San Diego Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
What's been the difference for Melvin Gordon between year one and year two?
"I think number one, we've been blocking better up front. It's not just Mel. Everybody all year (last year) wanted to talk about Melvin, Melvin, Melvin. It's 11 guys since I've been saying since the first day of camp, 11 guys who have to do their jobs better and that's the quarterback included in certain situations in the running game. I think that it comes down to guys doing a better job up front. That includes everyone, receivers coming down and blocking secondary players. He has a lot more confidence, the way we went through training camp and the success that he had during the preseason, just the way we've been running the ball since the first day this year."
With Drew Brees, his team's 0-3. How do you view his performance in that context?
"Drew's one of the best in the business. It's been that way for a long time. Him and Sean (Payton) have been together for a long time. If you look at it week in and week out, they're very productive. They've scored a ton of points, leading the team down, touchdown drives, game-winning drives, his entire career, so he's a great quarterback in this league, so we understand the challenge we have ahead of us this weekend."
Your team has seemed like with the Saints you have had a myriad of injuries, just yours on the offensive side moreso than the defensive side with the Saints. How have you dealt with that?
"We have had a number of guys that we've put on IR this year. That's the unfortunate about business. The one thing I talk to players about every year, you talk about there's an opportunity for everyone. Everyone has a role on the team, whether it's the offseason program all the way leading up to the 53. You always have to prepare. You have starters and starters-in-waiting. Injuries are a part of the game. Everybody understands that. It's been a great opportunity for guys to step up in different roles and you just have to keep on plugging. It's Week Four of the season, so you have to keep fighting your tails off and as a coach, your job is to put players in a position to succeed, find out what your players do best and then put those players in the game. You might have to change the roles of players and personnel groupings. You might want to do more of a certain thing whether it's offense, defense or the kicking game. You have to move bodies around. That's why you always talk about position flexibility. The more you can do, the more you can help our team. We're working hard with the guys and some guys have stepped up early in the season."
When you put on the film or the tape, what do you see out of the Saints secondary?
"Having worked with Dennis Allen before in Denver and knowing the type of coach Dennis is and how he coaches his players, they work their tails off week in and week out and compete."
I know you were in the NFC South at the time, but going back to 2006, what do you remember about the Drew Brees departure from San Diego and arrival in New Orleans at the time
"That's a long time ago for me to reflect back. I just know having played against him, the type of player he is. I talked to our team to start this out, he's been very productive for a long time with Sean (Payton), the way they spread the ball around and all over the field, you remember that from the days when he first got there (Saints)."
As a Panthers assistant, did it worry you at the time that the Saints brought him in?
"We know what kind of player and what kind of competitor he is. You turn the film on, that doesn't go away from players. We knew (as a Carolina assistant) exactly what they were getting and I think he's proven the type of player he is from that day all the way to this past weekend, what a great player he is and what a great competitor he is. You just love the way he plays the game."
How has Jason Verrett become a dominant cornerback for you guys?
"I think we had a lot of confidence in him the very first year he was here, early on in his time even with some injuries, he battled his way through. He loves work and to play the game. It's not shocking at all the way he's played this year and really his entire time here. He goes out and competes everyday. That was what was great about him and Keenan (Allen). They make each other better."
San Diego Chargers Quarterback Philip Rivers
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
What do you do as one of the leaders of the team to hold the team together during the rash of injuries?
"I think anytime you lose guys like that and it's one thing to lose them for a short period of time, when you lose them for a year, so early on when they we're going to be huge contributors obviously two of our biggest playmakers in (Danny) Woodhead and (Keenan) Allen. I mean it is definitely a tough blow, but the biggest thing I know that I can do is continue to show confidence in the guys that are filling in for those guys, which I have a great deal (of confidence) in and Tyrell Williams and obviously Melvin's (Gordon) workload is increased. (You) Bring in guys like Dexter McCluster, Travis Benjamin, who I know has caught a bunch of balls in this league and is off to a good start this year. I think it's obviously expressing confidence to them, that you have in them and I think too just in general, when you get in that huddle it's just a belief that we are going to carry on and find a way and that kind of filters down."
What is the biggest difference you see in Melvin Gordon in year two?
"I think we're (better) overall in the run game. Everybody involved from the guys up front, from his reads and his tracks and just the way we're operating and then for him personally I see in increase in confidence and he's really made some very mature runs early on this year. The three or four yards runs that aren't pretty, that nobody remembers, but that are very smart, mature runs that get us in 2nd and 6, get us in 2nd and 7 and then obviously he's had some big runs as well. We are going to need him to continue to run well and for our guys up front to continue to do what they are doing in order for us to get done what we want to get done."
What kind of role do you Dexter McCluster playing?
"I think obviously we signed him right when we lost (Danny) Woodhead. He's obviously kind of filling that void there, as far as his role is concerned. He caught a few balls last week, he was in the backfield some last week. I missed him on a wide open touchdown last week, which would have been the same route that we would have thrown to Danny. Dexter has made a lot of plays in this league and he gives us some of that same dynamic that we had with Danny."
When you look at the film of the Saints secondary, what jumps out at you?
"One, it's a competitive scrappy group back there and two you look at the backend at the safety position, there's some Pro Bowls and experience back there as well, when you look at 31 and 41 and obviously I haven't heard 32's status. Then it's a young group at corner that for the most part* *there are not a lot of guys running free, especially watching that game last week against Atlanta. I know Atlanta scored a bunch of points and it's not like guys are running wild open. You mentioned they have dealt with some injuries all over there as well. We know what we are in for and we know it's a prideful team, well-coached team and I think we have two teams that hungry for a win and I expect it to be a heck of a game."
How big are Drew's (Brees) community ties there in San Diego?
"Drew is a heck of a teammate, obviously I was a teammate of his for two years and as you said he did a great job in the community when he was here and he's still involved here in this community, spends time here in the offseason and I've always kept up (with Drew) obviously, we have seen each other at a couple Pro Bowls, but we've kept up, text and spoken all throughout the last decade that he's been gone. He is a heck of a guy and not just a heck of a player. He's a heck of a man in the community and family guy, it's crazy to think he has not been back since that last game of the year in 05', as far as to play here. The one time he would have been back we played in London and then we went there in 2012. I enjoyed my time with Drew and he's obviously done something the last ten years that's never been done. He's had an unbelievable career."