Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey -- December 27, 2018
Q: Since this is the last time I think we speak to you this season, do you feel like you guys have made great strides in special teams compared to everything you saw on tape from last year?
A: I think the guys have bought in to what weíre selling them. Really, to be honest with you, the room has been taken over by the players. Theyíve embraced the teaching and what weíve been doing and then the players just run the room. They basically Ė from the Mike Tís (Thomas) of the world to the Russell Shepardís, those guys police everything. Me, (Tom) Quinn and (Anthony) Blevins, weíre just there to oversee the whole thing, but the players run the room. Theyíve done a real good job on the field, in the meeting rooms, leading us. Theyíve done a really good job. Theyíre embracing what weíre trying to teach.
Q: What emphasis did you bring as far as what you were trying to teach them maybe Ė I know youíre giving players a lot of credit for it, but maybe fundamentals or something that they latched on to that accounted for more consistency this year?
A: Really, the consistency. The players, the actual players on the field. It makes a difference when you can go out every week and you have the same guys, so itís not like youíre re-teaching or re-installing every week. To be able to have consistency and Dave (Gettleman) bringing the guys in and being able to stay healthy and have the consistency, thatís huge for us. You want to be consistent, but you got to have that continuity also so you got to be able to have your same guys that are out there every week so they can have a little chemistry together so they learn how to play with each other and you can have some success.
Q: The way this roster is constituted, seems like there was an emphasis on special teams guys with Michael Thomas, Russell Shepard. Has that been the case with all your stops or is that something a little unique with Dave?
A: I think more itís an emphasis on just getting good football players. When you get a guy like a Mike Thomas or Russell Shepard, those guys contribute on offense and defense and special teams. They donít just play on special teams, and I think Daveís done a really good job of trying to strengthen the bottom part of the roster because you want to build from the top down to the bottom up so youíre only going to go as far as the bottom of the roster will take you because you got to have that consistency, you got to have guys that can step in if a top-tier guy goes down and keep moving. You donít have any drop-off there, so I think more than anything, just being able to have those guys and the consistency and be able to have that continuity, I think thatís huge for us.
Q: What makes Sean Chandler a good special teams player?
A: Seanís very smart, very reliable, and very Ė heís a professional. I told him this the other day, I stopped him in the hallway and I just told him how much I appreciated how he goes about his business. Sean will play in this league for a long time and if he keeps doing what heís doing, heíll play in this league for a long time because he handles himself the right way.
Q: When you came here, they struggled with special teams last year, most of the last two years. How much, when you came, was this something that you felt needed to be overhauled or how did you view it?
A: I didnít see it as anything needed to be overhauled. I just think we needed some consistency. When you look at the roster over the last Ė especially last year. When I got here and I looked at the tape and then every week you saw different guys out there, I donít care whoís standing right here, thatís hard when you have to re-teach every week and you got different guys coming in every week. Itís hard to create that consistency and continuity. Itís starting over literally every week. Thatís hard, so weíve had the consistency with the roster this year and guys staying healthy and I think more than anything, thatís helped us have success.
Q: Is that why the veteran guys, the Mike Thomasí and the Russell Shepardís, were brought in, in your opinion?
A: I think those are good players. Obviously they have teams value, but theyíre good football players. Weíre not going to bring in guys that are just special teams-only guys. They got to be able to contribute on offense and defense and those guys can do that.
Q: Antonio Hamilton, heís hurt now, but do you think what he does is irreplaceable? In other words, you put some more gunners out there and maybe they do their job well, but do you think he did his job well enough this year to show that he is kind of a rung above maybe?
A: I think Antonio did a great job this year. Heís another professional kid. Comes in, does his job, he works, heís great in the meeting room, heís consistent in how he behaves everyday and heís a good kid. He understands it, he understands what it takes to do his job at a high level and itís important to him and you can tell by the way he goes about his everyday business, so I think Antonio he was huge in our success this year and I think the skyís the limit for that kid.
Q: Whatís next in Aldrickís (Rosas) development or is it just kind of keep doing what heís doing for the next 15 years?
A: We were talking about that yesterday, him taking the next step as far as just being smooth and not trying to kick every ball 70 yards. Just him kind of not really taking anything off of him, but just being a little bit more smoother and I think thatíll Ė because heís so strong. Heís just a strong leg and kicks the ball with (inaudible) so he just needs Ė he has to understand thereís a certain amount of kicks he got in that leg and we want to make sure that you can preserve him moving forward. Heís got a ton of talent, heís got a lot of upside.
Q: You guys should be in the position, I guess, of having the luxury of having your kicker and punter in place going forward, so what does draft season become like for a special teams coordinator because youíre not drafting anybody just to play special teams, so do you like work with the offensive and defensive guys to say this is who weíre looking for and you check out the special teams tape?
A: We look at everything. We watch them, we watch them as football players because there are basic movements that you see on offense and defense that equate to special teams. Defensive guys playing out in space, offensive players blocking, running, tackling, defensively just toughness, just all those different things that are attributes of a good, solid football player and weíll go in and watch the offensive and defensive tape and youíll be able to see if the guy can play and again, weíre looking at getting good football players. Thatís why they call me coach. I get them here and coach them up on how to do certain things, special teams wise, but for the most part, weíre just looking, trying to find good football players.
Q: What does the future at punt returner look like?
A: Thatís a good question. Weíre developing some guys. Jawill (Davis) is one of those guys that weíre developing and Iím sure, you know we got Quadree (Henderson) still on the roster and weíll probably go out this offseason and grab some more guys, so itís always one of those deals Ė you can never have enough guys to return punts. You can never have enough guys in the building that can catch punts, so thatís one of those positions that itís obviously a fluid position and we just got to find the guy to step up and do the job.
Q: What has this year been like for you? Your first year back, you were here a long time ago just in a different role. Whatís it been like for you?
A: Itís been great. Being back here is like being at home. Iíve spent so much time here. Prior to me leaving here, this is the longest place Iíve ever been in one spot, four years, so being here is a lot of great memories. Love the people in the building. To me, itís the best organization in the league and the way they handle everything and itís been great.
Q: How about health wise? How are you doing and howís that been throughout this year?
A: Iím good. It is what it is. You deal with it, you fight through it and you battle through some things, but Iíve been fine. Once I got through the treatment, it was just more catching up on sleep, more of that. Other than that, Iím fine.