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Thomas McGaughey talked Ravens special teams, Jarryd Hayne development

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The San Francisco 49ers special teams coach met with the media Wednesday. He discussed the Ravens special teams, the lack of kick returns with the kickoff moved up, and Jarryd Hayne's development. We've got a full transcript. You can also listen to audio here, and view video here.

You're facing a team on Sunday that's had some continuity at the kicker and punter spot. What does that tell you? How does that make it different for you to prepare or easier?

"Obviously, they've got a larger body of work. But, they are very good. They're very good at what they do. [Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh] Harbs and [Baltimore Ravens special teams coordinator/associate head coach] Jerry Rosburg, obviously between those two, there's a ton of special teams experience. In order to have great special teams, you've got to have great specialist and they've done a good job of going out and getting really good specialist. [Baltimore Ravens P] Sam Koch's a veteran guy, he's been around a long time, very good directional punter. And, obviously [Baltimore Ravens K] Justin Tucker is as talented as they get. [Baltimore Ravens LS] Morgan Cox is a veteran long snapper, he's been around. Their return game, they've got [Baltimore Ravens WR/RS] Jeremy Ross that's back there now, who's been in this league and has made some plays in this league. So, they have some guys and obviously, they're always, they're roster, [Baltimore Ravens general manager and executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] does a great job over there of stocking their roster with good players. So, they do a really good job."

With having a guy sign with an upcoming opponent who played here like Baltimore Ravens CB Shareece Wright, a lot of people focus on defense but are you aware of, does he know the special teams calls and are there adjustments that you have to make in that regard if he's out there in the third phase?

"Yeah, he's going know a lot of the stuff because he's been here all season. A lot of our calls come from the line, I mean come the sideline. So, unless he's standing over there with us he's probably not going to get a whole lot of it. We have some checks that we'll make during the course of a game and if he just happens to be out there then he might have some familiarity with it. But, the units that he's normally a part of is probably not going to be an issue."

Just in general, do you have to change those on-field checks when you play a division team for a second time or how often do you make those changes?

"Just change the way you communicate it as far as between you and the player. I won't go into specifics, but it will just change up a little bit."

The way there's so many touchbacks in the NFL now, how does that just impact you guys? You want to get a good kickoff return, but it's almost impossible nowadays.

"It's frustrating."

Yeah, right?

"Yeah it is. It's frustrating, but that's our game. That's the way they want it and that's just kind of the way it is now. Especially when you play out West, because I've coached on the East Coast a long time, but when you play out West it's even more. You don't get very many opportunities because it's warm weather and the ball flies. But, the Northeast you get more kicks. It's a little windier, a little colder, so the ball doesn't fly as far. But, out West it's definitely minimal opportunities."

It's obviously as the season goes on?

"Yeah, absolutely. I mean, even out here it's still the weather doesn't change. Arizona is inside for us, and then we go to St. Louis, its inside. Seattle might be a little cool, but it's still not 30, it's not 20. It might be a little rain and 50 or 60 or whatever it is. But, then here it's always warm for the most part."

How do you approach that then as a coach to keep them ready for those situations where it's not going to be perfect because it can happen any time?

"Yeah, you've just got to constantly coach it. You've always got to talk about it. I talk about it with our kickoff team all the time, because we have a guy that can hit the ball out of the back of the end zone. He has a really strong leg and I always preach to them constantly, we're full speed down the field. And, it's kind of one of those deals that you've just got to constantly coach."

A few weeks ago, actually two weeks ago, WR Bruce Ellington was like nine-yards deep in the end zone and brought one back. I think you said in the preseason if you can bring it back, bring it. Is that similar in the regular season? Is there a philosophy?

"It depends. It depends on the situation. Hang time definitely makes it a difference. Sometimes during the course of the game, trying to make a play you might, just depends on the flow of the game, we might try and bring one out. But, normally rule of thumb, if it's deeper than eight with good hang time you don't want to bring it out."

In RB Jarryd Hayne's former professional athletic life, he was out there all the time. Do you have to talk to him about kind of managing his opportunities? I imagine the first thing he doesn't want to do is stick his hand up in the air for a fair catch. So, do you have to make sure that he's thinking clearly and the decision making is point on?

"We talk to all of the returners in that fashion. We want to make sure that we let the plays come to us, we don't chase them. When you start chasing plays you make mistakes. And, I think that's something that all those guys, including Jarryd, has to manage. You've got to pick your spots and then once your spot's there you've got to make it happen."

And on Sunday night he had basically one chance and he made a pretty good catch towards the sideline. What was your evaluation on that play and did he handle that correctly?

"Yeah, I think he did a good job. He caught the ball and set it and got vertical. So, when those situations come you've just got to take advantage of them. They don't come very often nowadays with the kickoff returns and the kickoffs being the way they are. So, in the return game these punters are really good. [New York Giants P] Brad Wing stuck one a yard from the sideline. He made a good catch, he made the long snapper miss and got up the field."

Do you think it's just a matter of time with him before he's able to take one to the house?

"Yeah. I mean, he's just got to get comfortable. This is his fifth game ever playing football in his life and I think sometimes we lose track of that. We see what we saw in the preseason and preseason and regular season are totally different things. But, to be in only the fifth game ever in life in regular season anyway is just a little different, it's a lot different."

How much more comfortable would you assess he is now compared to where he was Week 1?

"I think each week he's getting comfortable. I think every rep he gets in practice and the games, I think he's getting more and more comfortable. He's starting to understand the game a little bit more offense and special teams-wise. He's getting better every week in the coverage units. So, he just needs to keep going in that direction."

Are there things that you've seen behind the scenes, off the field that would indicate to you that, I mean he's coming from a different continent, are there other things that show you that he's becoming more comfortable here in the NFL?

"Oh, absolutely yeah, just watching him in practice every day. You can just see him starting to get a little more confidence and playing a little faster. But, again, it's going to take a little time, but eventually he's going to get to where he wants to be."

It's 12 months to the day since he announced to Australia that he was quitting Rugby League. If you had to project forward 12 months, what could he be in that time? What type of role could he have on the team?

"That's a really good question. It's up to Jarryd. How much time is he willing to put in as far as studying the game? And, just the maturation process, who knows this year? Next year, I mean, he might be leading the league in punt returns. Who knows? He has that kind of ability to get those big averages because he's a big straight ahead, strong runner. And, he does a good job making people miss in space. So, I mean, he has the ability to be a very good punt returner."

Do you have a number that you consider a good return average for a punt returner?

"I think anything over 12-yards is really good on average. I think he's right at around 10 or something like that right now. I mean, he's, just to be able to flip the field and make a game-changing play, that's kind of what you like at that spot. But, he's very, very consistent once he gets his hands on the ball and gets vertical. He can make some plays."