Pregame photos from Los Angeles with the Saints getting ready to face the Chargers in preseason week 3
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS HEAD COACH ANTHONY LYNN
"Let me tell you, I've never played a game where I've lost by that margin and feel so good about it. I love the way the first unit went out and played against one of the top rush teams in the league, and they held them to under four-yards a carry the whole first half. Offensively, they moved the ball on the ground. We know we can throw the football to anybody, and they averaged over six-yards a carry in the first half and doing all of that with no penalties. That's been one of the things we've been focusing on—stopping the run, running the football, and not beating ourselves. I thought that was an improvement. Now the second half, that's a whole different story. I thought our reserves go outplayed. We couldn't convert on third downs. We couldn't stop them on third downs. We have a lot of work to do right there."
On if they managed to go injury free this game:
"I think so. There are some guys with some bruises. Corey [Liuget] came out. I think he's going to be okay. Russell [Okung] came out, but I think he's going to be okay. We're just trying to manage those guys and get them through the regular season.
On G Forrest Lamp participating in pregame warmups:
"We're being very cautious. He's going to play next week. He looked very good in practice and it was hard to not put him in this game, but our plan was to get him in next week."
On how long that plan has been in place:
"We tried to target this game to get him back, but he didn't come back as quickly as we thought. I hate to put timetables on players, so that's why we're going to wait to play him next week."
On if he feels confident enough in Lamp with only one preseason game played:
"It depends on how he plays. From what we've seen in practice, he's getting better. I think when he takes that step next week, we may play him a bit more."
On the offensive line:
"I thought Mike Pouncey up front—he's one of the leaders on that o-line. I feel like this group is starting to gel at the right time. I feel like I saw that tonight. When they came off the field, they really didn't want to come off. They wanted to go back and play, but I saw that in their eyes. I saw that in their face. That was different."
On LB Kyzir White:
"He's an explosive young man. He can make plays. He's had a great camp and he's competing for that starting lineup."
On S Derwin James:
"I don't know yet. I'm about to watch the tape and find out. He didn't make any plays that I know of, but I can't say right now."
On James' interception at the beginning of the game:
"I forgot about that one. The only turnover of the game. I can't believe I overlooked that one, but he just made a good play. We've been working him in the middle of the field and line of scrimmage. He just showed his range in the middle of the field on that play. It seemed so long ago. I forgot about that one."
On what he hopes to see in the last preseason game:
"In game four, we're going to play our backups—our second unit. I want them to compete better next week than what they did today. I definitely want to see that. I think that backup defense—it's been pretty dominant all camp. I thought today we lost a lot of one-on-ones."
On DE Joey Bosa's absence from playing in the preseason:
"You know, he's a veteran and he's been in games. I'm not really concerned about him not playing next week."
On Bosa being ready for Week 1 of the regular season:
"[For the] regular season, probably so."
On the growth of RB Detrez Newsome:
"That's a good little competition right there [between the running backs behind RB Melvin Gordon III]. I mean, we don't talk about that very much. But, he's doing a good job. But there's [also RB] Russell [Hansbrough] - he's a good runner. And then we just brought in this new kid [RB Terrell Watson] who's been in for a couple of NFL plays and he looked pretty good. So, we'll get to see [Watson] all of next week and will let those guys battle it out on the football field."
On the backup quarterback competition:
"Well, we pulled [QB] Cardale [Jones] early. He has a little groin strain, and I could tell it was bothering him when he was leaving the pocket. And I didn't want him to hurt it any further because I want him to play next week and continue to compete for the backup spot. [QB] Geno [Smith] went in and I thought he handled himself well. He threw some balls right on the money on third down and we dropped them. Obviously, he had the pick-six, that wasn't good. But other than the pick six, I thought he was solid."
On thoughts about keeping three quarterbacks on the roster for the regular season:
"We'll see. We'll take a look at the roster and see if that's possible."
On the limited reps of K Caleb Sturgis:
"He kicked off and I thought he showed some good leg strength. That's something he hadn't done, so that was encouraging."
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS QUARTERBACK PHILIP RIVERS
"I thought we had some good plays, enough to be excited, but not enough to relax. Either way, it went pretty well. If it didn't go good, we shouldn't panic because we're going to be great. Our tempo was great and our offensive line — they really ran the ball. If we can be balanced and run the football the way we did tonight, we have a chance to be special offense."
On RB Austin Ekeler:
"He's young. He's arguably the strongest guy on the team, so he's definitely the 'team-tackle' guy. He and [RB] Melvin [Gordon III] really complement each other. They're different. They run with different styles. Austin, keeping him healthy is important. Keeping both those guys [healthy] to have the one-two punch, it's big."
On if he feels ready to play Week 1 right now:
"Physically, yes. I'm excited. I need these two weeks to get dialed in. I feel good physically. I think our team is growing to seem really close [to being healthy]. Guys are getting healthy, like [CB] Trevor [Williams] and those guys. They're getting close and two weeks from tomorrow, we'll be ready to roll."
On how he will spend his time before next game day:
"I'll jump straight to Kansas City. Now's the time — maybe you're better now with your cardio and you can spend a little more time in the weight room [and] those kinds of things. Just make sure you're physically as good as you can be this week. Take care of yourself and be ready for game day come next week."
On the importance of keeping everyone healthy through preseason:
"It's almost turned into that it seems that's most important. There are things we want to get done, but let's get healthy to Week 1 and hopefully — it looks like for the most part — we have done that. We'll be good."
On mentally preparing for the grind:
"Yeah it is. I think, even though I'm not in the game as much in the preseason, we still try to do something similar to the routine as far as how we do it in the regular season. Just to get our minds used to doing it, so we don't say, 'Alright [it's] game week, turn on the preparation.' It's not as extensive, but we try to do some of that."
On how he feels about his performance:
"I hit the ground twice, which I like to get back in the groove. You don't want to get too big of hits. I hit the ground twice and was able to spread the ball there a little bit — throw the ball down the field a few times. I feel good about where I am."
On C Mike Pouncey's leadership:
"Real good. He presses the tempo. He keeps the pace going [with] his presence. Obviously, his play is good, but his presence [when playing] at home [is key]. He brings a little bit of an energy and nastiness that is contagious. I'm excited to see how it is when we're both out there."
On how the atmosphere compares to last preseason:
"We know what to expect now. I thought for the last two preseason games it's been exciting in here. I thought that the atmosphere is pointing — to me, this could be an awesome year here at home [with] the way we finished last year. We just have to do our part, and that's winning games at home. I think if we can do that, especially starting Week 1 against Kansas City, we can kind of jump-start the whole thing as far as [the] home atmosphere."
On playing against Saints QB Drew Brees:
"It's always good. I love seeing Drew. I have nothing but good memories from those two years. Seeing the career he has had is really unbelievable. We were able to share the practice field for a couple of days and I always enjoy that."
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS RUNNING BACK AUSTIN EKELER
On first quarter not being reflective of final score:
"It's not what we want to see at the end of the game — starting out we had a good start and we were hoping it rolled out like that. It didn't work out like that. The past couple of games we've been doing solid, we have to get back to it. We have one more game to solidify ourselves."
On if he realized he would get so much run on the first drive:
"I did not. You go out there expecting anything - you like to [gain yards], if you can."
On feeling comfortable about the offense for season opener on September 9:
"I feel like we are starting to come together — that's just what you want coming into the fourth preseason game. We feel like, if we didn't play at all or if we did, we're all ready for Kansas City."
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS SAFETY DERWIN JAMES
On his interception:
"It felt great. Came out and trusted in what my coaches have been telling me. They put me in position. The play was there for me to make and I made it."
On being a part of the first team:
"I feel great, I'm honored. Whichever way I can help. I'm trying to come in and contribute to the team. Help us get on track and help us win some ball games."
On current comfort level:
"Way more comfortable. It's slowing down a lot. Every day, every practice, every practice, it is slowing down."
On preseason coming to an end:
"Continue to get better. Come Monday, get better. Go home tonight, watch film and continue to get better every day."
On being ready for the start of the season:
"I feel like I will be ready come Week 1. I feel like there is always room for me to grow. Especially coming in as a young guy, I still want to learn and continue to learn every day. There is still a lot I don't know as a player right now. I'm just going to learn as much as I can and hopefully come Week 1, I'll be ready to go."
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS LINEBACKER KYZIR WHITE
On his performance:
"I felt good out there. There are still some things I want to clean up, but for the most part, I felt pretty good"
On being in the starting lineup:
"I learned about a day before. I was excited but it's still football at the end of the day. I still have to go out there and do my job and perform. Try to stay even keel and not get too excited."
On the speed of the game:
"I feel like they have a great offense. I feel like it was faster than week one, but I still feel like I did a good job managing it"
On his growth through the preseason:
"With my assignment and getting in my playbook. I still feel like I make mistakes here and there that's a given, but I feel I know my mistakes right when I make them"
On the rookie class:
"I feel like we all have been doing a pretty good job. From rookie minicamp to OTAs to now we've made a big jump."
On S Derwin James's interception:
"I just saw Derwin make a good play. I just see him go up and make a good play."