Q. DB Andre Chachere has continued to make plays in the punt game. Can you talk about the chemistry between the gunners and P Arryn Siposs thus far? (Mike Kaye)
MICHAEL CLAY: Yeah, Andre’s been playing outstanding. It was a heck of a pickup from our management to get him.
And [Eagles special teams quality control] Tyler Brown, I keep reiterating, he works with him. He comes in after the games and they just try to get ahead of it. But Andre and Arryn — everyone works hand in hand. All 11 have to work hand in hand.
Especially on punt. Arryn can’t hit a good punt if the guys don’t protect for him. Andre and [CB] Zech [McPhearson] can’t make plays if Arryn doesn’t give them a good ball to go cover. So, it’s a whole team dynamic.
We really worked that from training camp to today when we were working it in our plus 50s type of area.
The more and more we get more comfortable with each other, it comes second nature. And it’s just less stress for everyone. And we just go out there and have fun making plays.
Q. Andre was signed at a position where you were thin at the time, had some injuries, but when you brought him in, were you aware of his special team’s acumen and that he would be this good? (Geoff Mosher)
MICHAEL CLAY: I knew about Andre. Obviously, I was in San Francisco when he was at San Jose State and I went to his pro day. So I knew about him.
It’s funny, we practiced against Houston when he was a rookie. So, I’ve always remembered Andre. But there wasn’t a lot of tape on him in game-type situations, just here and there in preseason.
But just like everybody in this league, they’re all pros and they want to do what’s best for everyone, and that’s winning football games.
Him performing at this level is not a shock to me, but it’s pleasant to see out of him and for everyone else out there.
Q. When you got here and Arryn was signed to the futures deal, how much did you know about him as a punter? (John McMullen)
MICHAEL CLAY: I knew about Arryn, you know, being at the combine. We took Mitch in San Francisco the year before, but I was still there. And I really liked what he did at the combine. Obviously, you had the COVID year, so you didn’t get to see the pro days and stuff like that.
But with Arryn, he comes in and been a pro’s pro. Like I reiterated a few weeks ago, he’s not a rookie. He comes in, tries to get better, he wants to help the team. And, overall, is a really good guy and a pleasure to work with.
And he wants to keep learning and be a sponge and soak up as much information as possible. And it helps having [LS] Rick [Lovato] and [K] Jake [Elliott] who’s been doing it for some time and to come in, and he’s done an outstanding job both punting and holding.
Q. What are the teaching points with WR Jalen Reagor with returning punts in terms of whether he tries to go horizontally to make a play or vertically to pick up a few easy yards? (Dave Zangaro)
MICHAEL CLAY: Yeah, with Jalen, he’s done an outstanding job with catching the ball. And for everyone else, it’s on me to put everybody else in a better spot so he can pick up yards.
I mean, he’s a dynamic athlete. He’s trying to do what he can and it’s going to come. But it comes to me getting these guys in better positions and better personnel matchups. And just him getting as many yards as possible.
[Cowboys P] Bryan Anger did a heck of a job last Monday night punting the ball towards the sidelines. When you hit the ball towards the sidelines, it kind of cuts off three quarters of the field.
So, Jalen wants to make a play but it’s more of him just understanding, ‘Hey, let me get what I can.’ And that’s on me getting the other 10 guys to block for him and give him a couple open lanes so he can find those lanes and get down the field.
Q. On that first return where it looked like Jalen Reagor might have had some yards on the sideline and he broke it back in, what would you like to see him do on that play? (Dave Zangaro)
MICHAEL CLAY: First off, it starts off — we got to get that gunner taken care of. I think it would have cleaned up the picture a little more. And that’s for myself getting guys’ hands on them and allowing everyone else to see the whole picture.
So, they have to see what Jalen sees. What Jalen sees is, ‘Okay, I got to catch the ball.’ And his eyes transfer down from not catching the ball, to the coverage, ‘Oh, there’s a guy in my face, let me go sideways to make him miss,’ which he did.
But when we do that, that allows everyone else from the interior trying to cover down right there. So if we’re able to stop a gunner 10 yards away from him, he sees now an open lane where he could just put his foot down and go get it.
So, it’s on me to get these guys in the best personnel matchups so Jalen can see the picture and having lanes to run down there.
Q. You were here when LeSean McCoy was in his final year. Obviously, he is retiring tomorrow. As a defensive quality control coach, you probably watched a lot of him versus scout team. What was that like? How dynamic of a player was he even at practice? (Mike Kaye)
MICHAEL CLAY: I mean, LeSean, once again, is one of the greater running backs, at least from my generation. To see the stuff he could do, the shiftiness, the way he just carried himself. It was almost like he had his own persona out there that everybody knew. I mean, he had his own nickname, Shady.
I mean, when you heard Shady, it was like, ‘Oh, this guy can really go.’ As a young guy seeing a running back like that, that’s probably something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
I’m glad he’s retiring as an Eagle as he should. He’s been one of the more prolific running backs in the last decade or so — or decade, 15 years or so. And just creating explosive plays.
Obviously, you guys know from the snow game, I mean, nobody could touch him in that snow game. That’s just something that some people have. And he had that. Very thankful to see him in that light and he had a heck of a career
Q. Chiefs assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Dave Toub has a reputation of being one of the best special teams coordinators in the NFL. How does that show up when you’re watching tape? How does that manifest itself? (Tim McManus)
MICHAEL CLAY: Dave, he’s done a heck of a job for so long, 20-plus years being a coordinator. He puts the guys in the right spot. He puts his athletes — those returners, you look down the line of returners he has, starting off with [Devin] Hester, even going all the way through — he gets those guys the ball and puts them in right spots. But he gets the other guys to block for him and play hard. You rarely see anybody get big chunk yards on them.
And it’s going be a huge test for us to help this team in terms of taking care of that third phase. So, Dave, I have nothing but respect for him because he’s been doing it at such a high level for so time. He is able to put guys in the right spot, and they’re playing at a high level for him, so we have to match that intensity to help our team out in that phase.
Q. Just going back to Arryn Siposs really quick. From a technicality perspective for us non-punters, what has he done well in regards to creating that backspin and being able to drop it and, obviously, not having it roll forward? (Josh Tolentino)
MICHAEL CLAY: Yeah, I mean, shoot, I’m not a punter either. But with him, I mean, it’s just working at it. And it’s no different than anybody — you know, a free throw shooter, I’m sure Steph Curry goes through all of his stuff to be a 90-plus percent free throw shooter. No different than a golfer.
They just keep going and going and we just work these things, from his field punts to his rugby punts, sometimes the wind changes, how low and high he drops it.
They’re so intricate in what they do, it’s such a specialized skill, you can’t really pinpoint, ‘Hey, he’s hitting the ball like this, dropping it like that.’ It’s just a natural feel for him.
And kudos to him, he’s done a heck of a job in the plus-50 area, helping our defense out and give a long field. So, hoping we can keep that up.
But once again, it takes all 10. Eight to protect, the two gunners to go down there and make a play. As you can see, AC [Andre Chachere] and Zech [McPhearson]. And it takes Arryn to give us the right hang time and placement to get down there.
Q. Before, nobody ever talks about the long snapper. When they do, it’s because they did something bad. What’s it like to have that comfort level, to have that consistency? (John McMullen)
MICHAEL CLAY: It’s great. I have a soft spot in my heart for long snappers. I did it as a freshman in college. So being able to see these guys do it so well — I mean, you see these guys, it’s a very — you got to be perfect as a long snapper.
And he takes pride in what he does. I mean, his short snaps to his long snaps, to getting in protection, and getting in on some tackles. I mean, he takes pride in it.
And we joke around with Rick [Lovato]. We have some nicknames for Rick. But when he comes on Sunday, or Monday, or Thursday night, Saturday night, he comes ready to play and he’s one of those really good long snappers and doing his job really well.
Q. Can you give us some of the nicknames? (John McMullen)
MICHAEL CLAY: Oh, on Sunday, we call him Cleaner Rick. He just cleans it up. He does everything right. And he just gets it done. So Cleaner Rick on Sundays.
Q. How did you do as a long snapper? (Mike Kaye)
MICHAEL CLAY: Just like Rick does, he doesn’t get talked about, so I must be doing something right. Luckily for me, they brought in an actual long snapper, and I went back to my playing days at linebacker. But I actually liked it.
In college, you don’t get touched. You kind of run down free. So, it’s nice not to get a 6’5, 290-pound guy beating you up. In college, you’re kind of just running free, which is kind of nice.