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Turner: I think that our guys did a great job taking care of what they could control
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Head Coach Norv Turner:
“The things that we talked about after the game yesterday are things that I’ve felt awfully good about. Number one is Antonio Gates and the record he set yesterday in the game. Obviously it’s a record that he’s been working on since he got here years ago and I like I always say, to be able to do something at the level he’s done it for an extended period of time is impressive. When you see him out there running full speed the way he is now, you kind of forget the things that he’s gone through the last few years to overcome and get back to this point. It was a tough road there for a while with the toe and the foot situation he had. Then obviously it was our young defensive players up front getting 11 sacks in the game and guys like Kendall Reyes stepping up and getting an opportunity. Him and Corey Liuget are two guys who have gotten better as this year has gone along and I think that they’ve shown that they’re going to be outstanding players in this league for a long time. I think that our guys did a great job taking care of what they could control, going out and playing the best they could and finding a way to get a win on the road.”
Do you anticipate that this is going to be your last game as the head coach of the Chargers?
“I’m not giving it a lot of thought. Obviously there’s a lot of speculation that way and I know that there are people who assume that. As I said to our team probably four or five weeks ago, this is really an outstanding group of people. Put aside what they are as football players. I enjoy being around these guys a great deal. I think that they enjoy each other and I think that’s why they’ve stayed together and continued to play hard and prepare the way they have. I’m going to enjoy the week. We come back in Wednesday morning and start preparing. We’re playing a division rival in the Raiders so we just have to get everything that we can out of this week with each other and we’ll just see what happens.”
Do you approach the week any different knowing that it could be your last game?
“No. We had a long flight and got back last night and our staff was in early this morning. Like everyone else, we’ll be celebrating the holidays and we’re going to get our work done today and tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll be able to get the staff home early this evening so they can enjoy some time with their families and we’ll put together the best plan we can and get our guys ready on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to play on Sunday.”
Are there any updates on injuries?
“Brandon Taylor will have knee surgery and they’ll figure out the best time and place to do it. He injured his knee early in the game and it’s disappointing, but as I said yesterday—and I talked to Brandon about it—there are a lot of guys who were playing in that game yesterday who have had similar surgeries, similar injuries. It’s a process to come back from with the rehab and everything, but it’s unfortunately part of this game. We’ve had a lot of young players who have had injuries whether it be an Achilles, a knee, a shoulder or those different things and are back playing healthy and like they never had a setback.”
Do you think that any of the players on the offensive line haven’t been qualified and if so, do you feel short-changed by the rosters A.J. Smith has given you?
“I didn’t hear the different things that people said. I know that we’ve had a lot of different offensive linemen play and a lot of them who have played for us have not been starters before or after they’ve played here. So that’s kind of what I would go by. But I certainly would not get into that deal of evaluating because when you start having injuries, you have to start doing the best that you can in terms of putting people in there.”
What can you say about your comments that you would be open to becoming an offensive coordinator?
“I did an interview Wednesday with the New York media and they started speculating. It was probably my mistake of speculating with them. The speculation was if I wasn’t going to be coaching here, did I want to continue to coach. Yes, I would like to continue to coach. Obviously you look at different options that are available if something were to happen.”
What do you see from Melvin Ingram this year?
“The thing that’s exciting to me—and sometimes it gets lost when you’re struggling and not playing as well as you would like—we’ve had a number of players like Cam Thomas, who we felt played his best game ever in Pittsburgh as a San Diego Charger. I thought that yesterday, Melvin probably played the best he’s played since he’s been here. What that tells you is that guys are continuing to work, they’re paying attention, they’re preparing and they’re getting better. Melvin was outstanding in the kicking game and he was also very active defensively. He’s a talented guy that didn’t really play just one position in college and coming in here, he’s going about learning about going about playing outside linebacker. There’s a lot more to it than you would think and sometimes you don’t see the production that you want, but yesterday we did. He’s going to be an outstanding football player.”
Why did you choose not to punt after the 12-men on the field penalty in yesterday’s game and go with a field goal?
“Sometimes things aren’t done exactly the way you would like. The officials started to spot the ball on the 40-yard line and we were not going to try a 57-yard field goal. I was telling them that the ball shouldn’t be spotted there and I was trying to get them to move it. That forced us to use a timeout, but it was a great kick. Sometimes it’s frustrating because you say, ‘why would you ever have to use a timeout?’ But the officials came over to me, apologized and told me that it was their fault that they mis-spotted the ball and we were able to make the kick.”
How will you spend your next few days before you start preparing for the final game of the season?
“We went through with the offensive coaches what our plan is for first and second down. We just looked at the last four games the Raiders played and after this session we’ll go back up and get into more specific details of the game plan for first and second down. Tomorrow we’ll come in and spend a good part of the day, the coaches. We have a lot of coaches with young kids, so we probably won’t come in until about 10 and hopefully get out in time for dinner just to finalize the things that we need to work on for Wednesday’s practice.”
After you prepared for all the Jets’ quarterbacks, are you surprised that you only faced Greg McElroy?
“No. I thought that if you’re going to play a young guy, you need to give him all the work you can give him in practice. I thought that from a preparation standpoint, that had to be their focus and they had a wrinkle for us in terms of the wildcat with the receiver playing quarterback. That was something that they got a big play out of. So I thought that we would see McElroy and that we would see him for most of the game.”
How much can you take away from your first game against the Raiders this season?
“It was a lot of same people. Looking at it this morning, it tells you a little bit about where we’re at. We went into that game very concerned about our offensive line and Michael Harris was playing left tackle. He did some good things in that game and he really had some struggles. It shows you that we played the game without Harris and we played the game without Ryan Mathews. Sometimes you just forget about different situations that you were in. We were fortunate to be in a position to block the kicks that we did, but we put together two really good drives and offensively and defensively. I thought that we did a good job of keeping them out of the end zone.”
What are your thoughts about Chuck Pagano going back to his team and have you talked to John Pagano about it?
“I haven’t talked to Chuck, but I think that it’s exciting. Chuck worked for me in Oakland and he’s just an outstanding person and an outstanding coach. I know that this has been an unbelievable challenge, but it’s been impressive to me to see the support that the Colts organization has given him and also the support he’s gotten from everyone in the NFL.” Read