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Thomas McGaughey on outlook of special teams

0405-Rosas-center.jpg

*Special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey was with the Giants from 2007-10, winning Super Bowl XLII: *

Thomas McGaughey worked with a battery of Pro Bowlers at kicker, punter, and long snapper in his first stint with the Giants. A decade later, the only one left is Zak DeOssie.


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So what are the Giants going to do at the other spots?

"You go find one," the Giants' new special teams coordinator said.

Shortly before free agency opened last month, the Giants terminated the contract of Brad Wing, who punted in every game for the Giants the previous three seasons. Meanwhile, kicker Aldrick Rosas remains on the roster after missing seven field goal attempts and five extra points in his first taste of live NFL action last season.

"I see a kid that was a rookie last year and like most rookies in this league, they're inconsistent," McGaughey said. "It's rare where you see a rookie that just comes in and just rips it up just walking through the door. He's young and like [general manager] Dave Gettleman always says, we're not going to give up on talent. He's a talented guy and there's some things that he can do that a lot of people can't do and I think there's some talent there and we're going to work with that talent."

In spite of the inconsistencies, Rosas is still the most accomplished kicker on the roster.

The Giants added kicker Marshall Koehn and punter Austin Rehkow back in January. Koehn is the only one with game experience, appearing once for the Cincinnati Bengals last year to make one extra point.

"We have some guys in the building that are already on the roster," McGaughey said. "Obviously we're going to create some competition there, add a piece or two. We'll see what happens."

McGaughey was the assistant special teams coordinator with the New York Giants from 2007-10, winning Super Bowl XLII in his first season. In 2008, he helped produce the Pro Bowl trio of kicker John Carney, punter Jeff Feagles and DeOssie as the Giants won the NFC East. That same year, Carney set a team record by converting 92.1 percent (35 of 38) of his field goal attempts.

After the Giants, McGaughey served as the special teams coordinator at LSU, working his way up to the same role in the NFL with the Jets, 49ers, Panthers and now Giants.

"It's like coming back home," he said. "I mean, it really is. When you walk in this building, you spent so many hours in this building and being in this indoor facility now and seeing the banners and being able to see the view of the city from the practice field, there are very few places on this earth like the New York Giants and it's really good to be back."

For it really to feel like coming back home, the Giants must improve in all phases of the game, including special teams. General manager Dave Gettleman, who is also in his second stint with the Giants, knows that.

Many of the signings this offseason have been players with strong special teams backgrounds, notably safety Michael Thomas. The former Dolphin is second in the NFL with 54 special teams tackles over the previous four seasons, according to STATS LLC. Pro Football Focus named him the "Special Teams Player of the Year" for 2017.

"Mike is the ultimate competitor," McGaughey said. "He does an outstanding job in the coverage game. He's a smart player. I'm kind of biased towards Mike; he's a Houston guy (Thomas is a Houston native, and McGaughey played at University of Houston) and a good friend of mine. David Suggs was his high school coach who gave me my first job, so there's some background there. But Mike is a high impact player and we look forward to him making big plays."

McGaughey added: "I think that obviously from the top down we understand the importance of special teams and field position in being able to impact the game. I think that obviously with the moves that we've made we're making strides in that direction and we look forward to getting better."

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