Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
September 9, 2021
Q: How does (Defensive Back) Nate’s (Ebner) return affect (Fullback) Cullen (Gillaspia)?
A: It’s going to help him a lot. Anytime you're a young special teams player trying to find your way in the league, and then you get a chance to learn from a veteran special teams player, that's a big advantage for him. Getting Nate back in here and being in the meetings with him and really just kind of being his protege, just learning from a guy who's done it at a high level for a long time – that's advantageous to him.
Q: Is Nate ready to go?
A: Yeah, he practiced yesterday. He’s ready to go.
Q: Usually things aren’t seamless, but is it seamless?
A: It's like anything else, he's got to get in football shape and get used to the volume. As far as the scheme and everything else, he's good.
Q: Has (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) earned your trust?
A: Kadarius is earning everyone's trust. He's getting out here and he's working. He's a rookie, he's trying to find his way and lead. He's going to try and find his niche and he's doing a good job, he is. He's different, he' a special athlete.
Q: Are you comfortable having him out there to be possibly the first Giant to touch the ball in 2021?
A: Who knows. It's one of those deals where whatever situation comes up, we'll deal with it. We’ve got a bunch of options at that spot, which is good. We'll just keep working those guys. We'll keep rolling them and see who ends up back there in the game.
Q: Are you still up in the air about how that's going to shake out or are you kind of set on somebody at this point?
A: We'll see. I mean, again, we've got a bunch of options. We’ve got three or four guys that can do it. We'll find out.
Q: Ball security is always the most important thing, so how do you weigh that even with a guy like Kadarius when you say, ‘well, we get the ball in his hands, he can make something happen,’ but you have to make sure whoever has that ball gets the ball in his hands first and doesn’t lose the ball?
A: That's the most important thing we always tell our guys when it comes to punt return and especially punt return, the most important thing is, so we're getting the ball back. The ball is the most important thing. Obviously, ball security is the number one issue. Once we get that secure, then everything else will take care of itself. All those guys back there are capable of making plays.
Q: Is Kadarius good at that when you talk about ball security?
A: Yeah, he does a good job. He's a wiry, strong guy and he does a good job of fielding the ball.
Q: What is (Safety) Jabrill's (Peppers) defining trait or strength as a returner? We've all seen him be dangerous throughout his career, but what makes him dangerous as a returner?
A: He has great vision, he's powerful, he has excellent change of direction, he can make all of his cuts at full speed and he's just competitive and he wants to do it. A lot of times you get guys that they start to climb the ladder on offense and defense and that return part of the game kind of fades if they have that ability and he just wants to compete. It doesn't matter if it's nickel, if it's dime, if you put him back there at running back, I bet you wouldn't notice the difference between him playing offense or defense. He's just a football player. That's what makes him special.
Q: With Jabrill, (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) said last year that you hear him before you see him. Is he always in your ear wanting opportunities?
A: He's always wanting opportunities. Pepp (Peppers) is never one to shy away from anything competitive and that's what makes him special because he loves to compete, and he competes at a high level. Him getting out here and being able to do all the different things he can do, providing that value and adding value to your football team, it goes without saying, he's just invaluable to you. He does so much.
Q: What catches your attention when you look at the Broncos this week?
A: Oh man. (Special Teams Coordinator) Tom McMahon, his group is always really, really good. They're always super aggressive. They give you a lot of gimmicks, you get fakes, you get the surprise onsides. Their punt is different than any other team in the league. How they punt the ball with direction and limited hang and distance to try and get your returner running sideways. It's challenging and you always got to stay on your toes. They give you a swinging gate on the punt team. They can give you one of them – I mean, they give you all kinds of stuff. They make you prepare for everything and you just got to stay on top of it and just be ready for all the situations that might come up.
Q: You said you have three or four options for kick returner. Do you prefer to just land on one guy?
A: Anytime you can get continuity is always good. It's just like playing the same quarterback, it’s just like having the same running back. Any time you can get consistency and continuity in a spot, that’s what you want so guys can build chemistry, but that's my job. I might have, as a special teams coordinator, we might have four or five guys returning kicks in one year. Shoot, I've had it when we had two or three doing one game. So, that's just the reality of the business.
Q: Is their punter one of the Australian guys?
A: No, it's just their philosophy when it comes to punt. He uses the Australian style of kick. He will use the Aussie kick, he'll offset, pull the ball back to his left and he'll kick it out to the right. You can get you moving and hit a regular punt. So that's kind of their deal when it comes to the punting. They want to get you moving, but he does have the Australian style of kicks, definitely.
Q: Not that other guys can't do it, but against a team that's that tricky, does Ebner being back especially important because of his recognition of what’s coming?
A: Yeah, I mean, absolutely. Anytime you get a veteran guy that's been around, that’s played against other people, it's always good to have. It's always good to have Nate out there and his experience is awesome.