Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey -- December 19, 2019
Q: Are free kick returns different than punt returns? You had a big one, obviously, on Sunday.
A: In theory, itís different, but itís the same thing. All we do is basically put a punt returner out there and we use a kickoff return scheme, but itís kind of like a punt return. Obviously, youíve got to return it like one. So, we made a big play and DaíMari (Scott) got a chance to make somebody miss and kind of show who he is.
Q: This might be obvious, just a special teams question, but why do teams choose to punt instead of kick off in that situation?
A: Thatís the rule.
Q: Thatís obvious then (laughter). Did it used to be that way?
A: Well, in college you have the option of kicking off or punting. In pro football, you have to punt.
Q: The Redskinsí punter (Tress Way) is pretty good. What makes a guy such a good punter?
A: He is very strong, has a very strong leg, and they allow him to punt away, like just hit it as far and long as he can. So, thatís good and bad. You get some opportunities to return the ball, but he can also be a weapon because he can flip the field. He had a punt against Carolina, backed up on the minus 21, he hits it 60 yards in the air and it rolls for another 18 yards, a 79-yard punt. So, that can affect the game a little bit.
Q: Do you have your returner start even farther back when youíre facing a guy like that?
A: Yes. It all depends on the conditions, the wind, all that stuff, but youíve got to play him a little deeper. He has the ability to really, really flip the field. A talented guy, obviously, going to the Pro Bowl.
Q: Riley (Dixon) is not far off from the Pro Bowl. What does that mean to you guys that he made that jump?
A: Heís had a good year, he really has. I think heís turned a corner. Heís enjoying punting. I think today he might have hit 3,000 balls. Heís enjoying it, heís enjoying his craft. Heís feeling himself turn that corner. Everything is starting to click for him a little bit more now. Last week, it was a little crazy with the conditions and the wind and stuff, but even with the conditions that we had, he did a good job of handling it. So, I think heís definitelyóthe arrow is up for him. Heís moving in the right direction.
Q: That safety, do you consider those special teamsí points?
A: No, obviously the defense tackled him. It would be different if it was us, but no. I know it was a big play that put them down there, the wind helped us a little bit on that punt. But, no, it was a big play by the defense. Sam (Beal) did a great job of tackling the guy in the end zone, but we did a good job of downing the ball inside the five, and they helped us with the penalty. But it was good, complementary football, backing them up, getting the safety, punt after the safety, return it back to the 40, get good field position, go down and score. I think that was a big turning point in the game.
Q: Has (David) Sills shown he can contribute on special teams?
A: David is a young guy, he hadnít been able to get out there with us as far as like with the real bullets flying. He is a hard-working kid. He does exactly what you ask him to do, and weíll see. Weíll see what he can do. Heís a talented kid.
Q: Whatís his best attribute? We havenít obviously seen him.
A: Just his tenacity. Heís long, he can run, and he plays extremely hard. And itís everything that you want to see in a young guy. He has length, heís not a real big guy as far as his girth, but he just plays hard. He competes, and you canít ask for more.