Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
November 17, 2022
Q: Where are we at on the punt returner situation?
A: Same place we were last week.
Q: Where is that?
A: Same situation.
Q: So, you anticipate kind of both those guys (wide receiver Richie James and cornerback Adoree’ Jackson) getting opportunities?
A: Yeah. It’s been working for us.
Q: How do you determine which guy and when, and how much of it does it have to do with Adoree’ on the defensive side there?
A: A lot of that. It’s a lot of that. Depending on the situation, we go
for a nine-ball. We’ll just kind of play it by ear as we go along.
Q: With the one that Richie was back, was it because it was backed up by the goal line, and he’s a little more experienced doing that recently?
Q: Did you like his decision?
Q: With (punter) Jamie Gillan, if he has a tough day, how much do you coach him up on technique? Or does the specialist figure it out himself?
A: It’s kind of a mutual deal if that happens. We talk about it and go from there. These guys are really good at what they do. You don’t want to overcomplicate things, and you don’t want him to have a lot of things in his mind. You want to be able to take the muscle memory that he creates every single day and to be able to make the adjustment and go play. So, we’re not going to discuss 19 different things on the sideline so he’s out there (and) it’s like when you’re standing over your tee shot, and you’ve got 95 different swing thoughts. Right? Because we’re all like that. So, we don’t want to do that: We don’t want to overcomplicate it. Just make the adjustment, figure out what it is and just keep moving.
Q: Why do you think he’s been so inconsistent with trying place those balls inside the 20 (yard line)?
A: I think some of the things we’re doing, (we’re) probably trying to do too much. But just going back to the basics, being able to hit a clean ball down inside the 10 (yard line) without trying to do anything fancy.
Q: You guys passed (on attempting a field goal) twice around the 57-yard range going in that direction. How much of that was the wind? Or you thought it was a little deep at that point?
A: Yeah, it was the wind. I mean it went from maybe five miles an hour to 15, 20 at some point. The goal posts were doing this (swaying) at one point down on that end. So, as you’re moving and the game’s being played and temperature changes, you got to be able to make the adjustments. And we felt like going in that direction probably wasn’t a good decision to go for a 57-yard field goal.
Q: How much do you worry about conditions as it gets to this time of year for your kicker? And is there anything you can do about it as a coach to talk to him?
A: Just practice it. Like today’s going to be a beautiful day to practice it. We’re going to have probably 15, 20 mile an hour winds. It’s supposed to be like that on Sunday – gusting to 30. So, you just practice in it. You get used to being in that environment, so once you get in that environment, it’s not a big deal because you’ve worked at it.
Q: Do you feel like this place is maybe an advantage for you because it has that mystique of, ‘Oh, no. I’m kicking in Giants Stadium/MetLife Stadium,’?
A: I truly believe that. Just playing in the Northeast, when you bring a team in from out of town that’s not used to being in this environment and you’re playing in the Northeast in November and December, I think it’s a distinct advantage for you.
Q: Are you surprised that they (the Houston Texans) kicked onside on that first one? You were obviously ready for it, but were you a little surprised in that situation?
A: We anticipated it. That’s kind of why we took the time out. It depends. You’re always anticipating those next moves; we’re trying to play chess not checkers. And I think we handled it the right way.
Q: When you guys sent (kicker) Graham (Gano) out for that 49-yarder, had the wind died down? Or you were just confident in him in that situation?
A: We were confident in him in that situation. It’s a little bit closer. The difference between a 49-yarder and a 57-yarder, 56-yarder, it’s a big difference. So, that was more inside the line that we were thinking. And we got full confidence in Graham.
Q: Is this a different practice week for your unit considering how much trickery the Lions try?
A: You always got to be alert for that type of stuff. We talked about it today in the meeting – just always being on guard. We always talk about staying ready, and that’s something that we literally have to do this week because at any point in time, (Detroit Lions head coach) Dan (Campbell) is real aggressive. And at any point in time, you can get a surprise onside kick. You could get a fake punt. So, we’ll work on that stuff this week, and we got to stay ready for it.
Q: With wind conditions and distance, how much is that maybe changing throughout the game versus what you kind of go into the game with? Like you said, it’s going to be those 30 mile per hour gusts. Is it something that Graham is like, ‘This is what I want to kick from this distance?’
A: Definitely. But it’s always fluctuating. At the beginning of the game, we had a certain line going in each direction (that) we felt pretty good about. But as the game started to play and the weather started to change a little bit, we had to make the change on the run. So, you make those adjustments. You know they’re going to come at some point in time during the game. You just make the adjustments (and) keep moving.
Q: Did you overlap with (Detroit Lions wide receiver) Kalif Raymond here? You did, right?
A: Yeah, he was here my first offseason. And actually, (we) played a preseason game against the Jets. (He) had a pretty good game against the Jets.
Q: What do you see from him?
A: Oh, he’s special. His short area quickness is off the charts, and he’s super, super dangerous. So, we got our work cut out for us. He’s done a lot better job of, since he was a rookie, catching balls and just ball security. He had those growing pains early, but he’s figured it out now. And he’s done a really good job for them.