Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
Q: So, has (punter) Jamie (Gillian) been freed?
A: He's free. Jamie's free. He got back last night probably around ten o'clock, whatever it was. But he's good. He's ready to rock.
Q: I don't want to get too deep into the week, but did you have to start making any contingency plans just in case?
A: Oh yeah. You always do. When you deal with that kind of stuff – embassies, and policies and NATO visas and – you never know what'll happen. We had a contingency plan. We had a plan prior to. So, we were ready.
Q: Would you have had (kicker) Graham (Gano) punt?
Q: With the way you guys made a decision to let him (Jamie Gillan) run out for the safety in the endzone, did that play out as you guys would've liked? Or are there things you would've done differently in terms of too much time, not enough time taken off (the clock)?
A: You always want to take as much time as you can, run around and bleed as much of the clock as you can before you get out of bounds. But it happened the way we thought it would.
Q: Was there any thought in that situation to put (wide receiver) Richie James or (running back) Saquon (Barkley) back there as opposed to the punter?
A: You can. The Rams did it with (wide receiver) Brandon Powell. He ran around for a little bit. But again, it's however you view it. We've practiced it with Jamie. We did it during training camp. We did it about two weeks ago. And the situation came up, and we were ready for it.
Q: Has (inside linebacker) Carter Coughlin been impressive to you this season in kick coverage?
A: He's done a good job. Obviously with the caused fumble, and he had another tackle last week. Carter is doing what Carter does. He's a really good teams player. He's really good in kickoff coverage. And he makes plays when they come to him. That's all we can ask of the guys. They keep working to get better, and when they get a chance to make a play, they're a free runner, go make a play. And he's done that.
Q: What do you want to see different on the short punt that (safety Jason) Pinnock hit?
A: That was kind of a fluke deal, I think. If you go watch (Packers punter Pat) O'Donnell's punts, it was probably one of the worst games I've seen him have. Two of those punts were less than 30 yards, which is extremely unusual for him. Most of the time it's 50 or 60 (yards). So, those balls are kind of mishit balls. And we were trying to play guys back so that we could have an extra blocker just in case we lose a guy at the line of scrimmage. I thought that was just kind of a fluke deal that happened.
Q: Is there a general rule that you don't want any kickoff hitting the ground?
A: Kickoffs or punts?
Q: There was a kickoff that bounced?
A: Yeah. He kicked it short.
Q: Do you want the short guy to get it? Are you okay with it bouncing there?
A: We always want our guys to field the ball in the air if we can. The deep guy always has a right of way to the ball. But they kicked the ball against the wind, and it was a little short. They were struggling going to that one end towards our tunnel – both kickers were, kicking the ball out. Well, their kicker more so than ours. You always want to catch the ball in the air. You don't ever want it to hit the ground.
Q: On that punt, is it the returner's responsibility to tell Pinnock the ball's coming to him?
A: Yeah. And if you watch the tape, he did. Like he's screaming and yelling and pointing. But it's unusual. Normally in our game in this country, you don't have a lot of cheering and yelling – crowd noise – during the play. And it was really, really loud in between each kick, which is a little different. So, that's being in London; they're used to the ball. They cheer anytime you punt or kick (Laughs).
Q: Pinnock turns around and he goes –.
A: He didn't hear him.
Q: He didn't hear him?
A: He didn't hear him at all. It was loud during the play. That's playing football in Europe.
Q: In the end, though, do you give Pinnock some credit for how he reacted?
A: Yeah, he did a good of trying to swat it out of bounds and making an effort to get the ball out of bounds once he realized what he did.
Q: This is a big picture kind of question. It's been a while; how nice is it coming in with a winning team here?
A: You try and not focus on that, as crazy as it sounds. But it's great being able to walk in the building and there's a different feeling. You don't feel like there's a dark cloud over your head every time you walk in. But it's onto the next one. Just try and go get the next win. Go 1-0 this week, and just do our part as a special teams unit to help get a victory.
Q: As a special teams coordinator, what do you think when you see what (Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin) Tucker has done over his career?
A: Justin Tucker is amazing. He was a three-way guy in college at Texas, and he did everything. And just the transformation that he made from being a punter and a kicker in college and just seeing him grow throughout his career, the guy's amazing. The stuff that he can do, the stuff that he does is just like unlike any other kicker that we've seen in our era. He's a different animal that way. Very special talent.
Q: Do you know (Baltimore Ravens head coach John) Harbaugh at all from –? Because he's the special teams coordinator to head coach who's the gold standard for, I assume, where you want to get to.
A: I've known Harbs (John Harbaugh) for years. He was in Philly (Philadelphia Eagles) when I was here the first time. I met him when I was at Kansas City (with the Chiefs) – my first job in the league. And we've always kept in touch over the years. But he's definitely a guy you look up to as a special teams coordinator in this league because he's done it the right way, coming from a coaching family. But Harbs is a good man. Good man. Excellent football coach.