Q. I wanted to ask you about two special teams penalties Sunday, one obviously the G/T Matt Pryor false start, and the other RB Corey Clement’s inexplicable unnecessary roughness when he dove on the pile which set up a field goal for them. (Paul Domowitch)
DAVE FIPP: Obviously the bottom line is it’s my responsibility to manage those units, and we didn’t get the job done on both those two plays. Those were really our two bad plays on the game.
I’ll just start with the field goal. At the end of the day, what they did isn’t unique or novel. I wouldn’t say we didn’t know that they couldn’t possibly do that. I’m not going to get into all that, but at the end of the day, we have to go when the ball is snapped on our rhythm and our tempo, and we obviously had a guy jump offsides. It’s unfortunate, and like I said, I take full responsibility for it. My job as a coach with those units is for those units to go out there and execute.
Coach [head coach Doug Pederson] had confidence in us. He knew it was a 59-yarder and he said, let’s go kick it and believed in us to get the job done, and unfortunately we let him down, and that obviously starts with me and on my shoulders. Yeah, it was disappointing for me.
But I guess for all of us, we have to learn from it and move on.
As far as the Corey Clement play, it was obviously just not a smart play. I’m sure he wished he could take it over. If he could do it again, I’m sure he would do something differently. There were a lot of emotions going on in the game. We were playing against a really good unit and our guys knew that, they knew that. It was a good, competitive match-up. Our guys were competing, they were competing, and we let our emotions get the best of us right there.
I would say for us, kind of how I like to say it or talk about it is at the end of the day, winning has to be more important to us than any individual battle that goes on out there on the field, and we have to be able to walk away from that stuff, and that’s what winning football teams do and that’s what good units do, and right now obviously we are not doing that and we have to get better.
Q. What was K Jake Elliott’s range on Sunday, and was 64 yards out of the question? (Dave Zangaro)
DAVE FIPP: The range question is always interesting to me because I’ll just give you a handful of experiences that have happened to me or I’ve been a part of is what’s his range, well, that depends. When you ask me what his range is, do you want to know what his range is to be 100 percent from? Are you trying to say where is he 90 percent from, where is he 80 percent from, 70? I will say, I’ve been a part of an experience where a coach said, ‘Can we kick it from here,’ and another coach said, ‘Yeah, we can.’ And we missed the kick, and then the coach said, ‘Well, what happened,’ and he said, ‘Well, it wasn’t 100 percent, it was a long field goal.’ I think it was a 50-plus yard field goal. This was a long way back, but it was a long field goal. The coach said, ‘Well what happened,’ and he said, ‘Well, I didn’t say it was 100 percent.’
So the range thing is interesting, and then obviously on top of that range question is there’s risk and reward, and that’s all got to be balanced, and then there’s time on the clock, and that all has to be balanced.
At the end of the day, there’s a lot that goes into it. Now, if you’re asking me what’s the furthest he can kick the ball from, I don’t totally know the answer to that question only because you would have to tell me what the conditions are and the wind and the weather, the temperature, density altitude. I mean, all that stuff plays a factor in how the ball carries.
So I’m not trying to skirt the question. Obviously, we have a lot of confidence in Jake. Coach [head coach Doug Pederson] and I have great communication. We talked about — he does a great job of talking to all of us. He talks to me before the game, he talks to Jake before the game. We talk about kind of a line to get, and when we talk about the first line to get, we’re really talking about just in a normal situation, 0-0 game or tie game early in the game. There’s a lot of time left. Where do we think that range is where he’s got a real high percentage of making that kick. So we talk about that line. And then there’s kind of another line or distance that’s more of the top end or in a must-get situation. If there’s five seconds or less on the clock and you know that’s going to be the last play of the game, then I would say that line goes further back.
I think obviously Coach has got a really tough position when you have to weigh all those different factors and you have to do it in a really quick short period of time and you have to make decisions that are in the best interest of the teams. Yeah, we would love to go trot out there and try every field goal from all distances. I think if you talk to any of these kickers in this league, they all feel really confident in their abilities. We’re certainly confident in Jake’s. But there is a risk-reward and there’s a lot that goes into all that decision.
I’m not trying to skate your question there, but I think it’s a very complex question, and there’s a lot that goes into it, more so than probably people really understand.
Does that help you out?
Q. Sure, I guess the follow-up to that is in those conditions where you were at the end of the game, was a 64-yarder possible for Jake? (Dave Zangaro)
DAVE FIPP: Is it possible? Yeah, anything has got a chance, you know what I’m saying? That’s what I’m saying. Again, I’m not trying to make light of the situation, but is there a possibility? There’s definitely a possibility. We’ve all seen him hit from 61 [yards], we could surely project he could hit maybe from 64. Now, it still depends on what’s going on in the game, the wind, the weather. The wind is moving a little bit. It was a little right to left, maybe at the end of the game it was pushing at us a little bit. We felt comfortable with the 59-yarder. We actually talked about 58 kind of before the drive, which would have been the 40-yard line, then we got to the 41 and we were both like, yeah, no question, let’s do this. Obviously, none of us were counting on the five-yard penalty.
At the end of the day, we really messed the whole thing up when we had the five-yard penalty and ruined it.
As far as the 64-yarder, one guy has hit one in the history of the National Football League, so obviously is it a common thing? Are the odds great? Probably not great. What are they? I couldn’t really tell you.
Q. You mentioned a lot of the things — one of them is the side of the field. That 61-yarder was I guess the north end toward the skyline. That’s the I-95 end. I think Jake in the past has mentioned that’s a little trickier down at that end. Have you had that experience? You’ve been around – (John McMullen)
DAVE FIPP: Are you saying the north end is trickier or the south end?
Q. The south end. (John McMullen)
DAVE FIPP: I don’t know that I feel that way. I would also say, again, not to confuse the question, but there are a lot of variables to it. Where is the wind coming from? In that game it was generally pushing towards their bench, so that’s saying from west to east in the stadium, generally. Very light. It was not strong. But a light wind pushing west to east, that being said in all those stadiums, it can swirl around, it can do a lot of different things. Sometimes it pushes one way better than the other. I would say in that Giants game where he hit the 61-yarder, the wind was definitely running north on the field.
I don’t know if you noticed or not, but a lot of times what happens, if you look at the flags up at the top of the stadium, they’re going to be going one way, and if you look at the field level wind, it’s a lot of times going the other way. What happens in those stadiums is a lot of times the wind comes in over the top real high going one way, it’s going to hit the wall or the other side of the stadium and bounce back, so at field level you’re getting the wind coming back. Up higher you’re getting it going the other way.
Again, I’m not trying to make it more confusing than it is, but these are all things that we end up taking into account and thinking about. So the wind is definitely trickier than saying it’s one way or the other. Yeah, there’s a lot to it all. It’s tough.
Q. Does it change if there’s three seconds left? Are you more likely to try a 64-yarder, say, when you know the clock is going to run out, or are you going to be concerned about a potential return coming back the other way? (John McMullen)
DAVE FIPP: I would say to answer your question specifically, I would say generally most people would probably be more inclined to back the ball up further if they knew it was the last play of the game because the risk-reward is different. There’s not 14 seconds left on the clock with them getting the ball on whatever yard line that ball was spotted at or held at on the kick. So I would say, yeah, and generally speaking, I’m sure everybody in this league would back the ball further up.
Now, that being said, those are like all the things that Coach really has to weigh, pluses, minuses, risk-reward, he’s got to take the whole team — he’s got to do what’s best for the football team, and I would say at the end of the day, he’s always done a terrific job of that, and we’ve got a lot of confidence in him and trust in him. At the end of the day we know he’s going to make the best decision for the football team.
But those are really hard decisions, and the other thing I would say is they happen really fast, and I’ll go back to the point of where we really blew it was when we had the penalty because we didn’t go into that play thinking what are we going to do after the five-yard penalty, which is probably a learning experience for myself, too. Like what happens if we get a five-yard penalty, then what’s the decision going to be, and you’ve really got to start thinking about that ahead of time. Now, you hate to think negatively, and I rarely do that, but it’s definitely something I can learn and do different going forward.
I think any time things like this happen, you end up doing things differently. There’s a handful of modifications that we’re going to make. I’m not going to get into them all, but to help prevent that from happening again, and I think because of it we’ll be better. Obviously not a great situation to be in. We didn’t take care of our job.
Q. Speaking about that sequence after the five-yard penalty, it looked like the punt team went on, and then members started to come off before ultimately going back on. Was the original plan to have the offense come back on to the field and you just ran out of time? (Tim McManus)
DAVE FIPP: At that point, too, I think the biggest thing that happened to us is we didn’t want to rush it. We had already taken the five-yard penalty. We were already backed up. We didn’t want the punt team to run out there and go hit the ball and then at that point we were saying, hey, let’s just take the delay. And I think that’s where some of those guys started coming back off. We were going to take the delay of game rather than try to get up on the ball, hurry up and snap the thing, something goes wrong with the snap, and then obviously it gets worse from there. I think that was most of that.
Q. On that same thing, it seemed like the guys did sort of a shift there, too; that was not like setting up for some kind of fake, was it? (Bo Wulf)
DAVE FIPP: Not at that point. At that point we were just trying to make sure we executed the punt, and we did a good job of protecting. We got a good snap, and the guys got their composure back, and we didn’t rush into anything and turn bad into worse.
Q. Without S Rudy Ford and CB Craig James out there, how much different did the personnel perform with DB Grayland Arnold and some of those guys out there? (Mike Kaye)
DAVE FIPP: I thought those guys did a great job. I thought Grayland for his first game out there not having any preseason reps to be a gunner and work against a competitive double team in a game in the National Football League, I thought he did a really good job. Are there things he could do better and learn from? Absolutely.
But obviously Rudy is a really good football player for us. We all know that. He showed that early on for us. But I thought the guys who went in there did a great job.
I really think that they played — other than two plays, the punt and the field goal, I thought we really played a good game. We did a good job in coverage on the kickoff that came back. We obviously had the little situational kick before the half, and then they did a good job covering punts down the stretch obviously. Especially in overtime where there was a lot on the line right there, I thought those guys executed well. So I was pleased overall with really their overall performance. Obviously disappointed in the two penalties really were the two things that got us.
Q. You’ve made a few references to the decision that needs to be made and how quick it needs to be made. I’ve never been a coach, so can you lend insight into what it’s like on the sideline once the flag is thrown and you need to make that decision? (Zach Berman)
DAVE FIPP: There’s obviously a lot going on. For me in that situation, like I said, you really want to try to be in front of most of those things, and at that moment, I was not in front of the five-yard penalty. I was not anticipating that. Unfortunately, then it’s like, you have to have the punt team ready if he calls punt, you’ve got to have field goal ready if field goal is what’s called. So you’re trying to make sure you’ve got all the personnel groups. Meanwhile the officials are obviously going through the penalty and the ball is going down. That happens fast, and then there’s 25 seconds on the clock and the thing is running.
Obviously, I don’t have to make all those decisions, but I am a part of all those decisions, and I have to respond or be able to react to them. I’ll still just go back to at the end of the day we could have really helped ourselves out if we just went out there and executed.
Q. On a totally different subject, your return game so far, it really hasn’t generated much. I know nobody is really returning kickoffs much right now, but the punts, it didn’t seem like you had anything going there Sunday at all. Are they that good in coverage or what’s happening? (Les Bowen)
DAVE FIPP: In terms of our return game, I’m pleased with the way those guys are doing it. It’s obviously early in the year. We’ve played three games. You get different opportunities. We had the penalty in the very first game. We had a little return with [WR] Jalen [Reagor] over there against Washington and we had a penalty that brought that one back. I would say at the end of the day, you’re probably alluding to like numbers and our averages and all that stuff aren’t great. Some of the averages, like in that game the ball was on the ground and [WR] Greg Ward picked up the ball and prevented it from rolling further off the bounce, so he gets a zero-yard return or minus one or whatever. And I think I alluded to that a few weeks ago when people look at statistics, if you just look at all the — if you just feed everything in there they can come back and, I think, mislead you a little bit.
I’m not saying that we don’t want to be better in the return game. We certainly do. I think we have room to improve for sure. There’s no question about that. We just finished talking about that in our meeting. But I would say at the end of the day I think we’re probably a little bit better in that area than those numbers are showing right now, and I believe that’ll come back up for us, we’ve just got to let it all settle out and get some opportunities to return the ball.
Q. You had WR DeSean Jackson back there for one punt. Did he not go back again because of his injury or what was your thinking? What’s your plan with him on that? (Les Bowen)
DAVE FIPP: Good question. We did have him back there for the punt, obviously. Truth be told, we wanted to try to set up a return for him. They ended up checking and they put a wing on the ball, and they put the gunner off the ball and they were going to motion that gunner down, and our plan was to early in the game show that we were going to show a heavy box when they gave that look to try to help discourage some fakes and potential opportunities, not only for this opponent but also down the road. And so that took us out of the double teams on the outside, so unfortunately, we weren’t able to get him started right there.
But yeah, we did have him go in the game. We’re excited about getting him back there. We’ll see if it continues. We did not put him in later in the game because he had gone out, but our plan was to use him a little bit and try to get him involved. Obviously, we know he’s an explosive player back there, so we’ll see how that goes going forward.