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Greg McMahon Talks About Performance of Special Teams Unit

Posted Oct 4, 2012

Special Teams Coordinator Greg McMahon met with the media after practice on Thursday to discuss the kicking unit and last Sunday's game against the Packers

New Orleans Saints Special Teams Coordinator Greg McMahon

Post-Practice Media Availability

Thursday, October 04, 2012

On the fake punt on Sunday, did you know it was coming? Was there anything you could have done? “You always look at that. Like I told the guys, we defended the play, we didn’t stop it. At the end of the day, on fourth and one, we have to come up with possession of the ball. When we go to punt return or field goal block, we need to have possession of the ball when the play’s over. That’s our first goal. When you give up a fake, it’s unacceptable. You always second-guess yourself. Isa (Abdul-Quddus) made a nice play on it, but we’re three yards short. It can’t happen.”

Garrett Hartley has missed a kick two weeks in a row. Has his confidence gone down? Is he handling it well? “I think he is. No one feels worse than him, as you could imagine. John Carney went through it. John Kasay goes through it. There are guys all over our league that have to go through it. It really comes down to how you bounce back and how you make your next 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 kicks. That’s what it comes down to. Certainly no one felt worse than him and it’s just a tough deal. That’s the nature of the position that you play. With that kick, you have to deal with that like you did with the walk-off field goal against Minnesota to go to the Super Bowl. That’s part of being a kicker in the National Football League.”

What is your confidence in him?

“Very good. That’s why he’s here. I feel good about him and I know his team does, our coaches do and our front office does and that’s why he’s here. We feel good about him. He’s a competitor and he’ll bounce back.”

Do you want him to just forget about the missed field goals?

“I don’t know. I think you need to have a short memory. I don’t think he’ll ever forget about it, but you definitely have to bounce back from it. I don’t know if he’ll forget about it, but you certainly don’t want it to linger into the next game or the next rep. Certainly he will bounce back from that.”

There were two holding calls on kicks. Can you talk about that?

“Yes, and they called one on them (encroachment penalty on Green Bay). So there were three in the game, which is very abnormal and it’s disappointing. We have to get it corrected and we certainly have. I’m not going to talk about the officiating or anything. We just have to do a better job.”

Is there a reason why one of the missed field goals went wide right and one of the field goals went wide left? “I don’t know. We get him (Garrett Hartley) out there, we coach him and we look at the tape. The bottom line is he’s got to get the snap, we have to get the hold, he’s got to get his plant foot, he’s got to get it through. Under (before) that game, he’s an 85 percent kicker for his career, which is – if you look at the stats over the years – 85 (percent) is cooking (hot). But you have to make that kick. Like you said, the holding penalty hurt us, so we have to bounce back. We have to be mentally tough as a team and as coaches and players to get the job done under pressure. That’s part of the deal.”

Did the back-to-back penalties hurt on the missed field goal at Green Bay?

“It doesn’t help, but it happens in this league. It happens in college and it happens in high school. It’s not the way you wanted to start, it’s kind of non-rhythmic, but it is what it is. We got the holding penalty, which backed it up and then they gave us five yards back, so you just have to roll with it and be ready to go. It’s easier said than done.”

Are you getting what you hoped out of the return game?

“We like to get (Darren) Sproles (going more), he’s done a good job with kickoff returns, and we’ll get some things going (on punt returns). We feel real good about it. We feel good about the guy on the back end. We’ll have our opportunities. There’s no question. If you’re not leading the league or you’re not in the top five, we’re disappointed. We’ve been a good return team here over the years and we’ll continue to do that, but we definitely want to get that improved without a doubt. We have too good of a returner.”

Is it a scheme thing or is it a matter of everyone executing?

“You look at everything. We’re our own worst critic. You sit there at night and you look and you study and you say, ok are we getting our players in the right position? Do we have them in the right matchups? Are we teaching the right technique? So you’re constantly looking at that even when statistically you’re top five or top ten, but you’re really looking at the better way to do this. That’s what we do. It’s no different than your job and our job. We are constantly looking to make sure we have the right players in, they’re in the right positions, we have the right matchups and are we technically sound on what we can do. That’s going to be forever, whether it be this year or next year. It’s what we do.”

In the past when Garrett Hartley has struggled, you’ve brought in another kicker. Have you given that any thought? “No, it hasn’t really come up. It’s always something you certainly look at. A lot of it has to do with where you’re at with your roster and what kind of injuries you have. You just kind of fit who that 53 is together. Certainly at this point, no.”

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