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Special Teams Coordinator Bobby April

Posted Nov 15, 2012

On what happened on the Cowboys’ punt return touchdown: "A couple things broke down. It takes a lot guys to execute that, takes a lot of guys to not get it executed. I think the punt was fine. He had enough hang time. The hang-distance ratio was fine. It was enough to get covered. That’s usually the predetermining factor I think. Statistically it proves out that way too. We had a couple guys get blocked one-on-one down the field. A couple guys got held up at the line. Our ability to get to the outside was not there. They did a good job of executing. They did a good job of preparing. They just had a better situation on that play than we did and they parlayed it. It was a big play."

On whether someone on the coverage unit took a bad angle in pursuit of the returner: "I think we could have done a better job although it’s not just in that moment. I think in hindsight there (are) 20 things I could tell you we could’ve done better. But it would have been over the course of a long time that we needed to expand our coverage a little bit wider. We were bunched a little bit in the middle, and we sort of got forced to be bunched but we still have a responsibility to get a little bit wider than we were. That goes over the course of a lot of work, not just that week or that game. That’s a constant thing that we needed to get done over mini-camps, (training) camp, (and) practices. That’s a coaching breakdown. If you don’t have those lanes and the distribution of where you need to come from to get to the ball, then somewhere in there I didn’t get that entrenched in their minds."

On whether effort was an issue as to why the punt return touchdown occurred: "Oh I don’t think effort was an issue. I don’t think so at all. We’ve had a couple of grades (as) loafs, some but not many. Effort hasn’t been an issue for us. I think our guys are real pros at all that stuff. I just have to help them know where their spacing needs to be, where their leverage (is), and just need to work harder at it."

On whether a struggling special teams unit is indicative of bad depth on the roster: "From my vantage point no. When you have a play like that, and that was a critical play, that was as critical of a play (that) we’ve had all year I think because that turned the tide, doesn’t mean it needed to but it did, and I just looked at what I could have done. I go back to mini-camps and (think) I didn’t get this settled, I didn’t get this squared away, I could have done this, instead of spending time on protection I could have spent more time on coverage. Anything and everything you look for how you could have done that play better. And there was a lot of coaching things that I could have done better. That’s on me. I don’t think the depth is (the problem). I like our players. I like their talent. It’s really been for me a great group to work with. I just have to help them better to be more prepared for a play like that."

On how disappointing this year has been for the special teams unit: "Well the season has been very disappointing because I think, and I believe it because I’ve seen it from experience, that if you have a dominating special teams, and I mean a dominating special teams, many of the games that we lost we could’ve won. You dominate them and a lot of the games we lost we could’ve won. I believe that. If the games are close, (then) the special teams and turnovers are going to decide the game. And in the NFL the parody is so great. We’re not talking about (USC) and Notre Dame (and) we have to win the turnover batter and we’ve got to win the special teams if we’re going to win the game, you talk about that every week. I believe it and whenever we have a letdown certainly I’m disappointed. I feel if I’m responsible for that phase to win the game. If all the games are close and I’ve got to take care of that phase and I let the team down then it certainly is disappointing. (That’s) probably about it. I could go further but I can’t afford to be discouraged because we’re playing Washington this week and we’ve got to get ready for them. I’m getting the cuts taken care of, I’m on the stool right now but the bell is going to ring at one o’clock on Sunday again. So I don’t have time to think about that stuff."

On what the problem is with the special teams if it is not personnel or effort issues: "I just think we could’ve taken a better deployment of our coverage. And that’s a coaching point. Deploying ourselves in a wider scheme from the onset because they have a responsibility to get to a certain station in the initial stages of the coverage. And then from that alignment, just like if I’m playing defensive end in a 3-4 (then) I am lined over here, and then from there I need to do the responsibilities of the best path to the obstacles ahead we face. I think initially we started out bad and then became a footrace and obviously that’s a little more genes and chromosomes at that point and not anything else."

On whether he felt CB Brandon Hughes was blocked in the back on the punt return touchdown: "I don’t know. I don’t want to make a comment about the officiating. I’d rather not."

On what happened on K Alex Henery’s missed extra point attempt: "That should never happen. Alex said when his plant foot hit (the ground) his foot slid and when his foot slid his body got torqued. He really came around. That’s ridiculous but that’s what happened. That was not good. That’s not good. You should never miss an extra point. He knows it. He’s got to make that. He hit a 40-yarder before it that was as nice as you could hit one. Perfectly. Perfect down the middle. The hold was good, he just slipped. He didn’t intend to do anything goofy, it’s just his body took a poor reaction to him feeling he was unbalanced. The operation was good, the snap was good because (LS) Jon (Dorenbos) did a nice job, (P) Mat (McBriar) did a nice job, Alex’s steps were right, (and) his timing was right. I’d have to look at it on the TV copy. It was hard to see on the (coaches’ film). He doesn’t miss like that unless something happens. He’s too accurate."

On how disappointed he was when T King Dunlap was not in position to line up with the field goal unit: "That’s my responsibility to have the 11 guys out there. And to not have 11, again all I can say is that I shoulder that because I’m responsible for getting them out there. When you have to give up a timeout, you let the team down for one thing. But you really let the head coach down because those timeouts are like gold for a head coach. He’s got the equipment, he’s got the facility to strategize and use things to our greatest advantage when we have all of our timeouts. In a game like that one, it was so close for so long (and) a timeout is priceless. So to give one up because somebody wasn’t on the field (is bad). I’ve got to get him out there. I have to get it done. I walked away from when I thought we sent the guys in to get an angle because we had a little leakage on the left side between the end and the tight end. I wanted to get that exact angle so I turned and walked away and I didn’t see (TE Brent) Celek screaming for somebody. Pretty much I’m the one that has to do that. I have my hands on everything in that area."

On whether a player needs to be accountable when they should have been on the field in position: "I don’t know. I just know I have to get it done for us. I’ve got to help us, I’ve got to be sharper, I’ve got to be more tuned, and I’ll speak to a player when a situation happens but we’ll try to correct it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. It’s all at this point we can do. It wasn’t good because like I said those timeouts are like gold. Whenever we take one haphazardly anytime, (I say), ‘Oh man.’ And then when it happened on our end it’s frustrating."

On whether he understands that it looks to outsiders that the players are not focused and giving maximum effort: "I could understand any definition that they could try to put on the ineptitude of that game. I perfectly understand. For most of our fans I would think I know when I was a kid growing up going to games, and I think in a city like this mostly is, guys have to spend a lot of time behind the wheel driving that cab or driving that truck, delivering the bread or whatever.  You’ve got to put in a lot of time to buy a ticket to one of these games. I know my family did when we used to go to the games when I was a kid. It’s a big investment. You want to see a great product and when they don’t, they have a right to be angry. I definitely understand. 100 percent."

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