Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
Q: Are you going to take (offensive lineman Devery) Hamilton off the field goal team after he stepped on Graham's (kicker Graham Gano)? That's like the biggest no-no you can have, right?
A: Yeah, I got to talk to Devery about that (Laughs). Keep them big 16s off our kicker's foot. Nah, Devery's doing a good job. And yeah, we got to keep the kicker healthy for sure.
Q: What happened on the blocked field goal?
A: They blocked it.
Q: Besides the block.
A: Just they did a good job. Traditionally, they've always had a really good field goal rush team. And they did a good job schematically of what they're doing. We knew exactly what they were going to do. It's just the execution part of it. We got some guys in there – young guys in there – that are trying to work through it. But it's just (that) every rep's a new rep for some of these guys. So, we got to make sure they understand what we're doing and how we're trying to do it and just execute better.
Q: Was it a scheme thing, or somebody was just beat one-on-one?
A: No. It was a scheme. They do a good job of moving guys and trying to get you to fire out, and they accomplished their goal.
Q: On the long punt return, was that as simple as the gunner lost contain, or was there more to it than that?
A: A lot of things happened on that punt return. Really good punt by (punter) Jamie (Gillan) – 41 yards, 5.2 (seconds) hang. We should have been standing down there waiting for the ball to come down. Just got to keep the ball leveraged, keep it inside in front. You've seen the guy (Dallas wide receiver KaVontae Turpin); the kid is super, super talented. I don't think I've ever seen anybody accelerate up the sideline like that. He's scary fast. So, we knew we were going to have issues dealing with him because he's super, super talented. But again, we have to be able to play better in space and be able to leverage the ball and stack blockers so we don't get potentially hit in the back at the point of attack. But we've got to do a better job.
Q: How do you think (wide receiver) Richie (James) is doing as the punt returner?
A: He's doing fine. I mean the opportunities that's he's gotten – especially the last couple of weeks – he did a good job. The last two that he had, the one on the sideline, that was a great punt by (Dallas punter Bryan) Anger. I mean it's two inches from the sideline as he's running towards. And the one in the plus area, he felt like the punter mishit the ball, and he thought he could steal some yardage. So, I'm never going to question because he makes pretty good decisions back there. But prior this game, he was averaging almost 13, 14 yards return. So, our opportunities will come; and we just got to take advantage of them.
Q: With Graham, you just say 'Keep on going,'?
A: Yeah. It is, and I've said this 100 times about Graham, it's a blessing to have a guy like that that you know you can depend on. He is starting to figure it out (in) year 13, 14 – whatever it is. He's kind of in his groove right now. The guys trust him. Obviously, the head coach (Brian Daboll) trusts him. And he's doing a good job. Just got to keep working to get better.
Q: What's the yard line that (running back) Gary (Brightwell) is allowed to catch a kickoff at and take it back?
A: It just depends. It depends on the game. Sometimes we might line him up minus-three and tell him, 'Hey look, if it's in front of you, let's go.' Sometimes, we put our heels on the goal line. It just depends on the situation and what's going on – how the game's flowing, their kicker a lot of times, what's the hang time, a bunch of different things that go along with it – that make us come up with the decision whether we're going to bring it out or leave it in.
Q: Did Jamie get a gold star on his tackle?
A: (Laughs). He's making too many tackles, and that's the thing. Jamie needs to focus on punting, and the coverage teams need to work on tackling and focus on tackling. Obviously, we don't want the specialists making a whole bunch of damn tackles. So, that's something obviously we're frustrated with. We just got to get better. We're a process-driven organization. We got a bunch of new guys out there. And you're going to fail your way to success. You can't talk about the process not being able to be willing to go through the process. So that's just part of it. We got to get better, and we got to keep – these young guys got to come along, and they got to make more plays. Our good players got to play well. They got to make plays. So, that's what we're working towards.
Q: At the end of the half, I think that would've been 65 yards (for a field goal). Was there any talk there, or was that too far?
A: I think we were going into the wind, so it probably wasn't a realistic thing. And we got to realize, too, we all think Graham's Superman. But the franchise record here is 58 yards (for a field goal). And (former Giants kicker) Aldrick (Rosas) had that a couple years ago. And if you've got the wind to your back, you've seen Graham hit the ball a long way, but we're talking about 65 degrees at night. It ain't 95 degrees in Charlotte, you know what I mean? So, the ball doesn't, it can't compress. It's not going to go as far. You've got a little wind. So, all those different factors you've got to take into account as you're coming up with that decision.
Q: Is his (Graham Gano) foot alright?
A: Yeah, he's fine. He's fine.