for the young guys. And I tell the two young guys to take a peek at him, watch how he practices. He doesn't take anything for granted and he understands, I mean, it's a competition here and everybody in that room understands the competition. So, I expect him to step up and be a guy that's going to help us this year."
(On working with Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden thus far) "Oh it's been great! I mean, I kind of know this offense pretty well. I've been to the Pro Bowl with this offense, so I understand this offense. I can kind of help my guys get through some of the hard parts of this offense. I think Jay has kind of made it a little bit simpler than [former Jaguars Offensive Coordinator] John [DeFilippo]. You know, John had a lot of shifts, motions and all that. You have to know different—a whole bunch more formations before you got into the final formations. Jay has made it a little bit simpler, a little bit easier for us outside. It's concept-driven and our guys have picked it up pretty well. I mean, our virtual meetings in the spring were really big for us and we're fortunate enough [that] we've got some smart guys that are picking the offense up."
(On thoughts of the wide receiver group as a whole) "You know, I like the different body types that I have in my room, the different route runners that I have in my room. Everybody has continued to improve each and every day. It's great to have some big guys that can run routes like little guys and some little guys that can get past folks like the big guys, big guys just being big. I mean, it's a great room. For us to get to where I want us to be, we've got to continue to make plays for this offense every time our number is dialed up, you know, and be accountable to this offense and accountable to this team. And understand that sometimes we have to take the burden off of Gardner [Minshew II] and strike past long runs. We need to be able to be dynamic outside."
(On coaching with a mask on and without a preseason due to COVID-19) "First off, I double up with the masks and it's hard for them to hear me, so I've got to speak up, speak clearly. A couple times it took my breath away a little bit. You know, I have to deal with it. Thought I was about to pass out one day and I had to take both masks off. Other than that, it's been good. But for COVID's sake, I'm trying to get everybody ready because we don't know who could test positive and it's the next man up mentality for me. I want to be able to coach guys who are ready to play at any point in this season because we never know what could happen. I hope, we knock on wood, that we don't get any hints of COVID in my room or on our team. And if we do, then the next guy has got to step up and I expect the next guy to play like it was his job, as if he was the number one receiver or number two receiver or number three receiver. I expect him to come in and do that, and he should have that confidence and I'm going to have that confidence to give him and I'm going to have the confidence in him to come in and play."
(On following up with the players on their protocols outside of practice, too) "I do, I mean, I continue to harp on 'Alright, this is your job. You want to get paid? You want to be able to support your family? You've got to do the right things.' You know, it's 17 weeks, well no, it's 21 weeks for a season and then another six [weeks] for the playoffs. So, you've got to be able to be disciplined in that time frame and be able to know that it'll pay off for you in the long run. So, I keep harping on that. You've got to trust them. You've got to let them know you trust them, and believe in them that they will do that. And most likely they'll respond to the way you talk to them and mean it."
(On the National Coalition for Minority Football Coaches and the progress of the BLM movement) "You know, it's coming, the progress is coming. It's always a fight and we've got to continue to make it a movement, not just a moment, like Chris [Conley] has said in our march. The movement has to keep going and you've got to believe in the things, believe in the people that are in charge that are going to make things right. And if they're not, then you've got to call it to their attention. I mean, that goes from outside of football, inside of football, whether it's at the pro level or at the college level. With [Maryland Head] Coach [Mike] Locksley, I love what he does. Me and him are really good friends, we have our private conversations. I don't have to be on the board or in the board, but me and him have our conversations about it. He bounces things off of me a lot and you know, I just tell him how I feel being a former player, being a coach now and seeing the difference in things in the coaching industry. You just kind of bounce things off guys and just give them a different insight of some things. And you know, we continue to have those types of conversations. I mean, I really respect Coach Locksley for doing that. I knew he would. My two years with him were good. We would go out to dinner a lot and we'd talk about all the issues before all of this came down, so it's just our normal conversations."
(On the difficulty to be strict with the COVID-19 protocols) "No, I think the ops [operations] team here has done a great job of telling us how the [social] distancing should be. You know, we have our GPS [tracers] on and it kind of pings if we're getting too close, they kind of give us some guidance of what we need to do. And we do it, I give our ops team a kudos for what they've been doing, I mean, [Associate Athletic Trainer] Cassie [Ettel] is doing a big thing for us with the COVID-19 virus. Everybody around here has taken it seriously and we'll continue to take it seriously. I just hope our guys, when they're outside of the building, continue to take it seriously. As much as we stress it here, I think it'll carry over to outside the building."
(On everything being sanitized after every single practice) "It does. I mean, it kind of goes back to when you see a quarterback throw a football or lick his fingers before he throws a football. He can't do that now because he could have—he could get COVID from somewhere. It's the new norm. You've got to dip your hand in some water or wipe your forehead for some sweat or something to moisturize your fingers and stuff like that. So, it's a little bit different. You understand that when you come off the field you've got to wash your hands, don't touch your face, and all that so, don't rub your eyes. You know, it's hard in Florida not to rub your eyes because of all the sweat, so you've got to go get the towels and stuff like that. But our training staff has done a great job with informing us and all that. So, we've got to continue to believe in those guys and trust in them and know that they've got our best interest at heart."
(On Laviska Shenault Jr.'s performance thus far) "I see a lot of power—strong runner after the catch. You know, he reminds me a little bit of Anquan Boldin after the catch, the way he gets in and out, the way he breaks his tackles, on film I saw that. Now, being up close with him, he has that power of Andre Johnson. You know, I hold Andre in high regards, that's my guy, we're good friends. But I've also seen him [Shenault] work every day. I see the power that he has, he kind of reminds me a little bit of Andre, he has that type of power. And I don't want to put those shoes out there for him because those are some huge shoes to fill, but you know, he has that type of body type. I mean, I'm looking forward to seeing this kid play. I recruited him when I was at Maryland. I know who he is, I know where he comes from, I know what type of football player he is, it means a lot to him. You know, he's kind of quiet, but you know, it means a lot to him and I appreciate that."
(On expectations for DJ Chark Jr.) "You know, I've got big expectations for DJ [Chark Jr.], and I don't want to overload him too much with what I want from him. I'm going to ease it to him, because you start to throw too much on him, and he gets to thinking. I want my guys to be able to play fast and have fun. I want them to go out and have fun. That's what I want them to do is go out and have fun. And take a leadership role, just a little bit more. You know, demand more from the people around him. I mean, okay, you play receiver, but you can demand more from every position in that huddle. I mean, if you're playing at a high level, demand it from everybody else. And just be a spirit that brings good vibes to the huddle, good vibes to this team. You know, everybody has seen you go to the Pro Bowl, you're this, you're that. Now, don't rest on your laurels and say 'Well, okay I've been there, you guys haven't been there.' No, I want all of us to go there, let's get there. Let's take this thing to, not just to Pro Bowl, let's take this thing to the Super Bowl."