Q. Now that you’ve seen P Braden Mann a little bit, how has he done? And do you think he’s the punter moving forward? (Dave Zangaro)
MICHAEL CLAY: I think Braden has done a good job being put in there. Obviously, it’s good when the offense is moving the ball, and he rarely has any opportunities in there.
He had that one punt, pinned them inside the 10, allowed our defense to play a long field. So, Braden has done a really good job, and as a holder he’s done an outstanding job. Some people may not notice, the second hold he did a really good job picking it up and putting it down on a lower snap. But outside of that I think he’s been doing a pretty good job for us.
Q. What areas has WR Britain Covey improved as far as with the ball in his hands? (Reuben Frank)
MICHAEL CLAY: It always goes back to understanding what that team’s doing. A lot of the times early on in the season, you see a lot more punts that are a little bit further down the field, whether it’s just warm weather, or in a dome. The opposing team almost outkicks the coverage, but it allows Britain to get into his mindset of I’ll puncture then get outside.
He’s done a really good job understanding what the punter is trying to do, what the coverage is trying to do. Are they more of a spread it out field side or are they all pretty much converging?
A lot of times it has to do with what the guys up front are doing, on the outside with [CB Josh] Jobe and [CB] Kelee [Ringo], they did a really good job neutralizing some gunners to give him an opportunity.
You see [CB] Eli Ricks in there kind of taking almost a fullback approach picking up any trash right there. A lot of times it’s predicated on what the other 10 guys are doing and they’ve done a pretty good job the first five weeks allowing Britain the opportunities to get some yardage for us.
Q. Has WR Britain Covey gotten more used to the speed of the NFL game? He was amazing in Utah, but there’s a big difference in levels. (Merrill Reese)
MICHAEL CLAY: Yeah, I think that goes for anybody coming from college to the NFL. It’s amped up a little bit more. You have guys that run 4.3 on the outside and they’re 6-foot, 200 pounds. Just getting used to the speed of the NFL, but I think Britain has done a really good job of getting better as a returner. The more opportunities you get the better you’ll get, just like anything else in life.
Q. You mentioned P Braden Mann’s experience at MetLife as a bonus when you brought him in. What is it about that stadium that makes punting in there unique? (Tim McManus)
MICHAEL CLAY: Just like the other stadiums in the northeast, you get some winds, you get some bad weather. It swirls a little bit in there. Fortunate enough we do play the Giants in there. So, we’ve been there a couple times.
It’s just a very unique stadium that gives everybody issues, regardless of who is in there. Obviously, the other team has to kick also. Braden being in there, he may have other tidbits if anybody asks, Covey, [K] Jake [Elliott] — Jake’s been in there many times — on how the weather affects the ball flight and everything.
But for the most part these guys will be prepared going in there, going against a really good special teams unit in the New York Jets. Obviously, you see they’ve got their returner, [Jets WR] Xavier Gipson, some specialists out there, [Jets CB] Justin Hardee. [Jets K Greg] Zuerlein has been kicking a long time in this league. [Jets Special Teams Coordinator] Brant [Boyer] does a great job with his units. He’s been doing it for a long time. We have our work cut out.
Q. When you look at Jets WR Xavier Gipson, what challenges does he present to the coverage team? (Chris Franklin)
MICHAEL CLAY: He’s no one-trick pony. He can puncture it going north and south. He can get the edge as a returner, dual-threat returner. He doesn’t have any fear, which helps out a lot. He’s not going to be fearful trying to make a big play.
It’s really going to be a full team effort in our coverage phases to corral him and get him down in punt and kickoff coverage.
Q. I don’t think you guys had to cover a kick in Los Angeles because you had the P Braden Mann punts and then K Jake Elliott had all touchbacks. As a coordinator, how do you look at a game like that? Is that a positive — because you need your guys to be honed in on coverage? How do you kind of look at that when you get a clean game, I guess, from a kicking standpoint, no returns? (John McMullen)
MICHAEL CLAY: You can only control what you can control. That goes back to our practice. We rep our kickoff coverage and our punt coverage a lot, just to get ourselves ready for those opportunities.
You never know what they can do. It could be line the guy up nine deep and he wants to bring it out nine deep. We always have to be ready regardless of the situation — in a dome, good weather, no wind.
But it always goes back down to what we do Wednesday and Thursday and Friday to get us ready to go out and cover because obviously you guys know here in the northeast the weather changes. Even it’s starting to feel nice and cool and crisp in the morning nowadays.
So now that ball may not travel as far as it did the first month of the season. So we always have got to be ready for anything — return, to make sure our coverage responsibilities are honed in and especially going against a returner like Xavier Gipson, whoever it may be.
You’re an NFL returner; you’ve got some juice to you. We’ve got to be ready to accept that challenge and help our defense with a long field.
Q. You spent four years with Jets Head Coach Robert Saleh. What’s your background, your relationship with him? (Zach Berman)
MICHAEL CLAY: Saleh, outstanding human being. Being around him in San Francisco, getting to know him, his family, his upbringing out of Dearborn and everything. All the passion and the details he has for football.
But he’s a great, wonderful human being. And I wish nothing but the best for him, but he’s been doing a great job up there in New York with all the circumstances that may present themselves. But Saleh always is ready for anything. So, it’s always nice to see those guys you’ve worked with in the past to exchange pleasantries right before the game.