Can you talk about what your brother is going through in New York and how you feel for him?
"We both have our own things going. Rex is a great football coach. He's been doing the best job he can out there in New York. As a head coach he went to two AFC Championships in a row. This is football. It's a production business. It's all about winning. He's doing everything he can to get his team going. I'm doing everything I can to help this defense."
Do you still talk to him a lot?
"I talk to him all the time. We're friends, believe me. We're as tight as brothers can be. I know there are some tight brothers. We're the tightest brothers there are. Maybe the Barbers are tighter (laughter)."
You just don't talk as much during the season?
"This is our passion. Really he's working the same hours I am. You really don't have much time, maybe a quick call or a quick text. Both of us are each other's biggest fans."
Are the two of you different in any way?
"I think everybody is different. I do not know what the differences are. He's his own man and I'm my own man. I know I'm a big family man. I'm sure he is too. We laugh the same. We talk the same and we both like coaching football."
He hasn't been able to talk you into cutting your hair more?
"No, he has to deal with Kristen (Laughter) and he can't do that, so she's tougher than both of us. I've had long hair for a long time. What you see is what you get."
A lot was talked about yours and Sean Payton's relationship over the last week. How do you characterize it?
"I do not admire many people outside of my own family, but Sean is at the top of the list. People do not know Sean. This guy is a great father. He is a great man. He's genuine. He is the easiest guy in the world to work for because he is good people. They see us talking on the sidelines. Give it a break. I am sure your boss has ripped the crap out of you before (laughter) and should have. I was in the wrong here (on Sunday). We had 12 guys on the field. The two best football coaches in the league right now are Sean and Bill Belichick. I've been fortunate enough to work for both and both of them have ripped my ass on the sidelines, in fact Belichick popped my earphone from my head (set) one time. I felt like filing a suit (laughter) but I didn't."
How about behind the scenes with the frustrations of not having as much success this year?
"That is us. This is a win business. My goal is to hang some of these banners up here. I want mine (team he is a part of) up there. If it is not, hey I know how this business is, whatever happens. I have been on a lot of different teams and that's because if you don't hang banners, you get fired. That is how it is. But I love Sean Payton. I cannot speak for him about me. He probably likes me too (laughter). But I love him. I respect the hell out of him. He is great people and you deal with him every day. You know how he is. He is fiery. He's a pilot. The gunnery guys in the back are saying, what did you say?"
I talked to defensive players yesterday and asked them who got on them the most, but none of them said you. They say he'll tell you what he wants but he's never on you. One guy went back to his middle school coach. Where did you decide you aren't going to chew out players during a game?
"Trust me, if they need to get chewed out, they are going to get chewed out. I understand they're doing their best, but trust me, I correct them. It's not like I'm one of these nice guys and that's all I do. I'm as intense as whoever it is. I may approach people differently because I am different. I am not going to pick a fight with somebody unless they have it coming to them on the streets and that's the way it is. It does not mean I won't fight. But I enjoy what I am doing. The best thing about football, the best thing about coaching football is the guys you work with every day. It is not like being a dad with your kids, because thank God I have a great wife, I am trying my best. Here you are dealing with these alpha males and it is easy to deal with them. It is easy to deal with these guys. We are all in it to win. Everybody wants to do well and have their name up there (Super Bowl banner) and you have to earn that. They do not give that away. We have to earn them and that's what we do. There are times when things get heated of course."
Kenny Vaccaro said a coach at Texas told him he was a waste of ice and tape. Is a phrase like that common around the league?
"That sounds pretty original. But if a coach was telling that to Kenny Vaccaro he probably wasn't worth the clipboard he was holding (laughter)."
Zach Strief said he's heard a lot of yours and Sean Payton's sideline conversations and a lot of the time it's just you guys talking loud to each other. Even though it looks like you are angry because people can't read lips all the time?
"I get upset at myself because I've been in this business a long time. When you have 12 men on the field it's hard to point the finger at anyone but yourself. You know what it is. It is disgusting and there are other times. The game should be in slow motion. When you work hard and prepare hard and give it everything you have, if you're good at what you do, the thing should be in slow motion and if you limit the mistakes you make. It doesn't mean I don't make them, because when it do, it's pretty obvious when I make them. You guys have pointed it out pretty eloquently (laughter). The main thing is we're all in this together and we're doing the best we can. I know we can be better. I know this team can be better, especially on defense. We just need to be a tiny part of our success."
Were you happy with the week of preparation last week?
"Absolutely, we did some good things and that was a hell of an offense. This is our division and this is the biggest game of the year for us. This is it and we know it's going to be a big challenge for us and we're excited about the challenge."
Is there teaching on those last two drives the Steelers made?
"There is a ton of teaching there. We have to tackle better. You have to play the clock better. You cannot play fouls in two minutes. Those are things that can absolutely destroy you in a regular situation. The bottom line is that we had more points than them when time ran out, but absolutely. We coached that. We talked about that. You can't have penalties in those situations and the missed tackles. Even if you run them out of bounds, the game's in your favor and the game's over. It's unfortunate. We had both. We had penalties to stop the clock and we had missed tackles. It's not the way you want to finish, but I know it's a well-deserved win and we did deserve that win."
Patrick Robinson played his best game of the year and got his hand on a number of balls and Keenan Lewis even joked that he's starting to see more attention his way because Patrick's playing well. Can you talk about the progression you've seen from Patrick?
"He's been better and better each week. I think his confidence is growing. This is an exceptional athlete and he's an exceptional person, so he wants to do great. Now it's starting to come to him. You can see his growth as a football player this season. He's really made it. He battled those injuries and got through those and now he's really starting to get on the rise at the right time. We need to have him playing great at this time of the year and he is."
Sean Payton said you could work for Bill Parcells as an assistant with your demeanor. Do you take that as a compliment?
"Absolutely I could, because remember, I have worked for Bill Belichick, I have worked for Sean Payton and I have worked for the great Al Davis. Trust me, I can handle intense people. I love being around them. I love being around those guys. My father too, he is not any cupcake. So, I love toughness. I do. I love toughness. I may not look tough, but I love toughness and I am tough. I know it. When me and my twin brother were blowing off school and (managing) two paper routes a day, we would go about once a month for three years. Our reading took a beating so did our public speaking obviously, but I know one thing. We worked harder than anybody. We started at a young age. We loved the team aspect of football. It is the best. I'm sure you have extra writers on your staff and you are tight, but football is the greatest fraternity there. It's the greatest life there is. Without this, I don't know what I'd do. I'd be driving Kristen crazy. But this is it. This is the ultimate and that's what brothers are about."
What about the candy store in your office that Sean talks about?
"There are quite a few selections up there. When Winn-Dixie is out of the celery and carrots, we buy candy instead (laughter). We've got about everything up there including the latest edition of the pretzel rods, which have been outstanding."
You always eat healthy first?
"Yes, very healthy, no question."
How was your dad with players and coaches?
"When he grew up he was fighting in the Korean War leading men into battle at 19, 20 years old, so he is a little tougher than me. When I saw him, when I got into pro football, I'd seen nothing like it. He's Buddy Ryan, I'm Rob Ryan. There's a big difference between the two. The things he would say to people are unbelievable. Now, I thought he told just me and Rex that stuff, but he told everybody that. He is his own man. The one thing he taught me and my brothers is to be your own man, be yourself."
Are you a sensitive guy?
I am sensitive. Honest to God, I am a sensitive guy and there's no question about it. If I get forced to watch Lifetime or something like that, my wife will be bawling, she won't be the only one."
What was your first Newman parents club meeting like?
"I don't know what that's about but I'm at all the Newman games and unfortunately they took a tumble last week."
Newman has an uppity reputation?
"I love that school. It was voted the number one school in the state, so way to go Newman. I'm not sure what they think of me."
New Orleans Saints Special Teams Coordinator Greg McMahon
Post-Practice Media Availability
Friday, December 5, 2014
Can you talk about sideline confrontation between coaches?
"I can honestly say this, in 31 years of coaching, this is the easiest. This is pro football. This is the NFL. You get three hours a week to prove that what you did all week counts. There's always going to be a heightened sense of urgency. Sean Payton is the best football coach I've ever worked with and he's the best person. I have known him for a long time and that's just the heat of the battle. To me honestly it is almost comical. That is just me. I don't look anything into it. In those three hours we have to get it done and there are no do overs in the National Football League. What we do counts. I see nothing from it but that is just me."
What is the worst a coach has ever said to you or you have said to a player?
"I am the first one to say it, if I made a mistake when I tell somebody something I would but I am not above apologizing to players and stuff. What we tell guys is look; we are not attacking you we are attacking what's going on. It is not a personal thing, it really isn't. We have got to get this right and we don't have time to coach it off the film tomorrow. It has to get right. There are times where maybe how you say it because it certainly I've never talked to my wife like that. That I promise you or I would get a kick in the butt. But yeah there are times on the sideline maybe you say it a little differently but guys know. I know Sean Payton. I know his heart. I know what kind of man he is. I love the guy. In the heat of the battle there's times I probably said to my own children I would like to take back but there's no do overs in that either. That is just how I feel."
Are kickers extra sensitive?
"No, I do not know, not our guys. Heck, (Thomas) Morstead he is a competitor, so not really, not if you get the right ones. If you get the (John) Kasay's, the (John) Carney's, the (Shayne) Graham's, the (Garrett) Hartley's and the Morstead's and those guys, they're men. They deal with stuff in a good way, so not really. I'm not trying to blow it off either, I'm just shocked I have to stand up here and talk about it."
Are you happy with the adjustment Jalen Saunders has made at punt returner?
"Yes and hey look and certainly all the guys, I know a lot of the local people (question the punt return game), hey look, that is pro football. All of a sudden week 14 so and so comes in. It happens all over our league. Jalen (Saunders) has done a nice job and we liked him coming out of Oklahoma. We just have to get him an opportunity to get the ball. The last two games we have had four returns and not one of the four were really a returnable ball. We really like that guy and we are really excited to get him."
What disappoints you with the return game this year?
"I am always the cup full guy so the thing I am excited about is I think we have covered at a high level both punt and kickoff. Kickoff returns have changed. You get so many limited reps. Shayne's (Graham) done well kicking field goals and the one thing we have to do better is get more production with our punt return game and we will. It's one guy here or one block there and all of a sudden bam it busts and all of a sudden you get on a Monday night game and Reggie Bush runs back two and all of a sudden maybe a third so it happens. I believe in my heart of hearts that it will, no different than the Arizona playoff game all of a sudden bam it hits and all is going good. I am not sloughing it off either. We have got to be productive there is no question."
Are punters getting so good that that is getting limited more and more?
"Yeah but look, returners are becoming better too so it is all relative. But yeah these punters now they certainly are pros. You are going to run out of a tight window. They are going to directional punt that ball so you are going to have to make sure that you can execute in close proximity to the sideline but everybody has that. Those punters have definitely improved."
How difficult is it to block a punt in the NFL? Is it something you would actively tell your players to attempt to do?
"That's a good question because what's amazing is when you look at all the blocked punts, in the offseason we will pull out all of the 2014 blocked punts. More punts are blocked in the NFL. It's not just the eight man rush, schemed it, it is a wing being lazy in protection. There's one guy rushing and he is forcing in and all of a sudden he gets beat on in up and under or a guard gets lazy and they flash and so it's one guy rushing, a guy gets undisciplined and a punt gets blocked. It's almost two thirds of the punts blocked every year are single isolation rushed and it's really a lack of discipline but the punt team more than an overall scheme. But you're certainly always going to scheme that. You're going to send eight, nine, 10 guys at one time. But it's hard to block them in this league. Everything's hard in this league. It is."
What did you see out of the two blocked punts last week that Carolina had?
"When you do this long enough I think they had a mental breakdown on the first one and I think they got beat on a technique rush on the second one. Back to back certainly doesn't happen very often. They are extremely well-coached. We will get their best shot without a doubt."