Here's what Brandon Staley, Kenneth Murray Jr. and Corey Linsley had to say regarding their Week 10 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.
Head coach Brandon Staley on Chargers OLB Uchenna Nwosu's performance against the Vikings
"Uchenna was outstanding in the game yesterday. I felt like yesterday was our best edge day. We really challenged those guys this week. I talked to you guys about how I think that we're finding our sweet spot in the run front and I think that yesterday was a real reflection of that, and it started with our edges; [OLBs] Joey [Bosa], Uchenna [Nwosu], Kyler [Fackrell], Chris [Rumph II] — K9 [LB Kenneth Murray Jr.], when he was on the edge. I thought that we were really, really physical at the point of attack. As you guys know, both of those backs are really, really good. I felt like it was as complete of a performance that we've had and it started with our edges. I thought Uchenna was really physical. I thought that he rushed. I thought his takeoff was a lot different yesterday. We've really been emphasizing take-off and get-off on the edge. I thought that was our best game."
Brandon Staley on being a head coach in the NFL
"I think every day is a huge learning experience for me, but it's energizing. Every day, I gain more and more confidence in myself. I really love it — I really love doing this. I feel like nine games in, I have a pretty good sense of who are team is, and where we are, where we need to go. That's a good thing. I think we've established a good way of playing, a good way of operating on a day-to-day basis. Setting high expectations for performance that I think everybody understands. And now we have the second half of our season; it's going to really define our season. We're halfway — passed halfway, now — and we've given ourselves the chance to compete. But we have to get to work, we have to improve, and that's also on my mind. When I wake up, it's how much we need to improve, and that's where I've been spending a lot of my energy."
Brandon Staley on Mike Williams
"I like the way that he's practicing. I like the way that he's playing. We have to continue to get him involved. The point is well-taken. We play better when Mike is involved, that's for sure. That's what are our games state so far through nine games; when Mike's involved, we perform better. This last game, the Baltimore game and the New England game, we weren't able to get him the football like we hoped, and those were all three losses. We have to continue to feature him, but not disappointed with him at all. I know that he's at the front of all of our thoughts. Like I said last week, I love the way that he's practicing. He is going to have a huge impact on our season moving forward, that's for sure."
Brandon Staley on the Chargers' passing attack
"I think that our passing attack is still very prolific, in terms of where we're ranked and our passing yards and our frequency of throws and stuff like that — how we're playing on third down, red zone. I think that we can improve. The thing that I'm excited about is that I like where we're ranked in terms of yardage, and I think that we can improve, but I think where we need to go as a passing offense — as just an offense, in general — is just scoring the ball better. I think that we need to score the ball better. That happens when you get more explosions. I think that's where, yesterday, we fell short."
Kenneth Murray Jr. on how he felt in his first game back
"It felt good. It's been five games, so getting back out there, moving around, and getting back to game speed felt good. A couple times, I came out to regain my breath. But it felt good. Today, I feel a little sorer than usual, but that's all a part of getting back."
Murray Jr. on how he felt getting reps as an edge rusher
"It went well. I feel like there are things I can do to be better. As we're going throughout the game, I kept talking to my coach [Defensive Line/OLBs], saying, 'Man, I see this. I can shoot it here; I can be better here to make more impact plays.' But it went well. That plan started to develop as I started to come back and get healthier. Just talking about giving me more of a role on the edge, and also playing inside backer as well, which I feel is good. I like that role because it allows me to be multiple and show my versatility. I feel like that's something I'm capable of doing — being able to bounce back from the edge to inside linebacker. Just playing a bunch of different things. That's really where it came from, and I feel like I handled it pretty well yesterday."
Murray Jr. on what playing both positions allows him to do
"Both allow me to be disruptive, it just depends on what kind of play is being ran at us, and what I'm seeing. I feel like it doesn't matter. Being on the edge, I can be disruptive by coming off the edge, or I can be disruptive playing a run off the edge. And I feel like at inside backer, I can be disruptive depending on what I see and knowing when I can shoot my shot and when I can't shoot my shot. I really do feel comfortable in both positions because it's been something I've done pretty much my whole career. At Oklahoma, I played some edge snaps and some inside backer snaps. Being versatile isn't something I struggle with."
Corey Linsley on limiting inconsistencies on offense
"Just knowing that we are going to have these inconsistencies, and the pressure that we have on ourselves to keep moving forward and keep growing in this system and learning different things that come up. Now we can have answers to them. The more we can do that, the less these inconsistencies are going to come up. I do feel like there's no one reason, it's just an execution thing. I need to do a better job executing, other guys on the team will acknowledge that as well."
Linsley on the continuity of the offensive line
"That acknowledgement to know we're growing, to know this is the first time that we've all played with each other, and to consistently attack each day, communicate and talk about different looks and issues that come up. There's a long list of things that we can improve on. The guys in the room are all great, and they come to work every day, and we have the right thing on our mind. I feel like [Run Game Coordinator/OL] Frank [Smith] and [Assistant Offensive Line] Shaun [Sarrett] are fantastic guys. We've come a long way from training camp, but we obviously didn't play well enough to win [on Sunday]. Team loss, team win — however you want to paint it each week — it is what it is. We have to keep growing, we have to keep communicating, and talking about the different issues that come up. That's how we'll get where we want to be."
Linsley on playing with a new offensive line group
"We've done a pretty good job, and I feel like there's such a small margin for error in this league. Especially for having played a lot of good teams. I feel like we've beat some good teams, we've lost to some good teams. It's not an excuse, it's just an acknowledgement...I feel like to keep growing, to keep getting better, to lessen the inconsistencies, we just need to keep pushing through. That's the only way I know how to do it."
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