Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
December 24, 2020
Q: Kick returner, you think Dante Pettis can get a swing of the bat this week? Are you guys content with Dion Lewis despite some of the ball security issues?
A: We always have options there. Dion has been our guy. He’s done a good job. We just have to make sure we take care of the football. He’s always been a dependable guy that way. We’ve had a couple issues the last couple weeks. He understands that and it’s something we have to keep working on. We’re always trying to find a way to get better. We’re harping on ball security and making sure that in traffic, we take care of the football.
Q: Two special teams coordinators are head coaches here. Obviously John (Harbaugh) has had a tremendous amount of success. Joe, the early returns are positive. How much do you think that might help open the door for other guys moving forward?
A: Any time you can take that stigma away from special teams coaches not being able to be head coaches, that’s always good. John was an outstanding coach while he was here. When I say here, in the division in Philly. Obviously, Joe has done a great job so far this year. These two guys are kind of breaking that stereotype, the sigma. Over the history of the game, you look at the Dick Vermeil’s of the world, the Marv Levy’s of the world. All the guys have been head coaches, Bill Belichick. That have had backgrounds in special teams. Bill Cowher, just understanding the game and how it all fits together and having a vision and a purpose for what you want to do. When you get an opportunity to do that, you take advantage of it, that’s always a good thing.
Q: Both these guys, the path they traveled, they did go be position coach in kind of a join role. Is that necessary? Why does that seem to be the path to getting to be a head coach?
A: You’d have to ask somebody else that question. I don’t think it’s necessary. You think about over the years, Frank Gansz Sr. being the first one to ever do it. Making that transition from a regular special teams coach straight to head coach. I don’t think it’s necessary. What your experiences are, are what they are. If Joe had the opportunity here to before he coached wide receivers for six months and if John Harbaugh would’ve had the same opportunity after he coached DB’s for six months, I don’t think it would’ve been any different. They were still prepared to do the job. I don’t think coaching a wide receiver position or coaching a DB position would’ve changed who they are as coaches.
Q: Do you have aspirations to kind of follow that footstep? I’m not talking about taking another position coach job. To go from special teams coordinator to head coach somewhere eventually?
A: Absolutely, that’s always been my goal as a coach. To eventually become a head coach. I’m just enjoying where I am now and learning as much as I can from Joe. He’s been awesome. As far as learning all the different situational things and just the preparation part. Learning the different system. I have been in a bunch of them. Leaning another way to do it. Obviously, him coming from where he’s come from, being a part of the Belichick tree and being with Nick Saban down in Alabama. It’s been really good for me.
Q: The fake field goal last week, was that your call, was that Freddie’s (Kitchens)? Is that predetermined because it’s the first series? Is that predetermined going in, like scripted for the first series? Can you tell us anything about how that came about?
A: It’s just a play that we’ve practiced all year. We felt good about it going in. We wanted to make sure that we were being aggressive. That was our mindset going in all week. We talked about it in our team meetings. We talked about it in the special teams meetings. That was a call that we knew that could possibly be up. We made the call and it just didn’t work out. We’re going to always err on the side of being aggressive. Especially now, with our group and our team. We’re trying to make plays and that’s football. Football happens.
Q: How are (Nick) Gates’ hands?
A: You know what, you guys would be blown away, absolutely blown away if you saw him. He’s caught every ball that we’ve thrown him. Since training camp we’ve been working this thing. I promise you. Everybody laughs now because he’s a center. He has the best pair of hands I have ever seen on a center.
Q: You’ve been a while now and you’ve had successful special teams units. There are head coaching jobs open and there’s going to be more open on black Monday as you know. Will you be disappointed if you don’t get a head coach interview?
A: My thing is I take care of the job I have. I try and do the best possible job with the job that I have. The one thing that I’ve always learned in this coaching profession, all the jobs you ever chase, you never get. You take care of the one that you have and the next one will jump in your lap. I’m not worried about trying to chase a head coaching position. In god’s time, I will get what I want. I’ll just take care of the one I have now. Take care of the job that I have. Try to do the best that I can every day helping this team get better. If that opportunity comes, then it comes. If it doesn’t come, I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.
Q: Are you ready to go coach? Is it your time? Are you ready to go if you’re called upon?
A: We’ll see. I feel like I’ve been around for a long time. I’ve had opportunities to be around a lot of good head coaches that have had success and that have done some good things in their career. We’ll see. When those opportunities come up, we’ll see what happens.