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McCoy: It Goes Back to the Basic Fundamentals

Posted Sep 23, 2013

Head Coach Mike McCoy reflected on Monday on the positives and negatives from Sunday's game.

According to many of the Chargers, it’s easy to focus on the negatives after a loss that stung as much as Sunday’s 20-17 defeat by the Tennessee Titans.  And it’s important to do so.

That being said, it’s also important that they reinforce the positives..  As a result, they need to learn from Week 3’s loss as they turn their the page to the Dallas Cowboys. 

“The bottom line is they are getting better as a team and that is the most important thing,” said Head Coach Mike McCoy.

So what were some of the positives?  Obviously the outstanding play of Philip Rivers continues to be one, but McCoy praised the job of the offensive line, a unit that looked quite different  from the beginning to the end of the game.

“There are some good things that happened in the game,” he said.  “Starting with the offensive line, D.J. Fluker was out before going into the game.  We knew Mike Harris was going to step in. He had a great game. He did a nice job in pass protection, the running game and doing certain things to communicate with the guys up front. Throughout the game there were a number of different injuries (and) a number of our guys had to step up. We had to shuffle the deck a couple times. At the end of the game it didn’t look anything like the five guys we had in there to start the season out. There were four guys in there that were different, but to their credit they did a nice job of stepping up and doing a great job.  When you have a day like yesterday happen and guys go down up front, it’s not easy to get through. They did a heck of a job and that was a plus.”

Defensively, McCoy was proud of the play of Andrew Gachkar and Reggie Walker filling in for the injured Donald Butler and Manti Te’o at insider linebacker.

“Andrew Gachkar, on defense, made some plays and had some big tackles for us,” he continued. “He had a great opportunity. It’s great to have Reggie in there playing a number of (plays) now on defense. He has stepped-up and picked-up his game. There were a lot of pluses.”

Unfortunately, there were more negatives than positives, which happens the majority of the time when a team doesn’t come out victorious.

“There were a lot of good things and that’s what we stressed to the team,” McCoy explained.  “We have to build off the good things, but really clean-up the mistakes as soon as possible. There are a lot of little details of things we are doing offensively, defensively and on special teams. There are some little mistakes that will hurt you in a football game that is close like this. You see a lot of players making a lot of plays, doing their jobs the right way and then there is one little breakdown somewhere or another.

While McCoy highlighted making too many mistakes and not enough big plays immediately following the game, he added a few more in his day-after press conference on Monday.  One he emphasized was the Bolts poor tackling, which he says comes down to technique and fundamentals.

“That was one of the most disappointing things in the game I would say, the yards after catch or the yards after contact,” McCoy stated.  “There were a number of times there throughout the game that we missed tackles, and that’s not like us.  That’s one thing I think through the preseason games that we’ve done a nice job with.  So we’ve got to eliminate that…It goes back to the basic fundamentals of football.  Blocking and tackling.  Breaking down, doing it the right way, breaking down in space and making the plays.  That’s what it’s about, because we have only one day in pads so you always emphasize it in practice, and we’re not going to the ground in practice, so it’s the fundamentals of football.  Wrap up, tackle and do what you’ve got to do.  Run to the football, things like that.”

Another area the team must improve upon is creating turnovers.  After forcing an interception on the very first play of the season, the team has yet to yield another one.

“Turnovers in this league, from a defensive perspective, it’s all about an attitude and approach to the way you do it,” McCoy said.  “I think it’s a mindset, it’s a way you’ve got to practice and that’s what we’re trying to do here.  We started all last week and during camp with the turnover circuit, ways to create them and drills you try to do.   It’s just one of those deals where you’ve got to get your hand on more balls…It’s a mindset.  You’ve got to approach it and do it every day.  Even seven-on-seven drills, team drills, you’ve got to go after the ball as a defense.  That’s the way it is.  When the ball carrier’s carrying it you’ve got to go for strips.”

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