New Orleans Saints Special Teams Coordinator Greg McMahon
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Is special teams where the young guys need to make their mark?
"The young guys do. It's still a little early, but we've had a good four days. Of course, a week from tonight we play. We'll learn more when we get hitting with some live bullets. It's an encouraging group. It doesn't look like anybody doesn't fit in. They've worked their butts off, so it's been good."
How is Jerico Nelson doing?
"He's doing well. All three of those young safeties – Nelson, (Jose) Gumbs and (Johnny) Thomas – we like all three of those guys. Again, it's still early and they know that they're not the starters and they're playing behind Roman (Harper) and Malcolm (Jenkins) and they have to be special teams guys, but it's a good group. Of course, we've got Isa Abdul-Quddus and (Jonathon) Amaya, so it's a good group."
How important is it to have that extra preseason game to evaluate who can contribute on special teams especially considering that there are no more two-a-days?
"That's a good call. Listen, we've got more than enough opportunity to look at these guys, but certainly having that fifth game is definitely going to help the young guys and it gives us an opportunity to evaluate those guys. There's no substitute for lacked bullets, but we'll see how they do under the lights."
If you're on the back end trying to make this team, does it make a difference if you're a linebacker, safety, tight end or wide receiver as far as how you can contribute on special teams?
"I think ever since Coach Payton and certainly Mickey (Loomis) and Coach Vitt and our staff, how the roster fits with the 53, maybe you keep an extra safety or you keep an extra receiver. Hey, Courtney Roby was cut and then re-signed in '09, so you don't know how the whole thing is going to fit together, but again it goes to showing what kind of value you can have. A fourth and fifth receiver, if they have special teams value, that's a huge advantage for those guys. The same thing if maybe you carry an extra linebacker. That will work its way out. We're going to get the best 53 and we've always done that. I guess that's why we've had success."
Can you talk about the kicking competition between John Kasay and Garrett Hartley?
"It's good. It's healthy. John and Garrett, I think they relish it. It's a good situation for us. We're going to let those guys go out and compete and just see how it plays out. They'll get equal opportunity. We'll see how it plays out."
Is there a scenario where you keep two kickers?
"I don't think there's any way, just because with Thomas (Morstead) being such a good kickoff guy. It's kind of unique because we're probably one of two or three teams in the National Football League that has a punter that also kicks off. There's no way that we could keep two that I could think of. I would anticipate that."