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Saturday, July 19, 2008

NFL Record FG Return in 2002


Chris McAlister Returns a Missed FG, 107 yards for an NFL Record!

On Monday morning at 8:00 AM PT, I will be a guest on Warren McCarthy's talk radio show,'My Passion is Football', based in Amarillo, Texas.

Several weeks ago Warren launched his radio show and I was a guest the first week. We talked for about 15 to 20 minutes on some of the coaches I have worked for as a coach or kicking consultant. We talked about two of the great coaches I coached for; La Vell Edwards former Head Coach at BYU, and Hall of Fame Coach, George Allen, former Head Coach Washington Redskins and the Long Beach State 49ers.

We continued to discuss various coaches who hired me as a kicking consultant: Dick Vermeil, Mike Ditka, Marty Schottenheimer, George Seifert, Dan Reeves, and Tom Flores.

Warren called and asked if I would be a guest again on Monday. How could you turn down an offer from somebody that has a name associated with,'My Passion is Football'.

My Passion is the Kicking Game! Needless to say, I figured it was a perfect match. On Monday he wants to talk about all the kicking specialists I have been working with this off season, plus he wanted to talk about something that had to do with Special Teams.

Warren asked me to talk about anything that I had done in my Special Teams coaching career that my be unique.

I mentioned that during my College and NFL coaching career I was associated with a few kicking and special teams records. One of the records was set on Monday Night Football.

In 2002, I was the Special Teams Coordinator for Baltimore Ravens and we were playing the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football. This was a rebuilding year for the Ravens and I had just joined Baltimore Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick's Staff.

Brian and I had a long time coaching relationship that went all the way back to 1978 at Brigham Young University with Head Coach LaVell Edwards.

We were also coaching assistants together under Head Coach Doug Scovil, from 1980 to 1985 at San Diego State along with Mike Smith, now Head Coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Then again with the Minnesota Vikings we were coaching coordinators together under Head Coach Dennis Green from 1993 to 1998.

Brian was the man that recommended me to Dennis Green and was responsible for getting me into the NFL.

In 2002, Brian hired me as his Special Teams Coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens. He told me when he hired me that the Ravens had some major salary cap problems and were going to have to release a lot of good players. He said we need to go with a lot of young players and he wanted me to come in and do what I do best: Coach the kicking specialists, be fundamentally sound and aggressive on Special Teams.

In my college coaching career at BYU, San Diego State, University of New Mexico and Long Beach State our Special Teams Units blocked 39 punts and field goals, and led the nation in punt and kickoff returns a couple of times.

Basically, Brian gave me, a Special Teams coaches dream; card blanche on meetings, practice, drills. We practiced all kinds of situations on Fridays.

However, after one of the Friday afternoon Special Teams practices Brian came over to me and asked, "Gary, why do we keep practicing all these situations, are we ever going to use this 'Sh**' in a game and is it ever going to work?"

My reply was, "I don't know but if we ever have one of the situations come up in a game our guys will know exactly what to do."

With regards to the field goal return play, I had run this play in College at San Diego State and also three times when I was the Special Teams Coordinator with the Minnesota Vikings. Every time the play almost went all the way. Most Special Teams Coaches at all levels don't emphasize covering long field goal kicks.

I always felt through the years that at the end of the half on the last play, if it was a field goal attempt, if your defensive team with all the good athletes had an organized return you could take advantage of the field goal unit, with all the big linemen.

The field goal return was in the playbook every year that I coached in College and the NFL. The coaching points: 1) We will return the ball to our bench, 2) We will go for a block and set up the wall to our bench, 3) We need to block the (TE & WB) the two best cover men on the side of the return, and 4) the return man will start by going towards the opponents bench to give our players time to set up the wall, then bring it back to our bench.

We had a man designated as the point setter. Ray Lewis #52 was the point setter on this play and his job was to block the first man down field and get the return started. Ray not only blocked the man, but blew him up! It was a devastating block!

Video of the 2002 Baltimore Ravens Record Field Goal Return on

Monday Night Game vs Denver Broncos.

video

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