Q. Tell us what your extra time was about. Was it self-scouting? Did you start on the Raiders early? (John McMullen)
MICHAEL CLAY: We came in Friday. We graded the film. The best thing about special teams is you always kind of self-evaluate every week really because you don’t want to give out any tendencies that might get you. The self-evaluation kind of happens throughout the season, but for myself, just more getting away, just rethinking kind of not about football. I was able to go walk nine, which was nice, by myself, a little AirPod, just kind of thinking. Once again, it’s one of those things where we put so much time and effort to it, it’s great for the coaches out here, they get to see their kids, play a couple games, and I think everyone just kind of relaxes just a hair and they get ready for the next seven weeks. We’ve got five of seven on the road. It’s a good time for a lot of people to go see their families knowing they’re going to be on the road, and for others that don’t have significant others or kids just kind of time to get away and recharge a little bit, which was nice.
Q. What did you shoot? (Jeff McLane)
MICHAEL CLAY: I walked nine and I shot 42, so I was actually pretty happy with it. I think it’ll start going down a lot more the next couple months.
Q. When you look at the Raiders, Raiders interim head coach/special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, obviously the circumstances aren’t what you look for, but does it make you happy when you see a special teams coordinator get a chance to be a head coach? (Zach Berman)
MICHAEL CLAY: Yeah, regardless of the special teams coordinator, D-coordinator, assistant, especially with Rich, he’s put so much time into coaching in that profession. You love seeing guys that put in so many years and get a shot at being a head coach, and obviously last week against Denver they came out firing and they did a heck of a job. My first couple years here working with [former Eagles and current Lions special teams coordinator] Dave Fipp, Rich was in Dallas so getting to know him a little bit there and have great respect for him. He’s always had a very good special teams unit and he’s doing a phenomenal job this year with their special teams unit and they have a good assistant in [Raiders assistant special teams coach] Byron [Storer] out there. It’s always nice seeing peers that have put in so much time get an opportunity to be a head coach. I think if you asked most people when they get in this profession, what’s the end goal, that would be a head coach at any level, whether it’s high school, college or in the NFL, so it’s awesome to see Rich get that opportunity.
Q. A lot of times we hear that the special teams coordinators have to deal with kind of everyone, and that’s the reason that he’s in this position and some special teams coordinators go in that position. Do you view it the same way, that you get a chance to talk to everyone on the team instead of just one side of the ball? (Dave Zangaro)
MICHAEL CLAY: I think that’s the beauty of special teams, why we get into this special teams, at least on special teams, you get to work with everyone. You work with linemen to quarterbacks to D-linemen. You get to know everyone. You get to just kind of hang out with everyone, which is awesome, contrary to maybe if you’re a linebacker coach you stick with the defense, you may rarely talk to someone else on the other side of the ball.
But in terms of all that, I think as a team you try to know everyone, especially here. As [Eagles head coach] Nick [Sirianni] says, you try to connect with everyone, and I think that’s what he’s done a good job of, but for special teams it almost comes naturally because you have so many people you have to get ready to play, whether it’s field goal, field goal, block, punt return, punt. You get to work with everyone, and it’s really cool to have the opportunity to work with so many different personalities and get to know so many different people that you may see down the road in three to four years or something like that.
Q. What areas would you like to see improve the most moving forward? (Reuben Frank)
MICHAEL CLAY: In terms for us, I’d like to improve in everything. Just to be more consistent in everything. We’ve had our highs in almost every aspect, and we’ve had our lows in almost every aspect, but that’s how it’s going to be. If everything was on a high, everybody would be joining to be a special teams coordinator. But I think just the whole growth process in both the return phase, we’d love to get [WR] Jalen [Reagor] going a little bit, he got a little taste of it in Carolina, and we tried to. Unfortunately, we had a penalty that negated a 34-yard net. We still want to be very good at not committing penalties, and I think the guys have done a really good job with that. As the weather shifts, our coverage phases are really going to have to take over. The ball is not going to travel out, there’s not going to be a lot of touchbacks. But for the most part, the first six weeks or the first third of the season, I think I’m really proud of how the guys have been competing and effort-wise, but with the ebbs and flows of the season, our return game I would like to get better and keep our coverage game going, and that’s going to be a full effort from the players to myself to Joe P [Eagles assistant special teams coordinator Joe Pannunzio] and [Eagles special teams quality control coach] Tyler Brown.
Q. What happened on K Jake Elliott’s miss? (Jeff McLane)
MICHAEL CLAY: It was one of those things where his plant leg was just down the field and he just pushed it right right there. Nothing operational-wise, and you ask Jake, he’d be fuming he just missed the kick. There’s nothing to sugar coat it, he just missed it, which we can’t do, especially under 49 yards. We love that that’s our money range right there. We’ve got to have those. But if you asked him, he’d be pretty pissed about it. Just like everything else, the world never ended on Thursday, so we’ll come back tomorrow and get going with it.
Q. He’s missed two kicks now in the 40s this year. Similarities in the misses or –? (Dave Zangaro)
MICHAEL CLAY: Well, the first one, [49ers DT Javon] Kinlaw blocked it with that one, and this one he hit it pretty good, and he just had his plant foot down the field too much, and it just tailed right on him at the end. What Jake has been doing throughout the season, I mean, a couple weeks ago the 56-yarder, it was awesome, and it helped the team. Jake is in a good spot right now. He’s pumped to get back out there and kick. There’s nothing really to be worried about or anything like that. Just like everybody else in the league, it’s tough to go 100 percent with all the opportunities, but we’re going to try and keep that percentage high with Jake and his mindset has been outstanding so far.
Q. Is CB Tay Gowan someone who has potential on special teams, too? (Josh Tolentino)
MICHAEL CLAY: Yeah, I look at everybody on the team that has potential. It’s all what you can get out of the guys. I know Tay can run, I do know that, out of UCF. So, it’s exciting to get somebody that can run because you can only teach so much. You can’t teach speed. That’s one of those given abilities. Anybody that comes in we’re going to take under our wing and try to get the most out of them, and regardless of what their physical attributes are, we’re going to treat them the same, with the utmost respect, and see what we can get out of them.
Q. Do you want to stick with WR Jalen Reagor on kick returns or is that still week-to-week type of thing? (John McMullen)
MICHAEL CLAY: Yeah, that’s still week to week. Jalen has been awesome with it. He’s made some great decisions. We knew going into the Tampa Bay with [Buccaneers P] Bradley [Pinion] we were going to get a lot of touchbacks. After that Carolina miscue, he’s been great about it. Like I said, before halftime we talked about it. He was very apologetic, and he understands it. He knows if you get the ball at the 25 you’re basically one 1st down away from being able to pin a team deep. So, Jalen has been outstanding, [WR] Quez [Watkins] has been outstanding, so it’s still very week to week how people go along.
Q. Back to the Panthers game, there was the penalty on the extra point that gave you guys a short kickoff. Do you consider kicking that one short to try to pin them back instead of booting it through the end zone? (Bo Wulf)
MICHAEL CLAY: You know, at the 40 it’s a little bit different than the 50, especially how the defense was playing that game. You always want to go with the flow of the defense. If your defense may be struggling a little bit, yeah, you’d love to give them a long field, but they were doing an outstanding job. At that point was it a topic of conversation, yes, but we don’t want to do anything that’s out of the ordinary. It’s at the 40-yard line, just kick it out the back, let our defense do what they had to do, and it worked out for us.
Q. New stadium this weekend. Is there any sort of protocol that you have for guys to get familiar with the stadium, catching the ball, getting comfortable in a situation, or have you heard anything about the stadium that makes it an unusual light or anything like that? (Dave Spadaro)
MICHAEL CLAY: No, I haven’t heard anything about it. I know it’s grass, so when you go to a dome you think it’s going to be turf. I’d probably correlate it to probably Arizona, just make sure the cleats are all right, knowing that it’s not turf, that it is grass. But I’m excited. A lot of these guys and myself haven’t been in that stadium, so I’m looking forward to it. I’ve heard nothing but great things about it. Just being able to go down to Vegas and hopefully put our best foot forward with our group and get a win.
Q. Since the end of the Tampa Bay game has there been an emphasis on the assistant coaches from above on the taunting and personnel foul penalties that they’re calling pretty heavily? (Geoff Mosher)
MICHAEL CLAY: It’s been a topic of conversation since they implemented it during training camp and everything like that, so it’s not something we don’t talk about. Once again, it falls into the category of penalties. We’ve just got to get better and better at not committing penalties. We don’t want to put us in bad situations or put the team in a bad situation. There’s nothing like a super high emphasis, it just falls in the category of penalties which we want to cut down on because it’s going to help us in the long run here.