Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey -- September 26, 2019
Q: Why has your punt coverage been so efficient, especially last Sunday?
A: Thatís a good question. Guys just play hard. During the week, obviously we watch the opponent. Just the way we go about our coverage units, period. We take a very serious attitude when it comes to it. We give them the freedom just to play and play fast. We donít give them a whole lot of responsibilities. They understand leverage and lanes and all that stuff. But at the end of the day, itís about playing hard and playing fast. When you give guys, schematically, a lot to think about, it slows them down. But when you take away that cloud, they get a chance to really shine. We really just focus on just playing fast. Thatís it.
Q: It seems like your gunners get down the field pretty cleanly, more than maybe other teams. Whatís the key to that?
A: Theyíre good players. Itís real simple. It really is. Dave (Gettleman) has done a great job of assembling talent from the top down and the bottom up. Our guys, when they come in here, the Cody Coreís, the Russell Shepardís, the Antonio Hamiltonís, the Corey Ballentineís, all of those guys that are able to play the gunner position, they can run. Theyíre physical, theyíre long, they can run, they play hard, theyíre good people and theyíre easy to coach. It makes my job a whole lot easier.
Q: What did you see from Dexter (Lawrence) to be able to get in there for that blocked kick?
A: Dexterís a big man. A very big man. 6-5, 340 pounds. If you donít play with good leverage against Dex, you could have a long day. Heís one of the biggest men Iíve ever coached in my life, if not the biggest. But he is very powerful. A very powerful man. He understands leverage. He really does. He knows that once he gets underneath people, he can make people move.
Q: Do you find that on special teams, when a play like that works, when a scheme like that works, a person up the middle, that the team next week, the Redskins, will be focused on that and something else will open up maybe?
A: Itís happened before. A couple years ago in San Francisco, we led the league in blocked kicks and thatís exactly what happened. People started shrinking down and cut off the inside, and that made the edge shorter so we blocked one off the edge. Itís good when you can block one up the middle because people will condense down on you, and it makes that edge shorter.
Q: We might not have asked you about this last week. I know itís two weeks ago now, but the penalty that (Lawrence) got called on, rules-wise, whatís the issue on something like that?
A: It was a point of emphasis that the league emphasized, and it was called.
Q: You donít have to tell him to do something different. You just hope that it doesnít get emphasized as much?
A: Weíll call something different. Dexterís a big man. He worked lateral, and he has a gut. A big stomach. He just bumped the guy with his head. He just brushed his head. It was called.
Q: What did you call to get him to push that field goal right?
A: We made him go this way instead of that way. We took the big man and made him go vertical instead of going horizontal. I think weíll be more vertical with Dex moving forward.
Q: Are you surprised that they took the five yards there (on the delay of game penalty)? They took the penalty on purpose.
A: No, Iím not.
Q: Why werenít you?
A: Because the closer you are, thatís a hard angle. If you can get a little bit of space, it helps you with the angle. I know the ball is in the middle of the field. As you look at it, I understand his thinking. But I probably would have left it where it was. They had already centered the ball, so the ball was in the middle of the field. I probably would have left it there.
Q: Youíre assuming that everybody wants it in the middle of the field. But doesnít Aldrick (Rosas) put it on the hash when he kicks extra points?
A: Everybody is different. Iíve had guys in the past that would tell you, ĎDonít ask me what hash. Just put the ball down.í Most of the time, 90% of the plays that happen in the NFL happen on hashes. They donít happen in the middle of the field. Normally, when youíre on the hash, you have a landmark. You have something you can put the ball down on. You have a spot. In the middle of the field, thereís no landmarks. I would prefer, and Iím sure most kickers would prefer, that the ball be on a hash.
Q: Does Aldrick always put it on the left hash or does it change? Is it just PATs?
A: Yeah, he just likes his extra points on the left hash. Thatís just his deal. Thatís what he likes. Have at it.