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Thomas McGaughey never considered not coaching this season

McGaughey also talked about his relationship with Joe Judge and evaluating players without preseason games

Thomas McGaughey
Matthew Swensen/

New York Giants special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey spoke to the media on Tuesday afternoon. Here are the biggest takeaways from his session.

No doubt about coaching this season

About two years ago, McGaughey was diagnosed with periampullary cancer. He underwent several rounds of chemotherapy and is now in remission.

Despite his health history, McGaughey never considered opting out of the 2020 football season even with the added concerns of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“I did my best to be in the best shape I can and put the best things in my body so I’m not really concerned about it,” McGaughey said. “Just excited to be back and be around the guys and trying to take that next step to be better every day. To me, that’s most important. I’m not really worried about the health part. I just need to take care of myself.”

McGaughey said that he takes extra precautions by trying to limit his exposure as much as possible, spending the majority of his time between work or home.

A “perfect marriage”

Head coach Joe Judge obviously brings special teams experience to the Giants as he served as the special team assistant/coordinator of the New England Patriots for eight years.

Yet, McGaughey stressed that no one is stepping on any toes, instead calling his relationship with Judge a “perfect marriage.”

“Joe is a football coach,” McGaughey said. “Make no mistake about that. He is not just a special teams coach, he is a football coach. He coaches it all. That’s the thing I enjoy about watching him work.”

McGaughey described the conversations between the two as easy, straightforward and focused on the best thing for the team.

“It’s been very enlightening and he has been outstanding,” McGaughey said. “I just look forward to getting the season going and watching him grow as a new head coach and seeing how far he can take us. Joe has a ton of experience and success in the league and we just sit down and come up with things that are good for the unit and just implement them. It’s a really good situation.”

The challenge of no preseason games

While the prospect of no preseason games is overwhelmingly positive for fans and players, it does introduce a challenging task for coaches trying to determine where players are best suited on the field.

For McGaughey especially, the evaluation of returners is more difficult without the speed of game-time action. He said that the team is going to do simulations in practice, including catching the ball and making returns in an attempt to make the best out of the situation.

“It’s hard because these young guys, normally they get the speed of the game so they get a little taste of it,” McGaughey said. “This year’s going to be hard for them to get that experience because you don’t have that game-like intensity. We have to do a good job of trying to simulate that in practice so that we can evaluate our guys.”

Without preseason games, McGaughey said that he will be relaying more heavily on the college tape of young players in order to gain insight.

“We’re going to have to lean heavily on college tape, but we all know there is a transition between college and the pros,” McGaughey said. “It’s going to be a difficult situation for all of us as evaluators to be able to make sure that we are making the right decision. But everyone in the league is in this same situation.”

What Chandler Catanzaro offers

With the release of kicker Aldrick Rosas this offseason, the Giants signed veteran kicker Chandler Catanzaro on August 1. The Giants brought Catanzaro out of retirement. The 29-year old brings five years of experience and last played in the league in 2018. He has kicked for the Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers.

“Chandler is a guy who is a veteran kicker in this league,” McGaughey said. “He’s performed at a high level before. We’re just hoping to get him back to that level. He’s a hard worker, very conscientious. Hopefully we can get him rolling and get him up to par.”

McGaughey said that Catanzaro experience kicking for the Jets is an added bonus.

“You always want to have somebody who has experience kicking in the northeast,” McGaughey said. “That was huge. So obviously getting Chandler who has kicked in this exact stadium was a benefit.”