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ST Coach Chris Tabor (9/11): Week 2 Transcript

ST Coach Chris Tabor
ST Coach Chris Tabor
US PRESSWIRE

Special Teams Coach Chris Tabor held a press conference Thursday and fielded some questions from the media. You can read a transcript of what he had to say or watch the press conference here.

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On choosing to punt late in the game at Pittsburgh:

"I think it was a great decision by coach. We were just on the cusp [of field goal range] there and you're talking, you still, it was 4:26, I believe was left: I mean, that's a lot of football and we were playing great defense and really felt like we could pin them down there and unfortunately we fell just slightly in the endzone there and we didn't make the play. At the end of the day, had we been able to pin them down and put them on the half yard line and make them go a long ways -- that's, you know, 'Woulda, coulda, shoulda' type deals -- but there's no question that that was the right call."

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On Chris Kirksey saying he shouldn't have caught the punt:

"Yeah, he started to go down as he was kind of losing it and then you're throwing it back and then the other guys are going to come and corral the football, because if he's the first one to touch it and bats it back then their player can technically come and try to scoop it up free of charge, because we had what they call a "first touch" rule. So, you know, it was a mistake that we just didn't execute and we're working to get it fixed."

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On Travis Benjamin's returning performance at Pittsburgh:

"I still have a lot of confidence in Travis. I by no means am I going with "the sky is falling" after one game. I still look at a young man that holds the franchise record for the longest return, franchise record for most yards in a game -- I think the first time [in] preseason/regular season games, first seven times he touched it he had seven touchdowns. I still think it's in there and I'm not going to -- it's his first game back."

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On the possibility of Marlon Moore returning kicks:

"Well if, you know, if he's a guy that's going to be up [on the active gameday roster], we just kind of have to decide how it's all going to shake out, so that's still to be determined."

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On other possible players returning kicks:

"I make suggestions and it's to be determined on all that stuff. I mean, I'll be quite honest with you, the returner thing -- and I know we talked about Travis -- we're going to play a lot of returners. That's where we want to get to and where we want to be. I don't want to be just a one pony team, to be quite honest with you, I want a lot of horses."

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On when to return a kickoff:

"There's a lot of factors that, I don't look at just specifically as yardage, You know, it's yardage plus the hang time. If a guy drives a ball deep and it's a low hang, you're talking probably anywhere from, oh, 3.6 [seconds], then chances of bringing that thing coming out are probably going to be pretty good and I think you see that around the league. Uh, were there some decisions that we need to get cleaned up from the other night? No question. But we want to be a team that's going to push the envelope a little bit. And we just, we feel like we can do that."

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On leaving the gunner open on punt returns:

"Yeah, it's a schematic thing -- actually, the previous play we did it and they came right down. I don't want to get into all the intimate details on the play but some teams will, if you show it, they'll bring them down. For example, when I went home that night I was watching Sunday Night Football and the Colts came down every time on the Broncos and left them uncovered and the Broncos brought their guys down. What happens is, it ends up, it shortens the edge of the field. At the end of the day, and there is, it's a high-risk/reward-type play, but, you know, we've always stated "we don't want to play reckless" and I didn't think that we were playing reckless -- they made a play: it was 4th-and-10 and fortunately our defense stepped up for us and stopped them and they didn't score and then our offense took the ball down the field, so I was relieved of that, but no question we don't want to have those errors in our area and we'll, but we're going to still play aggressive, we're playing to win the football game and we don't want to sit back on our heels."

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On the needs for improvement on special teams:

"It needs to be better and we need to play better overall. And that's what we're working hard to do this week: we had some missed tackles and we gotta do a better job in that area and hopefully we see that improvement this week. You know, we gotta clean that stuff up, in fact, we're going punt return today. We'll work a lot of fundamental drills: a point of emphasis. Obviously that was a big thing -- I think we ended up having five penalties on special teams and the Steelers had four, in the holding category, so both teams were getting called on it and you have to adjust a little bit to it. At the same time, our technique needs to be better and that's, we'll work that."

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On the plan for special teams practice:

"We're gonna get back to where our hands are at and where our feet are at -- in the punt return game, which is so much different, a lot of people, you can actually put your hands outside on a player almost as if you're bear hugging him, but if you cover him up what we say 'shoe to shoe' and he's not, and there's no body parts outside your body, you can 'legally' hold him. It's once he gets to your edge and you restrict that, that's where the calls came from. So we need to be better with our feet and we'll do some drills today to improve that."

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On how wind in First Energy Stadium affects special teams:

"We just got back, we just came back and it was a good day to go down there because it was windy down there, but you can sense it a little bit, the way that it comes in and is bouncing off the sides and bringing it the other way: it's a tough place to kick and we'll continue to just kind of keep going down there and getting a feel for it. It's closed, you know with the scoreboards it has closed it off a little bit but it's still pretty windy."

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On the Browns' previous game against New Orleans:

"No, well I know what happened: Reggie Hodges had the big fake. You're on the road, you're stealing possessions out of Drew Brees and a powerful offense. I think you always go into games with a loaded gun, so to speak: you want to have some bullets that, if you need to go to that stuff you have, but no, primarily we've really been studying them the last few years with regards, because, you're talking, it's different personnel now."

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