Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer Spoke to the Media

Opening statement:

“Coming off of a great obviously team win last Sunday against Minnesota. They were a lot better than their record shows, a good football team. They played hard. Their special teams played hard. I thought they covered punts really well. I thought we covered well. Obviously, the two big field goals by (K) Chase (McLaughlin) were huge in that game. We have to get (P) Jamie (Gillan) started up a little bit quicker. He had that first punt that was not very good, and after that, the second half, we punted six times, and four of those, we pinned them inside the 20 so that is what we have to do. When your defense is playing that well, we can help them out by giving them great field position pretty much every drive in the second half. That is really going to help our football team. That is kind of what our message has been to our guys. Jamie has to start quicker, and we have to go from there.”

On if Gillan mis-hit the first punt:

“Yeah, his technique, it was like he was rushing for some reason and going too fast. We always talk about being quick and smooth as a holder and as a punter. He was quick, but he was not very smooth on that. That has been kind of our focus this week of getting back to not slowing him down per se because you do not want to be too slow with your get off, but you want to go ahead and be more smooth. That is what we have been working on.”

On if he has been happy with Gillan’s performance this year, outside of the mis-hit last week:

“He had the one mis-hit against Houston that worked out in our favor and set up a touchdown obviously. Chicago, I think the first one was a mis-hit and he only had one other one. He had six second half punts. We only had five punts in three games, and we had seven in that game, six coming in the second half. That was going to be a field position battle in that second half, and I thought he came through for us.”

On McLaughlin’s ability to make long FGs and if the team re-evaluates when to kick or go for it on fourth down:

“I think (Head) Coach (Kevin Stefanski) has probably already told you it is going to be by situation. He felt going into that game it might have been a higher scoring game, which is why I think he went on fourth down. He is an aggressive guy that way, and it has worked out in our favor for most of the time the last couple years. I do not think that changes. It is going to be a situational thing with Coach. When asked upon, Chase is supposed go out there and do his thing, and so far, so good.”

On the punt in the Chargers-Raiders game where a gunner was left uncovered but Raiders WR Hunter Renfrow broke up the intended pass:

“I think the Raiders only had 10 on the field. I think it was a defense stay look, and they forgot to put their right corner out there. I told our guys and I showed that play this morning, I said, ‘That is not going to happen to us.’ They might run that fake, which we will be ready for. This coach, his pedigree and his background has been fakes. Different formations that we have to cover with our punt return and our defense stay. Different fakes that we have to go over. We go back three to four years looking at Arizona, and he was in Denver and Chicago and some of the fakes that they run in different places. Our antennas will be up for all that sort of thing, but I think that was a mistake on their part. I think if you are going to leave the gunner uncovered, it will be more of a rush look and end of game type situation, hoping to bring them down into a tight punt situation where we can pin them inside and hopefully get a good return or rush out of that.”

On if Gillan would potentially option to a fake and throw if he saw an uncovered gunner:

“Yeah, he is going to throw it like this [imitates rugby toss] – he will not throw it over hand; he will throw it his rugby style (laughter).”

On if the Chargers special teams coach was yelling and jumping at the yard marker on the play in the Raiders game:

“Yeah, it was (Chargers special teams coordinator) Coach (Derius) Swinton (II). He was pretty fired up. What a great play by the returner Renfrow. Wow. Just to see it and I saw the TV copy of it, he just snuffed it out. It was a great play by him. It was a big play.”

On the pregame process with McLaughlin and the FG team as it relates to range:

“Outdoors is different. Indoors, we have a good idea. This one is kind of a quasi-indoor type stadium. They had a weather delay the other day. It kind of freaked me out – I thought it was an indoor stadium – apparently because I have never been there. The flags do move a little bit. It is his pregame. It is how he is hitting the ball and his confidence level, which is normally high. That is going to apply more in our stadium and other outdoor venues where you need to figure out, ‘Hey, what are the winds doing? What is our best bet here? Is the line of scrimmage the 35? Is the line of scrimmage 30? Is the line of scrimmage 40?’ I have told Coach before the Chicago game that he had a 61-yarder in the direction he hit the 57-yarder, which is why Coach went with the field goal there. Last week, any time you are indoors, the 35-yard line is probably a good gage. That is a 53-yarder, and from there, it is kind of a situational type kick.”

On if there is extra challenge playing in a new venue like SoFi Stadium:

“I will have these guys watch punters, kickers and other specialists and what they have done there. It could be younger kickers or older kickers – it really does not matter – just to kind of get a feel for what the stadium is going to look like. These guys like to go out and we all go on that first bus so we are there three hours before the game. You walk out there and you kind of check it out. It is kind of like a Hoosiers moment, right? When they go out of their fieldhouse – this is one of my favorite scenes – but football is football. The winds will not be much of a factor. We will go out there and kind of check out the stadium first and go from there. It is kind of like the Minnesota stadium. Not a lot of guys have been in that one. It is a gorgeous stadium. Like I said last week, it is a cool venue.”

On if he will be on the SoFi Stadium field with a tape measurer like Gene Hackman in Hoosiers:

“No, I do not bring my tape measure. I will bring my stopwatch. If I bring my tape measurer, I might start crying because I love Hoosiers. Jimmy Chitwood hits that shot, who does not cry?”

On if there are different types of artificial surfaces in the NFL:

“I think every place is a little bit different. Minnesota’s was kind of soft and squishy a little bit, much more so than our indoor facility. This one will be a little bit different, as well. That is a great question because I think you have to go out and kind of get a feel for that, as well.”

On the Steelers’ offside call on a blocked FG returned for a TD:

“That was a great get off. It was an offside. It would not want that called on us obviously. If we were playing Pittsburgh, I would want it called. I thought it was a great get off by that young man. That was a great block, a big play at the end of the first half.”

On if the movement by the Packers LS is commonplace:

“I think every snapper is a little bit different. I thought that their coach had them ready, and those guys were ready. They timed it perfectly. I could not believe it when it was called. That was tough. It is hard to officiate that play because it is such a quick play, but I thought he was OK.”

On if Hoosiers is the best sports movie of all-time:

“Hoosiers is a great one. Remember the Titans is a great one. Cheaper by the Dozen is a good one because it is about a coach. He has a great family like I do.”

On enjoying Remember the Titans:

“The acting was phenomenal. It is a football movie. It is a high school movie back in the 60s, I think. It was just a cool movie the way that team came together. I love how locker rooms, teams and chemistry of locker rooms comes together. It is a pretty cool movie.”

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