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Preseason Game 2 Quotes: Los Angeles Chargers

Transcripts of postgame interviews with Los Angeles Chargers head coach and players

Los Angeles Chargers vs. New Orleans Saints
Sunday, August 20, 2017 – StubHub Center


Opening Statement:
"Well. That's a preseason game, but that couldn't have gone any uglier in my opinion. I thought our defense played well other than the first play of the game, which could have made a difference because of the turnover they scored on later. Offensively we were flat for some reason. I know some of our guys didn't play, but we have to run the football a lot better than that and we're going to run the football a lot better than that. We gave up seven sacks. Your chance of scoring a touchdown off those sacks is seven percent. That killed us. The sacks are what killed us. It's not just the offensive line. It's running backs. It's tight ends. It's the whole group. We have to do a better job of coaching these guys and getting them ready to play. That's all it is to it."

Why didn't Philip Rivers play today?
"Philip practiced against that team a couple times in pads. He had two good practices and I felt like he didn't need to play today. We got a lot of looks at him during the week."

Did Philip Rivers not play because some of your offensive line starters sat out?
"If those guys would have played, I probably wouldn't have had Philip out there. Like I said, he went against those guys all week and we got some good work in against them. I like what I saw, so there's no reason to play him. I need to get a look at Kellen Clemens and Cardale Jones. I didn't get a chance to get Mike Bercovici in tonight, but Kellen and Cardale were able to create a little competition there."

Where does that competition stand?
"Kellen is our number two. Cardale is learning. He's been here two and a half weeks. He's getting better, but he's not there yet."

Has Cardale Jones showed you anything different tonight compared to the past couple of weeks?
"Not tonight. I don't think he had enough help to be honest with you."

Are you concerned about your running game as we reach the halfway mark during the preseason?
"We're running our basic stuff and we have to be better at our basic principles. I'm not going to show you everything in preseason, but we have to be better at what we're doing."

Is it more physical or execution that you need to work on in the running game?
"Some of it is execution. You can always be more physical in the run game."

On having a hard time scoring:
"That's something that we're going to address as a coaching staff. We want to be more explosive and dynamic no matter what we're running. The Saints, they didn't show their stuff. We have to be better."

On first play of the game:
"It's a wide zone concept that we have struggled with a little bit this camp, getting reached and cut in the back side. Our linebacker did not get over the top, but he's not the only one on the field to make a play, but that's where the hole came."

Would you be ready if the regular season started next week?
"Absolutely. We would be ready."

On coming out flat to start the game:
"If you came out flat and then you picked it up somewhere then I could say you came out flat. It never picked up, so I don't know if we came out flat. The defense came out really good other than one play. On offense we sputted all day."

Is it hard to come out with energy when the starters know they aren't going to be out there for long?
"If that's the case in preseason, you know that coming in. I'd like for you to be professional. It's a game. You have to go out there and give everything you have and then get out."

Is the defense ahead of the offense right now?
"A lot of times in training camp at this time, the defense is ahead of the offense. You could say that."

How good of a team do you think you have?
"I believe in this team. This team is going to play very well. This team is going to be pretty good. After that performance tonight you might not think so, but I'm just telling you I see this team everyday. When we put that starting 22 out there, this team is going to be pretty good."

When will we see the starting 22 this preseason?
"You will see them for a half."

What did you see out of some of these backups tonight?
"Some of those guys stock went up tonight. I did not mind sitting a lot of those starters tonight because I needed to look at some of these backups. Some of those guys stock went up. They played really well."

Anyone in particular?
"Dexter McCoil. That did not surprise me. He's been playing really well. Desmond King has been playing really well. Korey Toomer got better tonight. He's trying to fill in for Denzel Perryman. He's competing with Nick Dzubnar for that job. Both of those guys are competing hard."

On Melvin Ingram:
"He's had a great camp. He's more motivated that ever."

On Saints blitz giving trouble during the game:
"No. To be honest with you, we saw a lot of those pressures in practice. That didn't catch us off guard. It's the communication up front."

Did Dexter McCoil's pick-6 change the team's energy?
"I'm sure it did. Anytime you get a turnover like that for a touchdown it gives you a little momentum."

What are your thoughts on Isaiah Burse as a returner?
"He's doing a good job. I'd like to see him not catch the ball inside the ten, but he's doing a good job. He's had a good camp."

Is Rivers that good he makes that huge of a difference on the field?
"Well. He's pretty good. Without him being out there on the field, I was hoping to see more guys step up."

On Desmond King improving:
"He's light years from where he was during rookie and mini camp. Now that he knows what he is doing, he's playing safety. He has a versatility to go out and play corner and play some special teams."

What did you think of the fan support?
"For a preseason game I think it's been outstanding. I wasn't expecting a sellout or anything like that, but I think they're loud. When you give them something to cheer for, they cheer. I like to think the fan support has been good."


On how being a young veteran has translated on the field:
"You have guys around the same age, I feel like I'm a young guy, but I'm a vet at the same time so I can relate to the older guys and the younger guys, so I'm able to coach up the younger guys on stuff that I was messing up a year ago, two years ago, so it's good to be able to relate to everybody and be that "'tweener' who can help the coaches and the players at the same time."

On his evaluation of the team over the first two preseason games:
"Good. Last week we came out and did our jobs as the ones. We didn't do those jobs as twos and threes but today, as a defense, we came out and did our job. We saw a total 360 in what we did. We would have liked to come out and start a little faster. All it takes is one play, and you saw that today. We have to keep on improving. We're not finished yet and we don't have it. We just have to keep going and keep improving every day."

On how he decided to come to Los Angeles:
"Just God. God led me in the right direction. I ended up meeting a man named Mike Daniels. People call him "LA" at the gas station. Long, lavish story, just meeting the people and understanding when God's giving you a sign and go along with it. Anybody would've called me crazy, or some people would, but I'm a man of faith and to have something like that happen to me, I knew I had to jump on that."

On how he is fitting in with Gus Bradley:
"I mean Gus and I, I love it. I love our chemistry. I love everything we have together right now. We have to go back and watch this film and we'll continue to keep linking and keep getting better as a defense. I'll do whatever I can to help him
and fulfill any roll he has for me on this defense."


On the competition and the speed of the game:
"I'm used to it already, this isn't my first preseason game. As we do in preseason, we practice hard and we practiced against the Saints, and even a couple of practices against the Rams, so there are no excuses."

On his focus as they approach the preseason game against the Rams:
"We're going to have the same approach, just work hard every day. We're also going to get in the film room and compare as much as we can."


On how things went during the game:
"I think the defense did really well minus the first play. I take complete responsibility for the first play because that run hit my gap. I took that first play pretty hard—pretty upset about it. All you can do now is watch film and get better from it, unfortunately. So yeah, I was pretty upset with that first play. Second half, came out, felt like I changed my pace. It's hard to turn yourself around after a play like that, but it's easier said than done. Everyone always tells you, next play, next play, next play, but again, it's easier said than done. I felt like I did a lot better the second half—tried to shake it off and stuff like that. I just have to watch film."

On how shaking it off holds true for the whole team:
"I think the defense did really well. I can't speak for the offense. I'm not going to pretend like I'm an offensive genius or anything like that so I'm not going to speak for them. I thought the defense did a tremendous job. Dexter McCoil came up clutch with a huge play for us. Like I said, you take away that first play, we win the game."


On the team's performance:
"We just have to communicate better as a group. I think it was just a lack of communication today. My intensity was not good enough. It's on me to create something and make something happen. My energy was not there and sometimes you have to pick the guys up."

On the difficulty to have the intensity in a preseason game:
"As a competitor, you have to make it happen. Even though, no runs or touchdowns may count, you have to knock some rust off before the regular season starts because it comes fast. I think we looked at it as a preseason game, rather than another day to get better."

When will the team transition the good practices into good performances for games?
"Now, we need to start. We fell short today and we just treated it like another game. We didn't treat it as another day to get better. I don't feel like we got better today. There was just a lack of communication, obviously it is easy to fix up. We'll fix that and be better next week."

Difference on Philip Rivers not being out there:
"You know, Phil is Phil. Obviously he is amazing at what he does. Having a player of that caliber makes a complete difference. I think Kellen Clemens did great today for what he had out there today. We hurt ourselves today."


On his interactions on the field with Saints Drew Brees and Chase Daniel:
"I feel like both of them were exciting to me. Whenever you can make a play on the defense, and especially in the game, it's big for the defense. The interception was exciting as well."

On proving himself to the Chargers on the field:
"It's just my job, really. When it comes to it, I'm just going out there and doing what I'm supposed to be doing. Each and every down, I'm just going out there, trying to make the coaches happy and contributing to the team as much as I can."

On his instincts:
"I have to thank God and my mom for that, you know, my mom created me so obviously the instincts come from her. Without her and my ability to make plays, I probably wouldn't make them."

On how the defense played:
"I felt like the defense played well, overall we were pretty good. I know that first quarter could've been better. Once we started getting into the game we started playing like we were supposed to play. Playing Charger ball out there the tempo picked up pretty well."

On players he wants to learn from:
"We have so many guys out there, honestly. If I remember correctly, the defense led the league in interceptions last year. That's a fact right there that shows our secondary is ball house. We learn from each other, we feed off of each other's energy, that's kind of how we make our plays."

On the influence of Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett:
"Each and every day in practice you want to focus on them. Those are the guys that are going to do the right thing each and every play in practice. They give me a word of advice, or some knowledge from them, wisdom. Those are the guys who have been out there for a while making the plays."

On his transition between positions:
"You have to make that transition quickly. It's just a split second where you have to know what you're going to do at that position. I feel like learning the playbook is the most important thing. I feel like I'm in a pretty good position to play all three positions; Corner, nickel and safety. It just shows versatility and you're more valuable out there on the field. I just have to keep it up."

On how much he studies, absorbs and applies:
"I wouldn't say a lot, but you know, our defense is the type of defense that helps the younger guys acclimate to the system quickly. That's why they put me in the position as a nickelback, so that I could learn quickly."

On the pace in the field:
"It's a little fast, I would say the tempo, especially against the Saints, their offense has a very high tempo. I would say I'm getting more comfortable at the spot and in the position I'm playing. I feel like I'm getting really good at it."

On his improvement since camp began:
"I would say I improved once I started getting used to the system. I just started getting comfortable, not overthinking things or getting overwhelmed with the situations. Being comfortable and believing in the system is what really helped me. I feel like right after the rookie minicamp I started focusing on what I really had to do at each position, kind of sorting them out. It put me in the position to really learn."


On the interception:
"Just catch the ball and make it to the end zone, that's all I was thinking about."

On if he has played running back:
"No, I just trying to find the end zone. Our goal in practice everyday is to get the ball and score, so that's what I'm trying to do."

On the distance of the interception return:
"Yeah, it is the longest one of my career. I think I had one in college. It was 70 yards."

On the interception:
"I was just breaking on the ball, just happened to be at the right place at the right time."

On how much the interception helps him on making the team:
"I think every repetition is on film, everything. I think everything I do, I'm trying to do the best I can to make this team and help us win some games."


On grade he would give the defense after the first two weeks:
"We're just getting better every day. I feel like this was a learning experience. We had one turnover for a pick six and we just have to keep building on this. It's still preseason. We have two more to go and I feel like we're going to get better every game."

On how difficult it is to evaluate the team when starters don't play:
"I don't think it's that difficult because you have to have that 'next man up' mentality. We have to step up as the second string and third string. We have to step up and we have to make plays. We took a loss today and we have to learn from it and keep building."

On how to overcome offensive turnovers:
"That's what practice is for. We go out and we do our walkthroughs and we're going to learn from it. It's a learning experience. You have to learn from those things, it's going to happen in the game."

On crowd size in first two preseason games:
"It's preseason. They're getting a feel for us, trying to see how were going to come out and how we're going to play. It's still preseason, like I said. I feel like the crowd is going to be much better during the season."

On how the defensive unit has played thus far:
"As far as our defensive unit, we're getting better. Every day we're hitting some obstacles. Today we came out and it's ten points on the board and I feel good about it. I feel like our defense is taking steps in the right direction."

On area that needs to see the most growth between now and the regular season:
"You know what, I can't really touch it. Denver's going to be a big game for us. You're going to see a lot of flowing around from the defense, a lot of effort. That's what we harp on in practice, like strip attempts. You're going to see a lot of big plays out there."

On importance of continuing forcing turnovers:
"Getting turnovers is big. Getting the ball back in the offense's hands is key. That's what this game is all about. It's all about the ball. That's what we harp on with the defense: getting the offense the ball back. I feel like we did a pretty good job of that today."

On Dexter McCoil's interception returned for touchdown:
"He has a big body, he can move with long strides. I congratulated him. I'm happy for him."

On his impression of the young defensive backs:
"Did you see 36 [Desmond King] today? He's making plays all over the place. Our defensive backs are good. They're getting better every game. I think you saw it now, just from this game. They were flying around making plays. Last game was a learning experience. Now they're getting better every game."

On when Desmond King started to really pick things up on the defense:
"As soon as he came in. As soon as he came in, he made his presence felt. Along with Rayshawn [Jenkins], those guys were making their presence felt as soon as they came in. They want to play this game and you see the passion."


On developing rhythm with injuries:
"No not at all, I mean I feel like our starting five have gelled pretty well since OTAs started and everything, but it's just one of those days where we went out there and didn't get the job done."

On Thursday's joint practice with Saints:
"I feel like we did well. We were running the ball well, we were protecting well other than that I mean we got some different looks tonight which is no excuse but you have to prepare for everything. It is preseason so we don't do too much preplanning as a normal game but it is what it is and we got to play better."

On struggling offense:
"No, it's just little things here and there that happens. Once we get those little things figured out then it'll be a good show "

On frustration with preseason losses:
"It's very frustrating because all it takes is one guy to not do their jobs and the play falls apart. I mean we had good blocks out there and one guy didn't do their job here and there and I didn't do my job a couple of times tonight."

On importance of final preseason game:
"It'll be important because the third preseason game is always the one that stars get the most reps and everything, but other than that we just got to go out there and play better."

On importance of this week's practice:
"This is kind of like a dress rehearsal for a regular season game, so we have to treat it like a regular season game and go and prepare for one."

On playing without Phillip Rivers:
"I have complete confidence in Kellen I mean they are both like one in the same. Kellen is just as smart as Phillip. I have complete confidence in Kellen too"

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