Giants special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey at their practice facility...

Giants special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey at their practice facility in East Rutherford, NJ, on Thursday. Credit: Ed Murray

Giants special teams coach Thomas McGaughey didn't sound as if he is a big fan of the NFL’s new kickoff rule.

It’s not easy to find a special teams coach who is.

“The rule itself is just something we’ll just have to get used to,” McGaughey said Thursday. “It’s like any other rule change. You just make the adjustments and just keep moving forward. I’m going to keep coaching the guys the same way. It’s not going to change. We’re going to coach up the fundamentals and the techniques, the schematics will be the same, and we’ll just go from there. You just make the adjustments and see what happens.”

The new kickoff rule provides for the ball to be placed at the 25-yard line on kickoffs if a fair catch is called behind the 25-yard line (like the rule that has been in place in college football since 2018). That means a player can call for and take a fair catch at the 1-yard line and advance the ball all the way out to the 25-yard line.

That could make players who mainly contribute on special teams vulnerable, including Giants linebackers Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin.  

As for the unpopularity of the rule among his NFL brethren, McGaughey basically shrugged.

“It is what it is,” he said. “It’s a situation where you’ve just got to deal with what you’re dealt. These are the cards they gave us. You just play them.”

Was the rule implemented to make the game safer? “What I think doesn’t matter,” McGaughey said. “It is what it is. If they think it’s to increase safety, then that’s what it is.”

Asked if special teams coaches now feel “like an endangered species,” McGaughey, who started coaching in the NFL in 1988, replied: “That’s a really good question. That’s a really good question.”

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