ST Coordinator Thomas McGaughey -- December 20, 2018
Re: Riley Dixon’s rushing attempt last week
A: I guess you can call it fake. It was just one of those days. Everybody was struggling to catch the ball. You look at their guy (Titans P) Brett Kern, he had a couple of them that hit him right in the hands, hit him in the chest, but he caught them and got it off. It was just one of those days. It’s hard to catch the ball, that’s the thing we talked a little bit about before the game. A couple of guys that are receivers of the ball, we’re saying you got to catch it first on one of these wet, nasty days like that. It is what it is. It just worked out for the best.
Q: (P) Riley (Dixon) said when he looked up, he saw everyone had their back to him. Is it ever risky to give the punter the option to read that?
A: It’s very risky. They took a chance of doubling our gunners in the plus area, because we’ve been doing a good job of downing the ball inside the 10 (-yard line). So, they wanted to take those two guys out and didn’t bring a force-rusher. When I was at LSU, (former Giants P) Brad Wing had a really big play based on that. He just took off, and saw the defense. Same exact thing happened.
Q: Can you explain the play with (LB Ukeme) Eligwe where he downed the ball but it went through the end zone?
A: I wish I had an explanation for that (laughter). I’ve heard a couple different things. It worked out in our favor. I like to think he was going to stop before he went in. The ball squirted out of his hands. The good thing, we had a precedent Arizona versus Detroit a couple years ago where the guy possessed the ball, kind of did the same exact thing, the football moved – one, two possession, and it worked out.
Q: Who knew that? You? Shurmur?
A: We talked about it on the sideline. (Assistant Special Teams Coordinator Tom) Quinn was the first one to point it out. We went to talk to the official about it. They were like, “Yeah, we remember that,” and kind of went from there. It was good to have that knowledge on the sideline.
Q: If the ball goes through the end zone, that’s not always a touchback?
A: Not always. We catch it, possess it, one, two, you got possession of the ball – I think it’s a football act. If you possess if before it goes in, then they blow it dead.
Q: But if he carried it in…
A: If he carried it in, it would’ve been a touchback, absolutely.
Q: Did you know what was going on during the delay of game penalties?
A: Yeah, a lot of times when you get down in that area, fourth-and-short, trying to draw them offside, and you’re trying to give yourself a little bit more room to down the ball inside the 10 (-yard line). We didn’t want to give them that opportunity, and they kept insisting that we do. It just slows deals. That’s the rules. If you do it twice, they call unsportsmanlike conduct, and move them back. You can’t decline that.
Q: Have you ever seen anything like that?
A: No, I haven’t. It was a smart play by them. Just trying to give themselves some room. They got probably a little bit more leg than they wanted. They created space for themselves.
Q: Can you actually literally not decline that penalty? Or, you just wouldn’t take it because it would be 15 yards?
A: You wouldn’t take it.
Q: In college, the way they line up for punts is so much different.
A: It’s the rules. In college, as soon as the ball is snapped, you can just take off and run. So, nobody has to wait until the ball is punted. The rules are set to where there’s no sense of moving backwards when you can go forward immediately. You don’t have as many returns in the college game, because when that ball is snapped, everybody just takes off.
Q: At what point in the season did you believe Aldrick Rosas had the chance to be a Pro Bowl kicker?
A: Probably midway through. When you look at him and what he was doing, he was super consistent. The misses that he had in practice, which is like small misses, and he was just consistent. You just saw the consistency every day, and then he was doing it in the games. His warmups, he was just super, super consistent. Once I saw that, kind of midway through, you knew he had the potential and he had a chance to just keep it rolling, and he’s done a great job, he really has.
Q: Does he look like a totally different kicker to you this year?
A: Yeah, he’s a lot more confident. You can tell from – last year, he was all over the place. Last year, he was a young guy. It was his first year in the league. That’s the one thing I talked about with you guys earlier this year – young guys are young guys. They make mistakes, they’re all over the place, they’re inconsistent. It’s just like how we all were when we were young. We made mistakes and we did things that weren’t good for us, but eventually, you learn from those mistakes, and you don’t become a repeat offender. Aldrick has done a really good job in his career early, and hopefully he can keep this thing moving.
Q: How much of it was the physical adjustments and the mechanics?
A: There’s some subtle things. There’s some tweaks, because last year, a lot of his misses last year weren’t bad misses. They were just kind of leaky, off to the right, or just leaky off to the left. It wasn’t horrible. When I came in last year and saw him, I just knew we needed to make a couple of tweaks, and he did that this year, and you’re seeing the results of them.
Q: How valuable has (S) Michael Thomas been to you all year?
A: Oh, Mike T. is huge. He’s big for the room. Not only does he bring the production on the field, the energy and the effort and the professionalism, it’s the leadership in the special teams room. He does an outstanding job of leading. There’s a reason why he has that “C” on his chest. He had done a really good job. He’s been great for us, and we look forward to having him.
Q: How much does his role change now if he’s asked to do more defensively? Does his workload on special teams change?
A: Definitely. Obviously, you can’t do a full load and play as much defense as he’s playing. So, we’ve taken him off a couple of things so he can get his wind. He knows where his bread is buttered. You have to fight him to get him off all of the stuff. We got him on a couple of teams. He’s excited about it. He’s always busting my chops about putting him back on certain things. He’s done a great job. He is a tremendous asset to our team.
Q: Who is the next man up for (CB) Antonio Hamilton?
A: It’ll be a bunch of different guys. It’s hard to replace Antonio. He’s done such a good job. He’s been so consistent for us. (CB) Tony Lippett will come up and do some things. Antonio’s spot, we’ll kind of mix and match different guys and try to use their skillset to maximize their performance. Lipp will be up, and we’ll move some guys around. Just move the chess pieces around. That’s what we do, juggle balls and see where we end up.
Q: What about (WR) Cody (Latimer)?
A: Cody will be back. He’ll be playing on offense, and again, that’s a part of the juggling act. We’ll move him around and put him in different spots where they can be effective and maximize their reps on game day.