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Greg McMahon Discusses Kicker Competition, Kickoff Coverage

Posted Aug 22, 2012

Special Teams Coordinator Greg McMahon met with the media following practice on Wednesday

New Orleans Saints Special Teams Coordinator Greg McMahon

Post-Practice Media Availability

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Do you feel any closer to making a decision on John Kasay and Garrett Hartley today?

“No, I don’t think so. We are going to go the last two games and just let it play out. I think that is the fair process. That is what we decided to do going into camp. We will stay true to that. Somehow, I figured that would be the first question.”

Are you pleased or concerned with the kickoff coverage at all?

“No. We don’t want to give up a return, but at the same time I feel good about where we are at and I think we have done a pretty good job for the three games we have been in. That is a constant evaluation of your personnel and teaching the technique and fundamentals. I have been proud of our punt unit and we have to hem some things up with our kickoff. I have been pretty pleased.”

Can the kicker battle be as simple as who made more field goals in the preseason?

“It is a whole process. There are certainly a lot of elements involved in it. We will sit down as a staff once we get through training camp (preseason) and decide which direction we want to go. We are just not ready yet. It is not just who makes the most kicks, we have to look at the whole picture just to be fair to it.”

Does the whole picture mean looking at the future or do you only look at this season?

“I have done this for thirty years, I am looking at this season. Certainly, you have to look at the whole thing. I am sure that Mickey (Loomis), Joe (Vitt), and all of us will figure out what we want to do.”

Has Travaris Cadet been playing everywhere because the coaches are trying to find a role for him?

“It is rare in this league, to have a player that can return a kick and cover a kick. Courtney Roby would be an example. Pierre Thomas early in his career (as well). We are just trying to figure out who the 53 guys are going to be on the team. If a player can cover a kick, that certainly goes to his advantage. We purposely put Cadet in there to see if he could do it and we will continue to do that. Not just with him, with other positions also, receivers and defensive backs.”

For him specifically because once the season starts, Darren Sproles is going to be the kick returner. How much do you need to see from him?

“We need to see him. There is no question about that. We need to keep developing depth too. We have a tremendous player in (Darren) Sproles. We all know that. You can’t have enough of him. I have never been around enough of him.”

How is Thomas Morstead better than last year?

“It is still early to tell. I know his work ethic and he has been very productive. I really think that his mindset is that he wants to be a better player this coming year than he was last year. He had a good camp and we just have to be smart with him too. He is punting and kicking off so we have to make sure that we have a pitch count on him so to speak. He has done a good job,”

Are there specific areas he has improved on?

“Directional punting-wise, he has done a good job. He is still doing well kicking off. I would say his direction.”

Do you have a sense of how Cadet is doing in kick coverage and what his experience is in that?

“I didn’t ask him what he did in college. Most of these guys you get, a lot of times later in their career they are playing offense or defense, (so) they don’t do a lot of special teams work. He is very raw from a fundamentals standpoint so we just have to continue to get him game reps so he has a comfort level in what he is doing and a confidence level. He is a rookie so we just have to put him out there. That might have been the first couple of kicks he has covered in his life for all I know. We will continue to work with those guys. I like doing it that way. Pierre Thomas didn’t cover many kicks either but he did in the pros.”

How comfortable are you if Darren doesn’t see any action until week one? Are you good with him not seeing any more snaps this preseason?

“We are doing exactly this year what we did last year. He caught a fair catch the last game. His resume speaks for itself.”

Even health-wise and getting back in to the rhythm?

“Yes, he is really special. I am real comfortable with him. I know you are too.”

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