Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
September 2, 2021
Q: Have you been in touch with (Long Snapper) Casey (Kreiter) a lot in the past 24 hours to make sure nothing crazy happened?
A: Oh man, that's just part of the process. Casey is good and back in the building. We’re ready to rock.
Q: Do you worry about somebody else that might come in and snatch him up?
A: No, I'm not going to worry about that. Casey is a good man. We’ve got a trust, we’ve got a good relationship. He wants to be here, we want him here, so it all worked out.
Q: How did (Center) Nick (Gates) do in his one day there?
A: Nick is a good football player, very versatile. Obviously, you watch him play offensive line, he's played all three positions in the game and really, actually all five. He's a good athlete. He’s probably got the best hands on our team as far as offensive linemen are concerned. He's a very good athlete.
Q: (Wide Receiver) C.J. Board has gotten a lot of reps at kick returner throughout camp and the preseason. How do you feel like he's performed there?
A: He's done nothing but get better as he’s been here since he walked in the door last year. That was a skill he had in college and he hadn’t done it a lot in the league, so we just knocked the dust off of it and he kind of jumped right back into it. He’s doing a great job. He's working his tail off at it. C.J. is one those kids who comes in a room and he won't say two words and he just works. He'll run all day long and he'll continue to work at whatever you ask him to work at. He's a pro, he's becoming a really good pro.
Q: Are you happy to see (Panthers Kicker Ryan) Santoso get a job?
Q: I know it's a different staff, but did your Carolina connections come in at all?
A: (Panthers Special Teams Coordinator) Chase (Blackburn) is the special teams coordinator over there, but I think more than anything, it had to do with the situation that they were going through and then Ryan being who he is. I'm super excited for the kid. He's worked his tail off, he put in a lot of work just from converting to a three-way guy to being a kicker and a kickoff guy. I’m just super excited for him and the opportunity that he's getting down there in Carolina. Sky's the limit for that kid.
Q: What does a (Fullback) Cullen Gillaspia bring to special teams besides the great head of hair (laughs)?
A: Cullen is a great competitor. He works his tail off and he does have the nice locks (laughs). He's very conscientious. Obviously, he was the 12th man at (Texas) A& M, so you know he's a competitor. He fights and he just wants to learn, he's like a sponge right now. We're just trying to give him all the information he needs to be successful, then he'll go home and study and come to work and study and work and work and work. Hopefully, he ends up where he wants to be, but he's heading down the right path for sure.
Q: Where do you stand with the kickoff returner at this point?
A: We’ll see, we’ve got a lot of options. We'll see where (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) fits in, who knows. We’ve just got a lot of options. We’ve got a lot of different guys we could put back there. We’ve got a lot of guys that have done it in the past, a lot of viable options. It's always good to have options at that spot.
Q: You have about a half dozen guys who seem like they’re starting on all four core units. How good do you feel about that group that is in place right now?
A: They're just growing. They're growing as a group and as a unit and that's all we can expect. I feel good about the group as a whole. They're young, they're conscientious. they're always looking to find a way to get better and they're picking up everything we're putting down. I think, more importantly, they're growing as a group and as a unit. That's the most important piece right now.
Q: At gunner, do you now have the speed and ability with (Defensive Back) Keion (Crossen) and (Linebacker) Cam (Brown) that ideally you would look for?
A: Obviously, Keion is a blazer, it jumps off the tape. Cam is learning the position and I think Cam has the potential to be an outstanding gunner. There are some things he still needs to work on, because it's a new position for him. Anytime you put a young kid in a new spot, there's going to be some growing pains. Once he starts to figure it out for what works for him, he’s going to be good.
Q: (Free Agent Safety) Nate (Ebner) was here on a visit this week. Did he give you guys any idea of how long until he's ready to suit-up?
A: I'll let Nate take care of that. When he gets here, I'll coach him. That's kind of my deal with him. I love him to death. Nate is an outstanding leader and has been a great (special) teamer in this league for years. Anytime you can get a guy like that back in your building with that kind of leadership and that kind of experience, I can't wait to get him back.
Q: I think, and maybe it was just me, that there was a thought that (Defensive Back) Jabrill (Peppers) might be backed off of being a returner in the sense that he’s had the ball in his hands a lot. Is that just about whoever is the most dangerous, that’s who’s going to be back there?
A: Like (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) always says, the best players will play, that's kind of our deal. The best players will play. Jabrill gives us an opportunity. Obviously, he's been a really good returner in this league since he's been in the league. The best players will play. It depends on situations. It just depends, there could be a situation where we use three different returners in one game, you never know. That’s just the way the game flows sometimes. Again, having options is always good.
Q: Back to gunner for a second, when you have a guy like Cam with his profile, and I know we’ve asked you about it, does it force teams to think about who are they going to double and make choices that make it difficult on them?
A: Absolutely, you’ve got to deal with both of them. With Keion, we traded for him for a reason. He has a unique skill set, and he's a blazer. Then, Cam on the other side is a big, strong, long, powerful guy who can run also. Teams will have to deal with those guys. Then, throwing in a C.J. Board and some of these other guys that we have and having to deal with speed on both sides. It's always good for your punt team.
Q: Cam made the big tackle in Cincinnati last year. Then, it looked like he stopped a big one from breaking in Cleveland. Is that second effort stuff, is that awareness, is that his physical ability? What is he showing you?
A: It's everything you just named, it's all of that. Cam is a very instinctive player. He plays hard. He has great physical ability and then coupled with a really good motor, he's able to make plays like that. That's what you love in a kid like that, that kind of energy, that kind of effort, that type of tenacity. As a gunner, you have to play like that. You’ve got to be relentless to the ball and that's his skillset. That’s who he is.