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Greg McMahon Says Special Teams Squad Eager to Rebound from Giants Game

Posted Dec 13, 2012

McMahon reviews Giants game, discusses punt returners

Greg McMahon
New Orleans Saints Special Teams Coordinator Greg McMahon
Post-Practice Media Availability
Thursday, December 13, 2012

Watch McMahon's presser
 
What happened in kickoff coverage against the Giants?
“All of us saw it, we were at the game. First of all, (I’m) very disappointed in our performance. I’m disappointed for our players, for our coaches and for our fans. We played horribly in that phase of special teams. You sit back as a coach and you look at the film and you try to be as blunt and realistic as you can. When you don’t play with lane integrity and you don’t play with proper leverage then bad things are going to happen in this league, certainly. We gave up four long returns, one for a touchdown, and it’s just poor. I just felt like we became undisciplined and we played with lack of awareness and leverage. Certainly I am going to take responsibility for it because we put it on the field. We tell our guys all the time, we are in this sucker together, there is no doubt about it. It wasn’t coached well enough and it certainly wasn’t executed and so it was just a disappointing performance. The good thing is we’ve identified the problems and we’re certainly working to get them fixed and we’re going to fix them.”

The coverage unit had been performing well all season, is there any reason they would lose that lane integrity?
“That’s a fair question. Any time you stop the film and you don’t have five guys on this side of the ball and five guys on that side of the ball then you’re going to have problems. All of a sudden some guys get doubled, some guys get kicked in, and all of a sudden there is a seam here and the left side has to compress it. I just felt like, again, with our lane distribution, and certainly with our leverage, we were caught with three guys to the left of the ball and seven to the right of the ball and all of a sudden that’s where gaps are happening. Look, I told our guys, I said we have to do better and I have to do a better job. You guys (they) have to be ready mentally, physically and emotionally and we have to make sure that when we’re practicing every day that we’re really true to our fundamentals of smart football. I felt like we played pretty dang good up to 12 games but in this league you’re as good as your last out. The good thing is we play Sunday so we have an opportunity so we have an opportunity to rebound and show what we can do and that’s the great thing about it.”

Did the weather conditions affect Thomas Morstead’s ability to kickoff?
“Certainly he’s an elite kickoff guy but we tell our guys all the time that we have to be able to adjust to the ball. If I’m a left-sided player, I need to keep you to my right, if I’m a right sided player than I have to keep the ball to my left, then we give up the long return and all of a sudden guys maybe try do a little bit more than they do. We just got to coach them better. They’ve got to understand exactly what we want to do. I don’t really think the weather was a huge factor but we certainly have to be able to adjust, on the ball. There is no doubt about that. If the ball is not as deep then I (they) have to run through blockers, I can’t run around blockers. Things like that. Run past them early, but them up late. Again, it’s easy to blame it on fundamentals but it truly is fundamentals.”

Was there any reason his kickoffs weren’t as long as they usually are?
“Lawrence Tynes was the same way. That’s the stadium, I think. The thing that happens is they give you a kicking ball. You have a K ball and so if it’s a little moist it’s maybe a little heavier even if it’s not real cold out or anything. Look, we’re in the business of executing and winning and playing good football so I don’t want to make excuses but I would think the ball, maybe, wasn’t the same as it’d normally be indoors. He’s a heck of a kicker and we just have to do a better job covering. I just felt like we just didn’t cover the ball well.”
Travaris Cadet has not been tremendously effective as the kick returner and Darren Sproles held that position earlier in the season. Is there a thought of going back to Sproles?
“We’re just trying to be smart with (Darren) Sproles with his hand. Travaris (Cadet) had the nice return against Oakland and he’s a good, young player. We certainly love Darren and we’re using him as our punt returner and he’s certainly ready to go as a kick returner and he wants to do it, and it’s something we possibly could go to, but right now we’re going with Cadet and we feel good about him. Sproles is always available as is Pierre (Thomas).

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