Michael Clay

Q. What did you see watching tape of those kick returns? Any common thread in there? (Reuben Frank)

MICHAEL CLAY: Yeah, I mean, obviously giving up three explosive kickoff returns on your kickoff coverage is nothing to be proud about. It’s unacceptable first of all, for myself as a special teams coordinator for the kickoff coverage.

But, again, there have been some good things all around the season. In terms of that game, just some opportunities to make a tackle to probably save it at the 25, 28-yard line where we missed out on.

Have to get better getting off blocks, in terms of handling our leverage in those situations. The one coming out of the half they out-leveraged us and it bounced out to the field.

Again, just one of those little things, those details that we talk about throughout the week in terms of this is a dangerous kickoff returner. We have to be able to have our leverage, our running lanes and be able to get off blocks and just play football and be violent at the point the attack. Kind of slipped out on those ones.

It starts with myself as a coordinator to get these guys going in terms of that. Not saying that they haven’t been going all year. They’ve been doing a great job in terms of their effort, the details and everything.

Three explosive kickoff returns doesn’t help anybody, and I’ve been in this league long enough to know that without the defense that we had, and they saved us a few times, that’s going to come back and bite you.

Especially late in the season here in the northeast, you’re going to have to cover some kicks. So, again, very fortunate that it didn’t really cost us in terms of the game where it put the defense in a bind, but they stepped up on those in terms of those sudden changes.

Again, for myself, we have to get this thing going in terms of knowing we’re knowing that we are going to have to cover some kicks against some really good kickoff returners coming forward.

Q. Was the plan to kick to Packers CB Keisean Nixon, or was it to situationally choose when to kick to him? (Jeff McLane)

MICHAEL CLAY: Yeah, no, a lot has to do with the weather. If it was a controlled environment in the dome, yeah. [K] Jake [Elliott] has a good enough leg to bang it out the back of the end zone. If you saw going into our tunnel, it was tough for both kickers to get touch backs. The wind bounces off the stadium right there and it’s probably going to kick the ball in regardless. Where opposite side it’s probably going to get out the back because you have some help going in.

Again, weather affects everyone in the northeast. We have to be able to make sure that — we can’t allow that as an excuse. We have to go out there, go make the coverage down the field. We did it twice. One a return of ten yards. Yeah, he dropped it, but guys were already down there. Then the 19-yard return.

So, we’ve proven that we can do it. We just have to be consistently doing it knowing we have a high-powered offense, so our kickoff coverage team is going to have to get out there and make some plays and create a long field for the defense.

Q. Head Coach Nick Sirianni mentioned that all options are on the table as you try to correct it. What’s that process like and how do you prevent overreacting to a bad game? (Dave Zangaro)

MICHAEL CLAY: Yeah, the process stays — as far as in terms of meetings with myself, [Head Coach] Coach [Nick] Sirianni, we do it every time, whether it’s a good game, whether it’s a bad game, whether it’s an indifferent game. We obviously talk about different situations, the personnel that we could use, the personnel that’s going out there.

Again, Coach Sirianni and [Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] do a great job bringing in guys that are going to help this team. You have a sour taste in your mouth, but you’ve also got to look at the big picture again. I’ve been in situations back-to-back years where I was 1-10 through 11 games. Howie kind of said this to me yesterday: We’re 10-1, so there are a lot worse situations.

But you’re not 10-1 by being lucky. You’re 10-1 because you play well in all three phases. At times our phases haven’t lived up to the level, and there are times when we have lived up to the level. We’ve got to be consistent going forward the latter part of the season. I think the guys know there could be a special season here in Philadelphia, so it’s one of those things where you don’t want to overreact. You are 10-1. There are probably other teams would love to be in that situation.

So, again, we’re going to go up there, try and get a game plan for Tennessee, who has a really good special teams, really good team. Probably a playoff team in the AFC, so we have our hands full again.

Q. As far as personnel usage, how does the use of starters or lack thereof compare here to other places you’ve been? (Zach Berman)

MICHAEL CLAY: Been fortunate enough there has only been two organizations I’ve been at. It’s all situationally based. There are guys that do play on our kickoff coverage that are starters. There are guys that are starters on our punt team.

So, it’s all situational. You guys saw we had [DT] Jordan Davis on our field goal team to give us a longer edge on field goal right there. So, again, the starters do get used out here. Same when I was in San Francisco. There were starters that were getting — All-Pro starters that were getting used out there.

Again, it’s all situationally based. We are going to try and put the best 11 out there, but there are guys that had that role being special teams guys that we’ve got to make these plays. Again, it’s all an evolving process, grinding it out getting better.

I think the personnel that Howie and Coach Sirianni have brought on has been really, really good. Again, not to overreact, but we do have to get the coverage right in terms of kickoff and be able to hold our own as the games get going later in the season.

Q. Was the wind a factor in the two missed extra points? (Merrill Reese)

MICHAEL CLAY: It’s pretty funny. Both really good kickers. Been doing it for a long time. Same type of kicks, same type results right there. We both had an understanding with it. If you ask [K] Jake [Elliott], he probably just cut at it a little bit too much.

But just like any great kicker, they both came back, and they made these subtle adjustments and then they’re hitting right down the middle right there. Yeah, a little wind going into the tunnel based off that day, but just like anything else, very fortunate that it didn’t come back to bite us. I think Jake made up for it with a 54-yarder to make it a two-score game.

Q. About what Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman said to you about the 10-1 record, I would imagine you probably beat yourself up a little bit about special teams not maybe living up to expectations. Can you kind of take us through those emotions and also the way the building has responded and supported you? (Tim McManus)

MICHAEL CLAY: I think in any profession, regardless, as journalists and myself as coaches, when you feel like you didn’t do as well as you possibly could do, you’re going to feel bad about it. You always want to strive for perfection in this profession because it is a production-based business.

For myself, I don’t think anybody is a harder critic than myself in terms of that. Even if it was a ten-yard return on punt, I’m always going to want to strive to be better to get us going and create a long field for the defense. If we get tackled inside the 20, I’m not going to feel good about our kickoff return right there.

So, again, just putting that — I wouldn’t say added pressure, but the goals that I have in my mind knowing who we have on this team to help this team get to the ultimate goal, which is let’s win the division, let’s make a playoff run, and let’s get to the Super Bowl, it’s always not going to feel good coming back after that performance.

I’m always fortunate enough to look back at it whereas you won. It’s hard to win in the NFL. Again, I’m always going to be hard on myself. Just the person I am, just how I was raised from my parents, just to strive to be the best I possibly be and get these guys to play at a level I know they can play.

Again, around the building it’s awesome. It’s 10-1 in Philadelphia. If you were to ask that in May you guys probably would’ve been, yeah, probably put a lot of money — I would love to have that feeling right there.

Again, 10-1 in the NFL, being able to help out in a playoff run, that’s awesome to wake up every morning to say, hey, I can help make this team better in terms of that. But it all starts from yesterday looking at the film, looking myself in the mirror, how can I get these guys better, what drills can I do, how can I explain it better to them where they understand it and it clicks and they can play a little bit faster.

Of course, I’m going to look back and try and get that going when we come in and meet as a full unit tomorrow, Wednesday. Guys come in Monday, Tuesday. Yes, it’s one of those things I am going to be disappointed in myself, but, again, I have the opportunity to help make this team better going forward in these last six weeks.

Q. You mentioned what drills can you do when you think about a week like this. Do things change from your perspective, or you take it more as status quo, we just got to get better at what we do? (John McMullen)

MICHAEL CLAY: That’s a good question. I have this written on my board, ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,’ so I don’t want to go into the same thing where it’s status quo like alright, it was just a one-game thing.

No, we’re going to find ways to get better in the drills that we have a lot of times right there to probably clean up some things and get ready for that.

So, again, the drill work that we can do I think is going to help us going forward. You always want to cover it up because, again, in the NFL everyone is going to test you until you can prove you can stop it. So, they’re going to test our kickoff return unit until we can stop them, which I know these guys can. We have been able to stop some good returners right there.

Again, doing the drills to make ourselves better is always on the table, and I think we’ll get better as we get going.