Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
Q: (Head Coach Brian Daboll) Dabs was talking about how he talks during the week about fourth down situations and when to go for it, when to kick. How much on gameday does (kicker) Graham's (Gano) range make you reconsider some of those discussions?
A: Definitely. Because it's cold and the wind and sometimes you guys don't really notice it but in certain directions, the wind is really a factor. When you watch pregame warms ups, and you're always making adjustments based upon how the wind might be particularly gusting as the game moves on – either it might die down or it might pick up. It's getting colder, the ball is not going to fly as far. All those things have to be accounted for.
Q: (Graham) said after the game that in warmups he wouldn't have been able to hit that second 50-yarder. In the game, you guys adjusted because you realized the wind went down. How much is that trust in a veteran, knowing how you guys have worked together and knowing it's not just, I can do it, I can do it and then you have to see?
A: That's the hardest thing because the kicker is going to always tell you I can make it. You have to be realistic in the moment and you got to be smart. Look at the situation. Where are we in the game? What's the score? Knowing that, okay if I miss this kick – the field position. You got to be smart in how you do it and we trust Graham. Graham knows. He knows his range and he knows the situations as they come up.
Q: How does the indoor facility change your life and the three guys' lives?
A: Indoor, outdoor – it really doesn't matter to us. We just show up and work. Obviously, when you're playing inside – you get an opportunity to come inside and get some work. That's really, really good for those guys because they enjoy it – obviously being able to strike the ball clean and not have to worry about the conditions and all that stuff. Obviously, that's a specialist's dream to kick indoors. It does help. Obviously, that place is different. The Meadowlands is different. Practice fields are different. The winds come in all different directions depending on what field you're on. It's just different. It's good for us because we get a chance to work in different environments but being inside helps.
Q: How much does it matter to that field goal unit team – I talked to a couple of them yesterday, they almost finish each other's sentences in a way. Watching a game, I don't think of that but obviously you guys have to.
A: The synergy part of it is huge. When you talk about the battery in those three guys, in particular. Like you said, they finish each other sentences and they work so much together and they're around each other so much. From the time they walk in the building to the time that they leave, they are always around each other. The chemistry part of it is huge. Like right now, we just got out of a meeting and we sat in there for 25, 30 minutes just talking. Talking about how we are going to approach things, what our plan is for today and how we're going to work. Okay, we're going to work before practice, we're going to work after practice. All of those things go into account and those guys' chemistry is just really, really good.
Q: We've asked the players a lot about how you might get in. As a coach, when you see the playoffs right there does it get your juices flowing?
A: It's the day-to-day process. You can't really focus on what's down the road, you got to focus on the now because if you take care of the now, everything else will take care of itself. Today, our primary focus is just to go out and try and have the best practice we can have for today. That's how you have to approach it because if you get too far ahead of yourself and you start thinking about – it's crazy. We just try to stick to the process and just take it day by day.
Q: You've been down the stretch of seasons, all different seasons, a lot of them around here that there was obviously no playoffs. You can concentrate on all the day to day stuff you want but you know when the season's ending and everyone is going to go home. Do you find the vibe with your guys and even larger vibes, I know you kind of look at everything, that it's easier to keep these guys mentally in tune, focused things because they know there might be something else out there?
A: That's human nature when you know you're fighting, playing for something. You're just going to go out every single day and do the best you can possibly do. I think our group has done a good job of that, guys have stuck to the process and that's what we're focused on – just trying to make sure every single day we're trying to find a way to get better.
Q: How did (safety) Landon (Collins) play on special teams? He's a guy who obviously was a big time player and now at this stage of his career to have to play special teams.
A: He's getting his feet wet, you know what I mean? He probably hasn't played on special teams since he was at Alabama. He played a little bit as a rookie. He's just getting used to doing it and he's a good athlete. Landon is a big, strong man that can run, very instinctive. Really, really good in space. He's done a good job.
Q: You've been around this league and you've seen how things have changed. Even now with the practice squad being expanded and having veterans who are around on the practice squad and they're in your room. Is that unique also? To have a veteran like that at this stage in his career and do you sense a different buy-in from some of those guys? You have a couple on this team.
A: Yeah. It's always good to have experience. Especially guys that have been here in this building and that have had success in the league and they're just good people. Guys that are pros, they come in and work every day and they're just trying to get better. For us, having guys that are veteran guys like (safety) Tony Jefferson, like Landon – those guys are just tremendous people and they come in and work their tails off and they help the young guys which is really, really big for the maturation process of our team.
Q: We've talked about it – I feel like we've had the same conversation for several years but how much does Graham in your mind deserve to make the Pro Bowl? That's something that gets announced tonight.
A: You know, I mean, his numbers speak for themselves, I think. He's been to the Pro Bowl before. If you look at him, he's 7-8 from 50 yards and that's hard to do kicking in the northeast. It's one thing to do it in a dome or in the south where it's 75-80 degrees or you got a controlled environment like a dome. It's a whole other thing to do it here in the northeast. It just takes a different animal. Graham is a hell of a player, he's a great pro, and if he doesn't make the Pro Bowl, he's not going to cry – he'll be alright. Obviously, you want your guys to do well, but if it doesn't happen, it is what it is but he'll continue to keep being great.
Q: How much can something very, very small with that operation throw it all completely off kilter? Even with veterans in those spots.
A: Don't say that. Don't say that. Don't say that. The smallest things make the biggest difference in our sport, especially with that operation. All the little details of how we operate daily from coming up, getting warmed up, guys getting in the right spots, they're taking the warmup steps. All those things that go into it, the small, mundane things that and stuff that the average person looks at and says, "What is that?" His steps. Being consistent with the steps, what hash you're on. All those different steps. That makes a big difference, and you have to be detailed in what you do. Just being off a little bit can make a big difference.
Q: How about the idea of when you're under cover and when you're in that dome, it should all be perfect, right? No excuses.
A: That's what you want. It should all be perfect. You don't have to deal with the elements. That's the thing in the dome. You don't have to deal with the wind and all that stuff. That makes the operation a little easier.