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KMac on ESPN's Weekly Conversation

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Thread_Killer, Jan 5, 2007.

  1. Thread_Killer

    Thread_Killer Well-Known Member

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    Interesting read...


    Graham Bensinger: How is the bye week?

    Keenan McCardell: The bye week is great, man. This is the way you want to do it if you want to make it to the Super Bowl. You want to have a bye week, get everybody rested up and ready to play. This is what we set out to do.

    Bensinger: What have you been doing this week?

    McCardell: We've been working on things that have given us trouble throughout the season. We want to go out and make sure we correct those mistakes and work on fine-tuning everything. Your execution becomes important during this time of the year. You have six of the best teams in your conference so everybody has talent. What's really going to make the difference is the execution.

    Bensinger: The most important thing you worked on this week would be what?

    McCardell: The most important thing we worked on was fundamentals. We just got back to the fundamentals: making sure we have correct steps on routes, great timing on routes, in and out of routes, and catching the football fundamentally sound. Our whole team is working on these things.

    Bensinger: How are you feeling?

    McCardell: I'm feeling great, man. I was a little nicked up at the end of the season. This week off helped me get healthier.

    Bensinger: What are the playoffs like?

    McCardell: The playoffs are a big chess game. Everything is a calculated move. You go out and do things very strategically and you make sure you don't make mistakes. When you play chess, you think out a lot of things to make sure you don't have a bad move down the line. When you're in the playoffs, it's one and you're done or one and you keep going. That's how it is.

    Bensinger: Last week, I talked to Trent Green about a player's mentality going into a football game. I asked him if it is the same regardless of the game or does it differ. Green said it depends the player. What do you think?

    McCardell: The mentality is different [in the playoffs]. You know that you have pressure on you all the time, you have to make plays. The mentality is you can't lose. You lose you go home. You're serious about everything. You're in a single-elimination tournament and with each round comes more pressure because you're getting closer and closer to the big carrot -- the Super Bowl.

    Bensinger: I know it's proper to say that the opponent doesn't matter, but how about this: Who would you least like to face?

    McCardell: Man, I couldn't tell you. It really doesn't matter. It's about what we do as a team. We know we're going to be playing somebody next Saturday or Sunday and we just have to go out and play San Diego Chargers football. We have to bring our A-game.

    Bensinger: What team is the biggest pain for you?

    McCardell: None, really. It's going to be great competition whichever team comes in [to San Diego]. We [receivers] just have to go out and get open. We have to get open regardless of if we're facing the best or worst team. You don't get any bad teams this time of the year.

    Bensinger: Obviously, it's been a tremendous season for the Chargers, but how would you describe it for you personally?

    McCardell: It's been an up and down year for me. I've been a little nicked up throughout the year. The season is the season. It's passed. It's a whole new year -- it's '07. I'm looking to start it out right with a big bang.

    Bensinger: You're becoming an old man. You turn 37 on January 6th. How long do you want to continue playing for?

    McCardell: I'll play for as long as my body wants me to play. I want to play for a long time. I still think I can play for at least another four years. I'm just steadily learning and getting better. People think when you get older that you don't learn or get better and are set in your way. You should always continue to learn. It makes your game a lot better. As long as I continue to do that, I think I can play a long time.

    Bensinger: This season, Philip Rivers took over for Drew Brees. To what extent did the QB change impact your game?

    McCardell: It's rhythm and a matter of getting used to a different guy, but that's not an excuse. It doesn't take long for you to get used to a different QB. If you're a route-friendly receiver, you'll get used to your QB real fast.

    Bensinger: What do you most like about Philip Rivers?

    McCardell: He has a great attitude towards the game. I love his fire. He's a fiery guy at that position. You very seldom see that. QBs are all fiery, but it doesn't show. They usually try to keep it mellow because they're the leaders and don't want the team to see it. He shows a lot of spunk, a lot of fire, and I love his competitive nature.

    Bensinger: How would you compare him to Drew Brees?

    McCardell: They're both very competitive. Drew is a little more laid-back about showing it whereas Philip shows it right away. They're both totally different. You adapt to your leaders.

    Bensinger: Knowing you'll be playing for a QB who's a starter for the first time, how much of a concern did you have coming into the season?

    McCardell: It wasn't a concern because I knew he could play. It was just a matter of if it was his time yet. His time probably came a little faster than he expected. He was thrown into the fire, he responded, and he's continuing to respond. Next week, the intensity is going to get high and he'll respond like he's done all year.

    Bensinger: What do you think of LaDainian Tomlinson?

    McCardell: A phenomenal football player. He's not one of the best RBs in the game; he is the best RB in the game. He's a great teammate. Probably one of the quietest superstars I've ever been around. He's all about business which I like.

    Bensinger: Is it a good or bad for a superstar to be quiet?

    McCardell: It's very good. He only speaks when he needs to speak. When he does speak, you know you better listen.

    Bensinger: What do you think of him winning the MVP?

    McCardell: It's very well deserved for a guy that works so hard. If you've ever been around him, you see how hard he works. It paid off.

    Bensinger: What's it like watching him?

    McCardell: I really don't try to watch. I'm out there blocking for him! (laughs) He's a home run hitter every time he touches the ball. You just kind of hold your breath, make sure you get your block, and start running because he can go all the way every time he touches the ball.

    Bensinger: Coach Schottenheimer called him the greatest RB in pro football history.

    McCardell: That's very well said.

    Bensinger: What do you think of the job Coach Schottenheimer has done?

    McCardell: He's done an amazing job with us. We were in the playoffs two years ago. We missed out last year, but we refocused. We circled the truth and understood we missed out on an opportunity of getting in the tournament. Now, we're in. Let's not miss out on our opportunity.

    Bensinger: What do you most respect about him?

    McCardell: He's a very up-front and straightforward person. It's something you very seldom see in the coaching ranks, but you see it a lot with him. If you're a straightforward person, you get a lot out of him.

    Bensinger: You mentioned being up-front and straightforward are traits seldom seen in the coaching ranks. Why is that?

    McCardell: Who knows? It's something that's always been done in the past. Coach Schottenheimer has said he'd rather let a person know straightforward and then he can react to the way it actually is.

    Bensinger: How does he differ from your former coach in Tampa Bay, Jon Gruden?

    McCardell: Different coaching styles. Jon is a little more energetic about the way he approaches players. Marty is a little more laid-back. He just lets you be a professional and do what you do.

    Bensinger: You won the Super Bowl in 2002 with the Bucs. How would you describe winning a Super Bowl?

    McCardell: For a National Football League player, it's the pinnacle. It makes you want to go back and get it again. It's just like climbing a mountaintop. Once you get up there, it's like 'Wow, this is what I've been climbing mountains for' or 'This is what I've been playing football for.'

    Bensinger: The one moment from that day you'll most remember.

    McCardell: Double zeros on the clock. There were four zeros on that clock. The countdown, knowing we were champions, the smiles, and the jubilation in all of us. It was the culmination of our hard work from practices and training camp.

    Bensinger: To what extent, if at all, do you use that as motivation as you head into this postseason?

    McCardell: It's going to be used. You just have to put it in the right context for guys that are in our locker room right now. I talk about it and let them know it's that....

    Forum rules prevent me from posting the entire interview. Here's the link:


    http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2721148
     
  2. Mid-west Chargers fan

    Mid-west Chargers fan Well-Known Member

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    T_K,

    Great find and an interesting read.

    Thanks.
     
  3. Thumper

    Thumper WHS

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    That's my boy! Great interview KMAC! Thanks for the find TK.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    Kmac will help steady the ship as we sail through the playoff's. Thanks for the read.:bolt2:
     

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