Coordinators Patrick Graham and Thomas McGaughey, QB Coach Jerry Schuplinski, WR Kenny Golladay, CB James Bradberry
Special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey
Q: The false punt, was that just a situation where you didn’t run?
A: Yeah, yeah, he just knocked him over. There’s no other way to explain it, he just knocked it over. So to see that it was something that we practiced and that we just did not perform. In the end, that’s what it is about. You have to run. Running under pressure is our job, this is what we all need to do. We just didn’t perform.
Q: Why do you think (Punter) Riley (Dixon) has a hard time executing with his punts? He hasn’t lived up to his career numbers. It seems that when it needs to be short, it is long. When he needs to be long, he goes short.
A: Well, it’s not all about Riley. I think Riley had a really good game last week. Probably his best game in a month. He just has to keep working to get better. This is our main goal. Not focusing on the negative and just making sure that we are doing all we can as a unit and as individuals to get better. It’s part of our process.
Q: Did something go wrong in the process that we didn’t see on the 18-yard punt just before half-time?
A: No, it was just a bad punt. Yeah, I mean, we’re not here looking for excuses. He just didn’t perform. I probably should have let him punt, and that was one of those situations where we wanted to perform a certain style of punt while trying to create a turnover and get cute. I probably should have dropped it in there and tried to get it into the 10, but we were trying to make a game. When you go down like that you start to press a little and then every time you press, often bad things happen.
Q: How much has this COVID thing hurt you in terms of the people you’re going to be using this weekend?
A: Yes, it is. It’s part of the job. It’s enough with my work as it already is, just not knowing all the time who you’re going to have. When you get to where you’re at the bottom of the list and it could be a guy from the practice squad, it could be this guy, it could be this guy, it couldn’t be this guy, it could be this guy, it’s just – it’s hard. So you just need to make sure you keep it simple, teach it well, and make sure they understand what they’re doing and what the job involves, and that you prepare them all.
Q: We didn’t see (Kicker) Graham (Gano) yesterday due to illness. What is your level of concern about this?
A: He will be fine, he will be fine.
Q: Will he be here today?
A: Yeah, he’ll be there. I think it was one of those cases where he didn’t feel right and it’s that time of year. It’s December, you leave town and come back. It was hot, now it’s cold and it’s that time of year.
Q: How (Running Back) Gary (Brightwell) didn’t block that punt?
A: In fact, he did. He touched his knee, but he just passed the line of scrimmage. It’s a good question. It was a lay-up; you have to do the layups. I literally told him about this scenario over the course of the week, as it just happens among the thousands of reps I’ve seen in punt rushes. I told him, I was like, ‘don’t be shocked if it’s you and the bettor face to face.’ You look up and it’s like, ‘oh, there he is.’ It happens, they get it wrong. He had a b-line for the bettor and again we have to do a better job of training, taking the ball off the foot. It’s a whole different matter than here in practice and you have a chance, and it happens, and it opens up like the red sea and it’s you and him. The first experience in the league blocking a punt is a little different. So you need to make sure that you are performing and that you understand what you are trying to do and how you are trying to do it.
Q: In practice, it probably deviates, doesn’t it? Because he doesn’t want to hurt guys.
A: Exactly, well, we’re going to take it off the foot, but it’s just the consistency of seeing your hand, putting your eyes where your hand is supposed to be. Again, execution needs to do a better job of execution.
Q: How satisfied were you with the execution of the in-play kick?
A: You know what, the first one wasn’t that happy, but the second one was great. It gave us a chance to come back late so anytime you can perform those specialty kicks that’s a good thing. We just have to keep going in those times, in those times of a situation, we have to execute those kind of kicks. That kick that you were talking about earlier, the boomerang, we have to do that kick. The punt from the side of the 10, we have to execute that kick. All of these things have to be done at a high level for us to have a chance. We just need to do a better job with it.
Q: I know you are not a referee, but why can’t you bring it forward? I know it happened in the Bears vs. Packers game and they missed a kick out.
A: You can only advance one fumble. Any type of sleeve, all you can do is grab it. It’s just a rule.
Q: So he needs control before he can move forward?
A: No, no, it must be a fumble. Like say for example, yeah the guy controls the ball, takes a step with it, you hit it, and then we can pick it up and move it forward. Any kind of sleeve or plug needs to check it first, but you’re right.
Q: Have you seen this game with (Browns Wide Receiver / Specialist) JoJo Natson? You know what I’m talking about? The game out of bounds. I think 99% of people had no idea, but you did.
A: Yeah, we talk about it all the time with our guys.
Q: Isn’t it a little stupid that you have the right to do this?
A: I don’t make up the rules, I just follow them (laughs).
Q: Would the league expect them to close this loophole?
A: No, it’s been like this for years. You can go back 30 years. It happens all the time. (New Orleans Saints Running Back) Ty Montgomery had one when he was with the Packers, we use it as a teaching clip. Guys go out of bounds and conversely, (Seattle Seahawks Running Back) Adrian Peterson when he was young as a rookie, his freshman or sophomore in the league, he was trying to run the rule until he was out of bounds. and they did it backwards and they got the ball at the two-yard line. So we use that, the guys in our room understand the rule and they know exactly what it is, so when that ball gets close to the limits, as long as you go out first and touch the ball, it’s judged a kick. foot of terminals.
Q: Why did Graham put that kick out of bounds?
A: We wanted to do it on purpose. Yeah, we were trying to get him out of bounds (laughs). I’m breaking your balls. No, we were trying to go left, and you know, it’s always a big blow for a kicker with the right foot to go left. The easiest kick is to go to the right, but often times the average kicker will kick it out of bounds and we just haven’t executed it. Yeah, another run and Graham has hit that ball 100 times in his career. It’s just one of those cases where every time a ball goes out of the numbers with a right-footed kicker going left, it’s not a good thing. I won’t say that is not a good thing, I will say that it might go out of bounds because of the power and their power zone, so to speak, to go that way to tend to shoot . It’s like playing golf, same thing.
Q: You ever mentioned a boomerang kick, a fake punt, the kickoff you just mentioned, what’s the difference between trying to get too cute and just throwing the ball?
A: These things are routine for us when it comes to kickers, because that’s their job. The boomerang for Riley is part of his job. The side kick, part of his job. All of that stuff is something these guys get paid for. It’s no different than asking a large receiver to run a dual-displacement route with a little extra to be able to set up a database. It’s their job, you know what I mean? It might not be the easiest thing to do, but they get paid to do it. These types of kicks are things that we have to do in these times. We are paid to perform under pressure. This is our job. Coaches, players, it’s execution under pressure, so we have to be able to do it.
Q: Do you see guys stuck in there even though the results don’t come?
A: Yes. I didn’t see any sign of it, I mean look at the end of the game the other day. It could very easily have gone in another direction. Frankly you get your ass kicked on the road and the guys fight to the end trying to win the game. I haven’t seen any of this. It is very promising.
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