It wasn't too long ago that special teams coach Tom Quinn had his section of the team running like a top. Things have changed rapidly over the past year there, too.
The usually reliable punter, Steve Weatherford, is not kicking smartly. As a result, the team has surrendered two long returns for TDs in the first four games. Quinn is also finding out that his new placekicker, Josh Brown, is no Lawrence Tynes when it comes to automatic attempts inside the 40.
The effort on special teams has been subpar thus far and Quinn hopes that players such as Will Hill and Damontre Moore can add some playmaking ability to the suddenly floundering units. He spoke with reporters yesterday.
Q: With Steve Weatherford, do you just want to encourage pinning them to the sidelines a little bit more?A: Well, we always want to try and encourage pinning them to the sidelines. That’s what we try to do with our punt game. He’s getting better. He showed it better in practice. He just has to do it in a game.
Q: And Josh Brown, do you think he was just off line on his last couple of misses?A: His head came up. You see how he followed through. He wasn’t getting through it. He just has to trust himself to get through it.
Q: Is that a fixable thing?A: Keeping your head down? Yeah. It all starts with how he starts. If he just stays in line with everything and keeps his head down and follows through, he’ll be able to make that.
Q: Are you at the point where you can tell in the windup whether or not it’s going in?A: When he starts, no. You have to see it on tape. You can slow down the tape and see where he makes mistakes, but not from the naked eye.
Q: When it’s a veteran like that, are you less worried about the mental and more focused on the physical because it is a veteran, a guy who has done it?A: He’s done it. He’s been in and out of slumps, I’m sure. We’re all professionals and he’s got to get himself out of it and just trust that everything is going to be right on line so he can just keep his head down.
Q: I guess that’s my point. I wouldn’t say it’s easier, but the fact that you can find something physical…A: You can always find something physical. These guys do these skills so often, sometimes they can fall into some things that they don’t realize they’re falling into, some bad habits. You try to point those out on tape if you see them. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes it’s just a matter of keeping your head down, sometimes the plant foot is too tight or too wide. Why is that? You go back and look at how he started and how he comes through the ball. They all see that, too. They’ve seen themselves kick more than I’ve seen them and they know what their issues are and what they need to do to correct it.
Q: Did you think there might have been some blocks in the back on that return?A: It doesn’t matter. You have to get down there and cover it. We can play with great leverage, number one. We know we had a couple of guys lose containment on the ball, which is a cardinal sin. We had three guys that didn’t get off hold ups. Against very good returners, you can’t make mistakes. We have to do a better job with that.