Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
Q: What is it like to have such a revolving door in the return game?
A: That’s life in the big city. It’s just one of those deals, you just live it the way it is. You play cards, they deal them out, this is my hand, here we go (laughter)! That’s the reality of it. You just got to make do with what you have, and just coach the hell out of them. You get them out there, you coach them up, you get them ready to play. Hopefully you’ve done a good enough job during the week preparing for some success. That’s coaching, that’s what we do, especially special teams coaches. I don’t even think about it. That’s just what we do. It’s part of our coaching DNA.
Q: (CB) Grant Haley was a return guy in college. Does he get in the mix?
A: We got a lot of guys that are in the mix. Each time a guy gets pulled up, they have some type of return value. Hopefully it can help at some point in time, but as a special teams coach, you’re always trying to develop the roster from the top-down, bottom-up. Guys that have long snapping skills, punt catching skills, kick catching skills, all of those different skills. You’re always trying to develop them. A guy that has that type of ability, you just never know. You just never know what he can turn into. Grant is a young player, and we’ll nurture those talents.
Q: Is there something on tape that’s a common factor week to week, or is just a matter of executing blocks?
A: I think it’s just execution. A couple weeks ago, we had (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) back there, we had a 12-yard return, we had a 13-yard return. You saw some promise there, but it’s just being consistent. It’s like anything else, you got to be consistent in your daily job. My job is to block #57, I got to make sure I block #57. If my job is to block #58, I got to make sure I block #58, but if you don’t execute on your job, you’re going to have issues, and what we’re having is just execution issues. We got to do our job. Schematically, it’s my job to put us in the best position to make plays. I’m going to try to keep it simple. Not trying to have 1,000 different returns. Just try to keep it simple, go right, left, middle, and see what happens.
Q: What’s the balance in the return game when it comes to Odell in terms of doing too much and trying to make a play out of nothing?
A: I’ve been around that kid since he was 17 years old. He always wants to make a play, regardless of the situation in the game. We can be up by 30, doesn’t matter. He’s going to want to make a play. Like I tell him, you just got to let the plays come to you, and if it’s there, great. If it’s not there, what’s happening? We’re getting the ball back. It’s a punt return. So, the worst thing to happen is when you fair catch the ball, we get the ball right where it lies, go play football.
Q: On that play against Carolina in which the ball hit his foot on the punt return, was he [Odell] doing the right thing trying to block? Or, should he had gotten away from it?
A: It’s a time and a place for everything. That ball is in the air, you just got to have some field awareness, be smart, and make a good decision. He’s Odell Beckham, the best thing he can do is run away from the ball, because everybody is going to chase Odell Bechkam. Again, it’s a learning experience. You get in those situations, you got to make sure you make the right decision.
Q: Getting back to the execution issue, do you feel as if guys are trying to do too much, and that’s why guys are missing assignments?
A: No, it’s just the plain ole, flat out, that guy is in front of me, my job is to block that guy. It just comes down to basic making a play, executing the block, is my leverage correct, where are my eyes, where are my hands, are my knees bent. Just all of those little small details that go into actually physically making the block. The fundamentals, the techniques of it. It’s just executing the fundamentals and the techniques better.
Q: Do you see promise with (WR) Jawill Davis?
A: Absolutely, he’s a young player. He’s getting better every week. He is definitely ascending. The arrow is up with that kid. He averaged 29 yards a return last time he was out there. The week before, it was 21. So each week, you’re seeing some progression with him. He’s getting more confident as a gunner. The kid is talented. We’re just going to keep nurturing talent.
Q: Are you curious to see how (K) Aldrick Rosas reacts after his first miss?
A: He’ll be fine. He misses in practice sometimes. It’s no different, he’s missed before. He knows he’s not going to be perfect. Aldrick is fine, that was his first one of the year.
Q: Was he able to get a full swing on that?
A: He was able to get a full swing on it. He just didn’t hit it good. He didn’t hit the ball solid. Kind of hit underneath it a little bit. It spun 100,000 times. Aldrick is a good young kicker, and his arrow is definitely up. We look forward to him making some big plays for us later.
Q: Is his leg ready?
A: Yeah, he’s fine. He’s full speed.
Q: Is (WR) Corey Coleman a guy you can work into your mix as a returner?
A: Absolutley, yes, just overall. Corey is a talented guy. He’s a former first-round draft pick. He has ability. It’s just up to him coming in and trying to find his way in the program, and see where he fits, and see where we can best utilize his skillset, and move forward and help this football team.
Q: What about (WR) Bennie Fowler?
A: Yeah, Bennie is talented. That’s a big, strong, physical man that has ability and has made plays in this league. Him and (WR) Cody (Latimer) played together. When I watched the tape with Cody in the spring, I saw the other guy on the other side. That’s a big man. He’s 6-2, 225 pounds, and he can run. Whenever you have that type of skillset, big speed is always preferred.
WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Q: By now, you know what John Mara’s comments were about his reaction to your interview that he prefers you to focus on playing more than talking. What are your thoughts about your owner’s comments?
A: I respect and value his opinion, obviously, so that’s what we’re going to do. Like I said, focus on Atlanta right now and that’s really it.
Q: Have you talked to him?
A: I haven’t talked to him yet, but I’m sure we’ll talk. We talked, but we haven’t talked about that.
Q: Do you think that you should be allowed to talk about what you want to talk about whether or not he wants to agree with that or not?
A: I’m ready to talk about the Atlanta Falcons and that’s really it. That’s the focus right now. We need to start winning games, so I feel that I want to win, too, just as bad as everybody else. That’s really it, I just want to win.
Q: There were reports over the weekend that some unnamed players in the locker room were getting frustrated with Eli (Manning) and vocal on the quarterback changes. Is that something you sensed at all or do you have any reaction to that?
A: I laugh. I don’t think that’s the case. I think – what did you say? Players were frustrated? I think they’re frustrated that we’re 1-5 and we’re losing. Everybody wants to win, that’s really it. I don’t think that ever was really the case.
Q: What are your thoughts on the way Eli’s played and how he’s handled everything?
A: I think that we’re 1-5 and we need to start winning games and everybody needs to pick it up. I need to play better. I can’t say that I’ve had my best (inaudible). I can’t say that I’ve done enough to help this team win and I need to do more. Everybody needs to do more, everybody’s got to pick it up. We win games together, we lose them together. There’s no other way around it. It’s a team sport.
Q: Do you believe that he can get you to that point?
A: You got to ask him. I tell him every time we get in the huddle, I say, ‘Take me home, 10’, which to me carries weight because he’s been there. He knows how to win. He knows what he’s doing. He’s the most prepared of anybody I’ve ever seen and that’s exactly what I say, ‘take me home,’ so we’re going to start picking it up, we got to. We have no other choice. I don’t think anybody in here has that ‘lay down’ mentality. I don’t think anybody has quit in them. We’ve just been beaten. Some games, we’ve out executed. We just need to win, that’s really it.
Q: There were reports that you were fined for the comments in the interview and I know there was a lot of talk about that being a leadership moment. Is that disappointing?
A: It is what it is, you just got to take it on the chin. It is what it is.
Q: It’s getting late in the season to really turn things around. Do you have that hope?
A: Glass half full. Going into the bye week, we got two games. You can get two big wins for this team and turn it around. We can go in it 3-5 and just like every other team, you make a run. That’s how I’m looking at it, knowing that this is the most important game of the season. Can’t worry about what our record is. Got to worry about this game, win this game, prepare for next week, win that game, go into the bye week, everybody gets some legs back, get some time off, clear your mind and come back and make a push. That’s how I’m looking at it. That’s what I could see. We just got to keep our head down, but head up at the same time, and keep working and that’s really it. That’s all you can do at this point, just keep working. You dig yourself in a hole, you dig yourself out of it.
Q: With the talent you guys have on offense, do you look at what you guys have done production-wise, it’s kind of hard to figure out with you and Sterling (Shepard) and Saquon (Barkley) and Eli (Manning) and –
A: We all need to do more. That’s really it. We just all need to do more. Like I said, there’s been games where we’ve just been out-executed. There’s been games where the other team comes and they play a better game than we did, so we just got to do more, that’s it.
Q: This Falcons defense, where do you see that you guys can perhaps do some damage against them? What are some of their weak areas?
A: I think they’re a team who would expect to have a better record than they do, but they’re still a dangerous team and I know a couple of guys went down and stuff like that, so we just try to find the weaknesses just like every other week and attack them, but they got two good corners. They got a good front. It’s a good team. They got a nice little middle linebacker who I’m looking forward to seeing, but we just got to take advantage of these opportunities.
Q: With all the stuff that has gone on, how important is it for it just to be about football? Obviously there’s been a lot of extracurricular stuff that has taken –
A: It’s unfortunate. I think the extracurricular comes with losing. We know what it’s like when you’re losing, especially when you’re losing here, so we’re sure if you were winning, it’d be different, but it’s not the case, so right now it’s just about football, that’s it. Like I said, my focus is on football. I need to do more, I need to do better period. There’s nothing more that I could say about it.
Q: You guys have about 11 days by the time you play this game to get ready. How is this Giants team going to look different this time from the last time we’ve seen you guys?
A: I guess we’ll see (Monday). It’s easy to get up here and say this that, blah blah blah, but you don’t go out there and do it, it’s really just words, so it’s followed by action now, that’s it. Go out there, play the best game you can. Like I said, it’s time for me to do better. Like I need to do better, my teammates, myself, everybody. We just all got to do more. Everybody’s got to pitch in, you got to do more, put more on your plate and we got to eat.
Q: How’d you use that extra time?
A: Time to just step back for a minute. Take a step back and just – once you’re in it, it’s a lot going on, so sometimes you got to take a step back for a minute, get your mind right, come back in and I’m just happy that I got an opportunity again in a couple of days to play football. All the other stuff is just pass over time. You really – you work 10 hours a day, I say this all the time, 10 hours a day for 60 minutes of football. Those 60 minutes are crucial, so we need to take advantage of every minute of it.
Q: Do you have any regrets about anything because you’ve had so much time to now think about it, you guys aren’t winning. Do you have any regrets about any decisions you’ve made?
A: I’ve said this all the time, never have any regrets. At one point in time, it was exactly what you wanted. It is what it is. I don’t believe in everything’s a test or anything like that. Everything’s an opportunity to learn and grow, that’s really it. There’s no more tests. The testing’s over. You’ve prepared for the test, you’ve studied for it. It’s just an opportunity to learn and grow.
Q: Do you think you’ve grown from some of the things that have happened in the last couple of weeks?
A: I guess we’ll see Sunday.
Q: I mean do you feel like, personally, do you feel?
A: I feel like I’ve grown since last year, but there’s still times where I find myself in this situation, so only time can tell. Enough about talking, words, any of that. It’s all about action.
Q: Football wise, obviously everybody tries to take you away. They do the same thing to Julio (Jones) down there as well. Do you study at all what they do to him?
A: When I watch it, it’s different. It’s different what happens to me than other people, but when you got a guy like Julio, not to say no one can cover him one-on-one, it’s a tough challenge. It’s a tough challenge. He’s one of the best, if not the best. He’s the most freakish I’ve seen, so our defense has got a tough challenge ahead going against him, the young buck (Calvin) Ridley, (Mohamed) Sanu. We got a challenge ahead. This isn’t – I don’t know what their record is, 2-4, whatever it is, still the Atlanta Falcons. This a good team we’re going against at home in the dome Monday night. They’re going to be fired up, they need a win. They’re trying to get their season rolling, we’re trying to get ours started, so it’s going to be a battle.
Q: In two of the six games, you’ve gotten dehydrated. Is there something going on with that?
A: I’ve always cramped. I’ve always cramped, it’s just I feel like I’m working harder than I ever have, so I really don’t like water. I’m trying, I just really don’t like when you get that stomach feeling, it’s all slushy, like I’m trying to stay hydrated. Sometimes I just got to get an IV, it’s just necessary. You’re cramping in both calves, it’s hard to run and make cuts and if you’re cramping and dehydrated, you’re susceptible to something else, so I’m trying to stay on top of it the best that I can.
Q: How do you balance being a good teammate, a leader with the idea that you’ll always hate losing? So I guess what I’m asking is, in times like this, how do you become someone that leads this team out of it?
A: It’s something that I’m working on. Like you said, I hate losing. I don’t care what it is, but I just got to find a way to put that aside and try and rally all of us. That’s all I want to do. Everybody in this locker room, no matter what anyone says, everybody in this locker room knows that I have love for them. I talk to probably everybody in here each and every day, whether I clown with them, try to trip them while they’re walking, mess with them. This is my team, this is our team. I love being around these guys and you come to work every single day, I think all of us hate losing. I don’t think – if you find someone who likes losing, I don’t want to play with them. That’s just it, so we all hate losing, I know we’re tired of it and like I said, we all need to be more, we all need to do better.