Michael Clay

Q. What is your overall — I know the season is not over, but the progress you guys have made as a unit, a group from last year? What’s your overall assessment of where you are? (Reuben Frank)

MICHAEL CLAY: I think the guys have done a really nice job throughout the entire season in terms of just helping out the team any way we can. We had a couple big runs on punt return. Our coverage on punt has helped out in some pretty big situations.

Again, for myself, it’s just trying to get these guys ready each and every week and let them shine on whatever day we’re playing. It’s all credit to the players. I can only do so much in terms of I want to help them game plan as much as I possibly can, but for them to — we kind of spoke about it before the season started. As long as we can believe in the game plan and we trust each other, it’ll all play out.

I think they’ve done an outstanding job. Even the guys that have been brought up, practice squad elevations, going back down, staying ready.

It’s really credit to [Assistant Special Teams Coordinator] Joe P. [Pannunzio] and [Special Teams Assistant] Tyler Brown getting all these guys ready. I try to give them the main course of the whole thing, but if they have any other questions I can’t get to, Joe P. and Tyler do an unbelievable job of answering those questions, everybody just being on the same page.

Q. P Braden Mann, we’ve seen him kick far kicks. We’ve seen him do really well at angling kicks. How big was that? Obviously, the end result wasn’t great, but to hit the 42-yarder, drop it at the 8 at that point. In that situation, how important it was for him? (Jeff McLane)

MICHAEL CLAY: It was unbelievable. The great thing is the communication and trust, the comfortability that me and Braden have on game day. I don’t try to ask them too many questions. They’re professionals and know what they’re going to do.

As the drive started, started backed up, but just going forward, just saying, hey, we have this in our bag. We feel really confident with it in terms of where we are in field position, what was the opposing team going to do within that down and distance.

You have an ability with how good you are in your traits to hit this specific type of ball to really down it. I thought the coverage team did a really good job one just bleeding the clock as much as they possibly could and take down the time.

Just reverts back to us being that third phase, just helping the team any way we can, whether it’s setting up the offense in good field position or giving the defense a long filed to protect.

Q. How do you personally handle the balance of confidence and accountability when there are shakeups on the coaching staff? (Brooks Kubena)

MICHAEL CLAY: I’m just here to support anybody throughout this building. The building supports us, so I try to do the exact same thing. And not just in here, but in life. You never know what somebody is going through. You always want to give them a helping hand. If they need words of encouragement, I am more than happy to be there. If they need somebody to vent to, I’m more than happy to be there.

Not hard to be a good human being.

Q. Senior Defensive Assistant Matt Patricia said something about having spent some time with the special teams group. What were those conversations like? (Bo Wulf)

MICHAEL CLAY: Matt’s office is just a couple doors down the way. I’m never a person to not take advice from somebody, regardless of the experience. Matt has been around Super Bowl teams a good amount of his career. Just to ask him different types of tackling questions, different types of coverage responsibilities, things of that nature.

Matt has been awesome. Very glad he’s part of this staff. Just to be able to ask questions, what did you do when you had [Former NFL Player] Teddy Bruschi and [Former NFL Player] Rodney Harrison and [Former NFL Player/Current Seahawks Special Teams Coordinator] Larry Izzo on your team, guys that are really good, [Former NFL Player] Matt Slater. What was their train of thought like and just pick his brain.

There is so much to learn in the NFL or just life, so having somebody else to ask questions is awesome.

Q. The Giants picked up the third kicker of the season, New York Giants K Cade York. What do you know about him? (Merrill Reese)

MICHAEL CLAY: Cade, out of LSU, was drafted in Cleveland, so we have a couple years of tape against him.

Very strong leg. Very confident kicker. [New York Giants Special Teams Coordinator] T-Mac [Thomas McGaughey] does an incredible job with his special teams, so just envision Cade to be ready when his number is called.

Again, we got to be ready for anything. There is enough tape out there we go back and look if there is any tells where he is going to kick the ball or of that nature. Going in the NFL you never know who you’re going to go against, but you’ve got to be ready for anything.

Q. Giants are among the top teams in terms of net punting yards. What does New York Giants P Jamie Gillan do well? (Chris Franklin)

MICHAEL CLAY: Yeah, Jamie Gillan is doing an unbelievable job this year. He is really pinning returners, taking away their avenue of getting north and south. He is putting it outside the numbers with some good hang time and allows the gunners to make a lot of plays. T-Mac does an unbelievable job giving out some different formations that you got to really study and make sure you’re on point in case they want to try something funky out of it.

It puts extra stress on not the players, but myself, to make sure the game plan is pretty good to get us as many yards as possible. It is going to be a big challenge. I think you’re correct, they’re the number one punting team in the NFL and have done an unbelievable job. It’ll be a good one with our punt return team and the success we’ve had against a very good punt team.

Q. The conditions weren’t very good at the end of that game Monday night. How much does something like that, the cold, rain, affect K Jake Elliott’s range? (Reuben Frank)

MICHAEL CLAY: Mother nature affects lots of things. Communication was great between myself, [Head Coach] Nick [Sirianni], and Jake about what we were going to try and do. Whenever our number is called, we are going to try to go out and execute regardless of the distance that is ahead of us.

Obviously late in the game you don’t have much of a choice to do but go out there and try to execute a long field goal.

Q. What was K Jake Elliott’s max range based off pre-game warmup? (Tim McManus)

MICHAEL CLAY: Yeah, it always varies. That wind was starting to shift a little bit in terms of during the first half going one way, second half kind of flipped a little bit. Jake, he’s very fluid on what his range will be throughout the game. Again, whenever our number is called, we’re going to try to go out there and make a huge play.

I am sure in that Buffalo game we probably didn’t think we would have to go out there for that long field goal, but when we trotted out there Jake had all the confidence in the world and did what he does.

Q. There were some hiccups with special teams over the last couple years before this season. The vote of confidence from Head Coach Nick Sirianni, how much did that mean to you and how much behind the scenes was he still encouraging to help and get this thing right? (Dave Zangaro)

MICHAEL CLAY: Nick does an unbelievable job instilling trust and confidence in whoever is in this building. I can’t say enough about the head coach and this whole building. Just like anything in life, there will be times you’ll get beat up. It won’t be the last time; probably not the first time I’ll have to pick myself up and get a good group of guys going.

They’ve done an unbelievable job this year. Nick has been awesome. Like I said, I can’t say enough good things about him in terms of his encouragement and the confidence going from last year to this year.

Just like I do in anything in life, try to pay everybody back for what they’ve done for me, and hopefully it comes back forward when I’m a little bit older in age.

Q. Why do you think he was still so confident? (Dave Zangaro)

MICHAEL CLAY: I think he understands in terms of work ethic we all have in this building special teams-wise. The end product at times last year wasn’t what we wanted. Call a spade a spade. Wasn’t good enough in the NFL. It’s a production-based business.

He understands how hard we work to try and help this time any way we possibly can. Seeing what the guys will do for us in terms of just understanding that we always have their back and just trying to look out for them to get the best they possibly can.

I think back to Nick just being unbelievable in terms of that, is he keeps seeing it, I got to keep repaying it back to him to put this team in the best possible spot.

Like I said, the guys have done an unbelievable job all year and it’s shown in a lot of big games that we helped in field position and spark the energy for this team.

Again, still three more weeks in the regular season. We still got a very good opponent. We all know conference games, divisional games, there is always something heated up with that. We got to get ready for the New York Giants and put our best foot forward.

Q.  WR Britain Covey has been so successful returning punts. Is there a likelihood that they’re punting higher and giving up some driving distance so he’ll be forced into fair catches? (Merrill Reese)

MICHAEL CLAY: That’s up to what the other team’s philosophy is. Shoot, [Seattle Seahawks P] Michael Dickson had a gross net of like 59/50. It’s not like he was trying to hang it up there. He is trying to make it harder for us.

Covey does an unbelievable job getting north, south, and eating chunk yards in a hurry. We got to be ready to field every ball we can. If there is a shot, the confidence from the ten guys blocking for Covey has been unbelievable, and we got to keep doing that and help our offense with the field position battle.

Q. CB Josh Jobe is the Eagles representative for a special teamer on the Pro Bowl ballot. What have you seen from Josh behind the scenes that can be attributed to his jump from year one to two? (Andrew DiCecco)

MICHAEL CLAY: Yeah, the old wild stallion. There are a lot of words I could say, but just the unbelievable maturity process from year one to two. Seeing the speed of the NFL, just his determination really to be the guy. When [CB] Zech McPhearson went down with the achilles, he was kind of the leader in the perimeter room, and then Josh was the second-most experienced guy in there.

So, he kind of had to take that leadership role. And Josh really doesn’t say much, but he’s very cerebral in terms of the special teams aspect. Physical traits, tall, long, can run, and he’s got a motor. He’s one of those guys you like having on the outside because he sets the tone when he’s running down there.

He’s done an unbelievable job. Started off in New England on that sideline against [New England Patriots DB] Marcus Jones where he didn’t stop his feet, ran through Marcus, and got a forced fumble out of it. He’s been doing an unbelievable job in setting the tone for the younger guys, [S] Sydney [Brown], [CB] Kelee [Ringo], [CB] Eli [Ricks]. Can’t say enough good things about Josh.

Q. With CB Avonte Maddox coming back to practice, how much can special teams be a spot where he can reacclimate himself? (Brooks Kubena)

MICHAEL CLAY: I’ll take anybody to help out special teams, especially a guy of that caliber, Avonte. It’s a discussion we have from the top down, like, ‘hey, how do we get this guy back into game playing shape.’ If he wants to help on special teams, I’ve got open arms for him to come help us out.