Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey -- December 26, 2019
Q: An eventful game for you guys Sunday. That sequence there, can you take us through that punt getting downed at the 1-yard line, to the block and what happened?
A: You know, it was a great punt by Riley (Dixon), youíre talking about going from one extreme to the other. Great punt by Riley, downed the ball at the 2-yard line, had a call that couldíve went either way. They called it. To come back and then Josiah (Tauaefa), it was just a simple day one rush, it was nothing fancy about it, the two just came underneath and he got beat. Thereís no other way you canÖliterally itís a simple day one installation rush weíve seen since the spring. It happens.
Q: Does that trickle down from (Alec) Ogletree? Because David (Mayo) was playing more or Buc (Deone Buccanon) playing more?
A: No, Josiah has been in that spot for eight weeks now, nine weeks. He knows it. Itís not an excuse and itís just something that is part of his job. He knows, ĎI block the two, Iím a tackle.í Since day one when he walked in here, thatís where we started off. Same exact look. Itís just unfortunate that it happened to him. Josiah is a great kid and I promise you heís learned from this mistake.
Q: At the end of the game, what happens along the sideline? Youíve got a 62 or 63 (yard field goal). Does Pat (Shurmur) come over to you and say, ĎCan he make it?í
A: Yeah, we talked about it on the sideline. You know, Iíve got full confidence in Aldrick (Rosas). The kid has a strong leg. I think 60-65, he couldíve made it. But, you just never know. Itís 30-something degrees out there, or whatever it was. It was cold, had a little wind in their face. If you mishit the ball and theyíve got one of the best returners in the league back there in (Steven) Sims, the ball comes short and then youíve got your fat guys on the field. So, itís probably not a good idea. They double both your wings, throw out your fastest guys because thatís what (Redskins Special Teams Coordinator) Nate Kaczor does. Heíll double both your wings and then youíve got a fast guy back there against your fat guys. So, itís not a favorable situation if the ball comes up short. You just never know. You mishit a ball or whatever it is, the ball comes out low, itís tipped or whatever bad situation. Itís probably a 15 percent, maybe 20 percent, chance that he makes the kick, but you just donít want to take that chance. You know youíre going to overtime, you throw the Hail Mary and get out of it.
Q: This is going to be the last time we talk to you this season. Whatís your overview of special teams and how theyíve been this year? Last year you guys graded really wellÖ I think this year in coverage units. You had a couple of just a few bad moments it seems like just scattered throughout.
A: Yeah, when you look at our group overall, I think our coverage units have been pretty good for the most part (knocks on wood). Weíve got one more. The return units have been good. Obviously, weíve felt like we left a lot of meat on the bone as far as making plays in the return game. Coverage wise, again, I thought we did pretty good. Punt protection wise, obviously when you get two punts blocked, thatís not good. Field goal wise, I think we couldíve been better. We had some issues with the operation and just being consistent. Weíve got to find that again. Field goal block wise, our guys have rushed hard the whole year. So, I mean overall, itís been solid. I think we couldíve been better in spots. I think situationally, we couldíve been better. Overall, I think we were solid. Moving forward, I think that with the good base of young guys that we have, having Riley, having Aldrick, having Colin (Holba), and just being able to create competition throughout the roster, I think weíll be better.
Q: You talk about meat on the bone in the return game, how much of that is that you just didnít have a returner? You went through guys in different parts of the season.
A: Yeah, I mean thatís always a fluid situation as far as returners. Everywhere Iíve been, if you get a guy thatís your guy, thatís the guy, and you can keep him through the whole season, youíre blessed. There are not a lot of teams that have guys that are fortunate just to have a guy dedicated to that one spot. Even if there is, a lot of times he gets dinged up or you know what I mean? Thatís something as a special teams coach youíre going to always have to deal with. I think as far as just technique wise, execution wise, more so than personnel wise. Does that make sense? I think there are some things that we did during the course of the season that didnít help us because we didnít execute at a high level.
Q: What makes Cody Core so good as far as getting down there and downing punts?
A: I think Cody, heís just starting to find his stride. Thatís the one thing about young players in this league, a lot of times it takes guys a while to figure out who they are as players and then once they find out who they are, they get comfortable in their role and then now they just start to flourish. So, he understands who he is, he knows what his role is, and now he can just step into that role and feel comfortable in it and just be who he is.
Q: Do you tell Aldrick just to forget about this season and keep on working, or what?
A: Yeah, I think, you know he needs to finish strong. So, this Sunday, whatever opportunities we have, he needs to fish strong in those opportunities. Then this offseason just re-group. I think going into next year having the same battery guys together and making sure we get a good offseason together I think will be more advantageous to him to be able to execute and be able to go out there and get back to last yearís form to where heís not thinking about anything, heís just lining up and just kicking the ball.
Q: I know heís not your guy, but youíve known him for a long time. Whatís it like working with Eli Manning?
A: Eli, he is a proís pro. From the first day I stepped in here in í07 to now, heís been the same exact guy every day. Every morning, heís the first guy in the building, eating breakfast at 6:15 or 6:30. He gets out here, he works, he does what heís supposed to do. Heís always a willing helper. Heís just one of the funniest cats youíll ever be around. You guys donít (know), some of you do, but heís a big-time practical joker. He is a great guy, great teammate, and heís going to be definitely missed around here. Heís a legend in his own right. Iíve got to thank him before he gets out of here for giving me a ring, because he did a heck of a job in that í07 season. All of the memories and just being around E all of time, especially back then when I first got here, just watching him grow as a quarterback and now just to come back and just to see him as the old man in the building, just the old grizzly veteran who is a guy that just loves ball. He just loves ball. Heís a great teammate, and just to see the transformation being the starter to being the backup and how heís helped Daniel (Jones), and how good of a teammate heís been to Daniel. Iíll tell you what, itís a beautiful thing because I promise you it doesnít happen like that all of time. This is his building. He was the first quarterback to move into this building and heís been the guy here ever since we walked into the building. To be able to make that transition and do it so graciously and with class is typical Eli Manning.