Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
McGaughey: What's going on, good people? How are you all doing? Fire away.
Q: (Running Back) Gary Brightwell is listed as the kickoff returner on the unofficial depth chart. What do you like about him?
A: Gary is a dependable football player. A young player. Up and coming. Smart, tough, dependable. He's everything that we want in a returner. He's got good speed. He's tough. Got good quickness. Has good vision. And again, the most important thing is dependable. So, I look forward to seeing him make some plays.
Q: What was your reaction to seeing (Inside Linebacker) Cam Brown get voted a captain?
A: I wasn't shocked. Cam is growing. He's maturing. And I guess other people see that as well. So, I'm happy for him and his growth as a man and as a football player; and I think his best football is ahead of him.
Q: For that gunner spot, you talked a lot about Cam last year. I assume he will be one of your gunners…?
A: Cam has a lot of versatility. If we need to throw him out there at gunner, he can be there; if we need to throw him out at wing, he can be there. Tackle, he can be there in punt. So, he does a lot of different jobs for us. We'll see what happens on Sunday, but we've got a bunch of guys that are rolling at the gunner spot. It's been pretty good so far. Happy with what we got.
Q: You look like you're still trying guys out there.
A: Yeah. That's the whole team. It's everybody. You turn over the bottom part of the roster, that's just part of it. I'll tell you guys this a hundred times: I make gumbo every week. That's what it is. You don't complain about it; you don't think yay or nay about it. You just go with what it is. You make the adjustments; don't make excuses.
Q: (Wide Receiver) Kalil (Pimpleton) is a guy who's been an accomplished returner in college. I'm curious how much you saw him in college and when you guys had that opportunity to bring him in, did you view that as a possibility for returner?
A: We'll see. Anything is possible in this league. Guys got to stay ready. That's why we talk about it all the time.
Q: I could've asked you this years ago, I'm not sure that I didn't necessarily, but have you ever lobbied for (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) on special teams, particularly kickoffs?
A: He's always lobbied for it. I told him, 'You're trying to get me fired, aren't you?' But no, Saquon is always itching to get back there.
Q: Is he serious, do you think?
A: I don't know.
Q: Because he did it at Penn State. You saw that.
A: Oh, trust me. I've seen him do it before. I would venture to say you've got to have a situation somehow, someway, maybe, who knows.
Q: (Kicker) Graham (Gano) looks like he's good to go. Next preseason, will you tell him to let the returner go in that situation? You don't want to risk losing him in that spot.
A: I think the competitor came out in Graham in that situation. But Graham's ready to rock.
Q: We haven't talked to you since then. I know (Safety) Julian (Love) said he'd never held before. How often do you practice contingency plans for those spots?
A: We do it probably once a week. But that scenario was a little bit different because we didn't anticipate the kicker getting hurt. We anticipated potentially maybe the holder, having a different holder. But I'll tell you what, it was a testament to JLove and his character and who he is as a leader and a captain. And he volunteered for it. He's like, 'I'll do it.' And to be able to pull that off, that's a feat in itself.
Q: Does that change your prep going forward at all or how you approach things?
A: No. We still work the backup holders. We still work the backup snappers. That was a learning experience for me because that was a left footed kicker, and it's different holding for a lefty and a righty. It's a big difference. But we'll work those situations and scenarios moving forward.
Q: I know you're not the personnel decision maker here – you've said that many times. But I'm wondering: it's been several regimes now. Have you chimed in and said, 'Hey. It would benefit us to have a full-time returner.' I know it's become less and less prevalent around the league, but is that something you would like to have if it still existed today?
A: To me, you all know my philosophy. Whoever is out there, we're going to coach them up and get them better. Any time you can have continuity in any spot in any realm of business, sports, continuity breeds consistency. So, anytime we can get continuity, if you can get a guy back there that's there, and that's his job, that's his main job and he's locked in a focused on it, yeah, you want something like that. But you just make do with what you have. I don't get a lot of say-so in how the roster flows. Whatever I got is what I coach.
Q: In the last couple of months, when did (Punter) Jamie (Gillan) convince you he was the right guy?
A: It was probably right in the middle of OTAs. A switch just flipped. And he just started hitting the ball really, really well. It got to the point to where it was like 'You know what? We just need to keep nurturing him and bringing him along and keep feeding him positive things.' And he's growing. He's still has some things he needs to work on, but he's growing as a young punter.
Q: And he is the backup kicker?
A: Yeah. Definitely (Laughs).