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Norv Tuner: We haven't played well enough to win
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Head Coach Norv Turner
“I’ve stood up here the last couple weeks and there have been things that have kept us from winning. I think that there were a couple of things like the kicking game, the punt situation the last couple of weeks and the turnovers … we were able to eliminate those things. Our kicking game was positive and our coverage was outstanding. (Mike) Scifres had one of the greatest days punting that you can have. When you look at the yardage disparity, that probably kept us in the game and gave us a chance. The way that the game ended, in terms of having a fourth and 29 and not being able to get them off the field, that kind of undoes the things that we did in terms of not turning the ball over, playing at a high level in the kicking game, making a lot of plays defensively to hold them and not run any points through most of the game.”
Does that 4th and 29 play sum up the entire season?
“I don’t know. I guess for you guys, you can say that. And it’s easy to say. It’s a play where we had guys in position to make the play and we didn’t handle it very well.”
Why is the offense struggling?
“We really struggled in the first half of the previous game and then moved the ball better in the second half. I would like to be able to sit here and say that it’s one thing and then you fix it, but right now we’re not operating at a high level in terms of our protection and that’s not something where we look and say, ‘this is the problem.’ We have a problem across the board in terms of some young guys playing and some guys who have had a tough time with some matchups. We talked about Danario Alexander a few weeks ago. When you sign a guy and have him in your system for five weeks and he’s your leading receiver, that tells you something about where you’re at. We’ve just had a tough time with consistency and it’s usually a breakdown of one or two guys on a third down or on a situation where we need to play better.”
Do you think that you’re plugging holes in the proverbial dam?
“That’s obviously been the issue and I’ve talked about going out and playing a complete game. Going out and playing a complete game is handling all the situations, keeping the same guys on the field and then getting them to play at a consistent level. We haven’t been able to do that.”
What did you think of Philip Rivers’ performance?
“There’s give and take. We didn’t have a turnover and I thought that he handled the ball better when we were pressured. He was pressured a great deal and sacked five times. He took care of the ball. We didn’t make the plays in terms of getting production. And when we did get the production in the passing game we went right down the field and scored. When we had put six or seven plays together and executed them at a high level, we had high production.”
What are the troubles with the offense in the third quarter?
“To me it’s not about a quarter. I know that the easy thing to say is that we’re not making adjustments. Sometimes it comes down to converting a third down to get you started, which we did not do a very good job of. Sometimes it comes down to a guy making a play and sometimes it comes down to protecting. They’re the same breakdowns that we’ve had in other quarters, it’s just that we’ve struggled a little more in the third quarter. One of the things that happens as the game goes on is that we get more people playing aggressively against us. Early in games there’s a feel-out process and that’s when we’ve been able to drive the ball. When people get up and challenge us, press us and pressure us, it’s taken a toll.”
Why did Robert Meachem not show up on the stat sheet yesterday?
“He didn’t have a ball thrown to him but he did show up as playing in the game. He was in a few snaps, it’s just where we were in terms of what we’re trying to get done.”
Does that mean that Robert Meachem is not figuring into your game plan?
“He’s in it, but it comes down to what we’re using in terms of personnel groups. We have a comfort level with Malcom (Floyd). Malcom plays all the positions. We’ve tried to get Danario (Alexander) going and he’s made some plays for us. That’s where we’re at right now.”
Are defenses keying in on Antonio Gates?
“I think that if you’re getting ready to play us and look at our guys and ask, ‘Who’s the guy we have to make sure doesn’t get the ball?’ Your answer is Antonio Gates first, of all our guys. And that’s what’s defenses are doing. There have been times when there were chances to get him the ball and we didn’t maybe because of protection or because we threw it to someone else. But there’s no question that he gets a lot of attention.”
What is left to play for?
“I feel the same frustration that our fans feel and I’m glad that you brought it up because I thought that our stadium was loud and I thought that our fans were great. I thought they were a big part of why we had a chance to win the game and why were in the game the way we were. I thought that they were outstanding. It was a difficult situation for them as well as for our guys. I talk about this each week, but there are so many good young players who are growing. There’s Kendall Reyes and Donald Butler, who got hurt, and Corey Lynch. Those are young guys who have a great future here as Chargers and I think we should look forward to watching them play and encourage them. From a standpoint of our team, you got a chance to talk to Jarret Johnson and I’m sure he probably gives you a pretty good feel of where our team is at. We have a lot of players who aren’t used to being in this position and they’re going out and playing like they’re in a playoff game or like a game that’s giving them a chance to be in the playoffs. And that’s why we were able to be in that game. Baltimore is an 8-2 team that is very talented at most positions. They’ve got very good players across the board on their offensive line, their running backs, their wide-outs, their defensive secondary and they’re as good a team as we’ve played. Our guys kind of willed themselves to be in that game and to be in a position where they had a chance. We didn’t have a lot of production offensively, but we did drive the ball and get points. We did give up a lot of yards, but we did keep them out of the end-zone and that’s because there was a lot of effort being exerted. A lot of guys were selling out to make that happen.”
Is this team mistaking activity for achievement?
“I normally wouldn’t respond to something that was said on a radio talk show, but what our guys are doing--and don’t confuse it with not understanding football--they’re giving great effort so we have a chance to be in these games. Right now we’re not quite good enough to get over the hump and win them, but that’s an excellent football team we played. That’s a team that’s 8-2. In a number of areas, we were out-manned in that game, and when we started losing players in the second half, we were considerably out-manned. The activity and the energy, the enthusiasm and the competitiveness, as Jarret Johnson probably told you, gave us a chance to win the game at the end.”
What’s it been like having a guy like Jarret Johnson on the team?
“It’s awesome because he’s fit in with the guys we already have who are like him. You could sense a common bond right when he got here. I love listening to him talk because it’s so different than what the perception is. He’s coming from a team that has great work ethic and has a lot of pride, but all he talks about is how hard our guys work, coming into the weight room early in the morning, the competitiveness, how hard they work to prepare themselves and the way we approach things in terms of practice. It’s been good for me because I know the Ravens are a physical team and they practice in that manner. When Jarret starts talking about the things that we do, I see that as a very positive thing.”
Did the team benefit from any inside information that Jarret Johnson may have had about Baltimore?
“We know the Baltimore staff pretty well. We played them last year and we’ve had success against them. There were some things that he helped us with in terms of how they call things and why they call them. But they know that we’re asking him those questions too. I think that it helped us a little, but it’s not an overwhelming edge.”
What can you say about Marcus Gilchrist, who is very young and has such a positive attitude?
“That’s the type of player and guy that he is. When a guy gets here, the number one thing that we tell them is that if you want to get on the field you better play multiple positions and you better prepare yourself to play a lot of different spots, particularly if you’re a defensive back or a receiver. That’s how you’re going to get opportunities and be able to contribute in the kicking game.”
Are there any injury updates on the safeties?
“I was just visiting with Eric (Weddle) and other than feeling like he had been rear-ended on highway five with a clip and a helmet-to-helmet collision, he felt pretty good. It was very positive and he didn’t have any signs from having that collision. With him and the other guys, we’re just going to have to wait a few days and see where they’re at.”
What’s your opinion of that collision?
“I thought that it was a clip and I thought that it was helmet-to-helmet on a defenseless player. It really doesn’t matter what I thought. Obviously what matters is the way that it was called.”
On Andrew Gachkar’s performance on the defense:
“It’s tough for us to ask Andrew to do that. He’s a special team’s player and kind of an emergency linebacker. I thought that he handled it well.” Read