Take a look at quotes from Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley on Monday afternoon.
Head Coach Brandon Staley
On OLB Joey Bosa's 'timeline of return':
"The same comment as last night. I think the individual workout is going better. In terms of opening up that window, that's still kind of in motion. We're working through that. He looks good. It was good to have him on the sideline last night."
On if Bosa could 'return to practice at some point this week':
"I think anything is possible, but we'll let you know as soon as that window opens and make sure that's communicated to you guys before practice."
On the defensive disguises:
"As you know, that's a big tenet of how we play, is that post-snap rotation. That's something that we kind of feel like is a hallmark of the way we play. What we try to do is coordinate the disguise so that it's believable. We want you to feel like it's one thing and then it becomes another thing after the snap. There's a lot quarterbacks and a lot of great coaches — [Dolphins Head Coach] Mike [McDaniel] is one of them — that can kind of sense that it's a false disguise. We just wanted to make sure that we were well-coordinated in the things that we were disguising last night and buy ourselves a count post-snap because they're such a big play-action team. Just buy yourself a count. Our safeties, our linebackers and our star, [DB] Ja'Sir Taylor, they did a really nice job yesterday."
On the amount of man coverage that was played last night:
"Good question. If we play a pattern-match coverage, that's a zone in a breakdown for you. It's quantified as a zone, but it's going to play like man-to-man a lot. It may not play like man everywhere in the coverage, but it's going to play like man in a lot of the coverage. When I was with the Rams, [pundits] were like, 'Oh, they're a heavy zone team,' or whatever, but we're a pattern-match zone team. It doesn't play like zone where you're just dropping to a spot and there's a bunch of air in the covers. We don't play that way. Our goal was to be close to them, whether we were in pattern-match zone or man-to-man. We played a healthy amount of both last night and I think that the tape will reflect that when you watch it. I don't know the exact numbers right now, but I think what you'll see is a healthy amount of both of what I'm talking about. We certainly did not want them running through areas. That's when I feel like they become just really, really tough to cover."
On utilizing play-action on offense:
"Definitely is more the way we want to play. Just, I think you've seen this at our best, certainly. Whether it's this year when we've been relatively healthy or last year. It's a great way to affect the defense, to protect your quarterback and to be able to get the explosions. Any time we can live in that world, whether it's quarterback under or quarterback gun, that's what we want to do. We want to challenge the end of the defense. We want to change the launch point. We think [QB] Justin [Herbert] throws really well on the move. We were able to hit quite a few things last night, whether it was the keeper game, play [action] pass, checkdown off play [action] pass, screen off play [action] pass. We want to continue to be multiple that way. I think having [WR] Mike [Williams] back certainly does a lot for us, and [C] Corey [Linsley] because he's such an effective part of the running game. Trying to marry the run and the pass as best we can."
On DB Ja'Sir Taylor:
"I'm really proud of Ja. I'm not surprised because he's done an outstanding job on special teams all season long. He has a lot of the characteristics that we value in the secondary. That's why we drafted him. We did a lot of legwork on him pre-draft. I think he's exceeded everyone's expectations, for a rookie. I think, probably, his best characteristic is his make-up. He's poised, very competitive, really smart and an instinctive player. Normally, that's a pretty special combination. He kind of has the DB characteristics that you look for, in terms of being able to be a versatile player — corner, star, safety, money. He could probably do all of that. He's a good special teams player. I thought you saw him blitz last night, tackle, zone coverage, man coverage. He just has a lot of good stuff about him. Playing against those two receivers is a pretty good barometer of what type of player you are because those two guys are really good. I thought that Ja was definitely one of the reasons we won the football game."
On the run defense:
"I think outside of — they had like 28 yards off scrambles. I felt like we did a good job on it. I thought there was good knock-back. Our edges were good. I thought we tackled well, which was probably an underrated story last night. I thought we tackled well, especially in the secondary. Then, our D-Line was really active last night. I thought we had good penetration. I thought our EDGE players made a lot of good plays. [LB] Kyle Van Noy, [OLB] Khalil [Mack] and [OLB] Chris [Rumph II] made kind of splash plays on the edge. Inside, I thought [DL Breiden] Brei [Fehoko] and [DL Joe Gaziano] Joe G., I think [DL] Morgan [Fox] — those guys were all stout in there. [DL] Chris Hinton and [DL] Tyeler [Davison]. They were stout. I thought [LB Kenneth] Murray [Jr.] and [LB Drue] Tranquill were seeing the game pretty well behind the ball."
On OLB Khalil Mack moving around the defense:
"We're trying to create matchups as best we can and move him around. We know the attention that he's going to command and try to manipulate the protection as much as we can so he can get as many clean looks as possible. I thought he had really good pressure last night. He kind of got this close on a couple but was very effective in that role. The sacks are going to come for him. Two weeks in a row — I thought even in the Vegas game, moving him around, I thought he was effective. We'll continue to do that as much as we can."
On recovering the late fumbled snap:
"The football Gods, you just never know what they're thinking, guys, when that ball is on the ground. It's not a basketball, where you can predict where it's going to go. Certainly, we saw both sides of things last night. The fumbled snap, Justin [Herbert] was able to get right on it, which we're excited that we didn't kick it or something. Obviously, the onside kick at the end, that has a personality of its own, that play. I just think hustle has a lot to do with, I would say, changing your fortunes. I think hustle has a way of evening the math out. That's something that we preach in our program. I think we'll learn a lesson on the [Dolphins WR] Tyreek [Hill] play. We'll also learn a lesson on the onside kick play because hustle — [LB] Nick's [Niemann] hustle, ultimately, won us the game at the end."
On T Rashawn Slater:
"There is a potential for him to return. I do think that we're weeks out, but he's rehabilitating in our facility and doing well. That timeline certainly — I know you guys are compelled to continually ask about these players. His timeline is definitely the same as [OLB] Joey Bosa. I want to make that very clear so that, perhaps, we can conserve some of that. I think there is definitely a chance — I'm a pretty optimistic person, just in general. He's given me pretty good reason to be optimistic. He's healing well. I would expect that if Rashawn could do it, he will."
On if Slater could return 'in the regular season':
"Yes. What I would say is that it's not impossible. It has not been communicated to me that it's impossible. That's all I can say. He's doing well. What I'm saying to you is that he's doing well."
On QB Justin Herbert's celebration after the victory:
"I'm not going to interpret what Justin is feeling. I'm going to let him interpret his feelings for you guys and I'm sure that will be a fun process. I would tell you that our team played a very hungry game last night. I thought there was a lot of energy that we used in all three phases. I think starting with Justin and how he played in the game — not just the passing and play-making, but I'm just talking about affecting his teammates in a positive way. I think our team comes alive when he plays that way. I think you guys have seen it before. I think he's battled this entire season and has shown the toughness. The highest level of toughness that you could want from a quarterback. You get a couple of weapons back and he's able to really go play his game, and he goes and plays that type of way in primetime — everyone is going to feed off that energy. I think he can sense that, too, when he plays with that energy how he's having that effect on people. I'm going to let him speak for himself in terms of all the other stuff, but I know what he did a great job of last night was affecting his teammates beyond the performance. You guys were all at [the game], but I just think the other part of it was as important for us as anything. We go out there in two-minute at the end of the game and he's down there with the defense before we take the field. Just those little things, I thought were really big in the game."
On evaluating Herbert in comparison to Tagovailoa:
"I've commented on it many times; I measure Justin [Herbert] against one person and one person only, and that's himself. That's the only person that I can think of that I would ever want to compare him to. He played a good game last night. He can play better than he did last night — just so you guys know, he can play better than that — and I believe that he will play better than that. He played really hard last night and made a lot of big plays and played with a lot of confidence. He made some throws that are signature and made a bunch of signature scrambles. He hung tough, like he always does. What you want, more than anything, is you want your best players — when it's the most competitive type of situation — you want your guys to rise to the occasion, but he has proven that his entire career, so I don't know if anything last night was a statement or anything because he has played like that. Whenever the challenge has been the biggest, I've always felt like he has risen to that occasion. He had a great chance last night in front of the world to have a signature performance, and that's what he did."
On if he is involved with the offense's red zone plans:
"It's definitely a team operation. I'm definitely involved. I deserve as much criticism as anybody. We need to score the ball better down there. Last year, we were a top-five unit in the red area and I was jacked about that. It's something that's very core to me, how we play in the red zone. This year, on defense, we're playing fantastic down there. I think that we can play even better. We're close to being in the top-five. Offensively it's been up and down. I think it's that for a lot of reasons, as you all know, but we have to have cleaner operation. Starting with operation, it's no penalties. You can't be a penalized team down there. It gets really hard to score touchdowns when you're penalized. You can go back in our season and see a bunch of examples of us going backwards, then not scoring. We have to run the ball better down there. How you run the ball, that is going to change, based on the opponent. You have to take advantage of who you have. We have to run the ball better. In terms of the passing game, we have to make sure that we force them to defend all five [eligible receivers], and the quarterback's legs have to be a factor. That's pretty much the red zone in a nutshell. We have to get a lot better at it because two-of-six in the red zone against the best people that you play is not going to get it done."
On injury updates:
"[CB] Bryce [Callahan], [DL] Sebastian [Joseph-Day] and [T] Trey [Pipkins III] will be back in practice this week. We're going to do a walk-through on Wednesday. You will see them in practice on Thursday. [S] Derwin [James Jr.] is still day-to-day. You will know as we go through this week. That's where that is at."
On building off of last night's win into this week of practice:
"Defining the plan and making sure that your guys really understand why we're doing everything that we're doing, putting them through the paces. Make sure that you're really putting them through the paces of what you want them to get accomplished. Define the roles during the week so that everyone has a clear understanding of what their part in it is. Then, as you get closer to the game, just making sure that mindset is right, in terms of what you need to do and how you need to do it. When I talk about us playing hard last night, I think that we've played hard all season. That's what I also said last night. I just felt like what stood out to me — when people talk about our scheme and plan and stuff like that — what stood out to me was how hard we played last night. I say that as a complement to our guys. There were a lot of good plays, good offense, good defense and good special teams, but I felt like we played really hard. As a coach, I'm never going to take that for granted, that they played really hard. I thought that they played for each other and I thought that was why we were able to win the game."
On CB Michael Davis' performance over the last few weeks:
"He has battled. Really since the bye [week], he has done a really nice job for us in pass coverage. He's challenging and being more physical at the line of scrimmage. I think that we have challenged him to use his hands and get on people and really use that length to steer people. Not cushioning and inching, but using those gifts. We know that he is a strong guy. He is long-armed, strong and experienced. He's been taking that fight to the opponent and playing with confidence. We love coaching him. I think that he's a great story. Proud of him. We need him to keep making plays for us. He was up to the challenge last night. The challenges are going to get bigger as we go."
On limiting the Dolphins' offense:
"It's on all three levels [of the defense]. It really involves the back seven, in terms of how tight the coverage is going to be and where the body presence is going to be, and changing up the rotations, in terms of what [Tagovailoa] is looking at. It's not as simplistic as just taking away in-breaking routes because Tua [Tagovailoa] has had plenty of passes outside of the numbers, if you guys have watched him play. This guy is throwing 25-yard blaze outs that these 4.2 [40-yard-dash] guys are running. He's throwing it outside there. There are plenty of examples of Tua throwing outside of the numbers. He completed a 60-yard touchdown last night outside the numbers, so it's not like Tua can't make it there. The is having a really good season. I think what our guys did was just trying and get in the passing lanes more, just be more present in the passing lane in the back seven. I thought that our guys did a good job of executing the gameplan."
On RB Joshua Kelley's performance over the last couple of games:
"I think you're seeing the burst because he's healthy, coming off the knee. I think you're seeing the burst that he had prior to being injured. He was really good on the third-and-one. He had a really nice cut-back run early in the game that was, I thought, a really really good cut. He saw it and just hit it. He's breaking tackles, doing a nice job as a pass-receiver. He had that one nice catch for six yards on a check-down. He has to continue to bring it for us. He's doing a good job on special teams. Definitely excited to get him back in the mix."
On the offense allowing four sacks last night and if Herbert 'is holding on to the ball for too long':
"Justin [Herbert] doesn't hold the ball. He's not one of these quarterbacks that you're worried about. Taking a bad sack, he doesn't do that very much. They have a very good front, you you have to give credit where credit is due. They've got a really good front seven. They have two premium edge rushers. [Dolphins LB] Melvin Ingram is still a very disruptive payer. They have [Dolphins DT Christian] Wilkins, [Dolphins DT Raekwon] Davis, [Dolphins DT] Zach Sieler inside who are really good. They have good blitzers at linebacker with [Dolphins LB] Jerome Baker and [Dolphins LB Elandon] Roberts. Then, they have DBs that can rush with [Dolphins S Eric] Rowe and [Dolphins S Jevon] Holland. A very tough unit to play against. I felt like our guys hung in there tough against that group. You're going to have to make plays with your legs at quarterback when you're playing against a good, good front. I thought that Justin did a nice job of that, of buying time. Loose plays to run, I thought he had a couple of loose plays to throw, which were awesome. I thought that we did enough. I don't like four sacks. It was really five, they took the one away from [Dolphins LB Jaelan] Phillips. We have to keep working hard at that. He was strong with the ball. We're just going to have to continue to mix it up. I'll tell you one thing, this guy doesn't take sacks. I think that there was one time where they dropped eight or whatever, there was a sack. It's not ideal, but the alternative is trying to force it, jam it, throw into eight guys, and then you turn it over. You see that all of the time. Or, you're late and the ball gets tipped and it's an interception, or something like that. Sometimes, what may be determined as a sack, you need to look at it and see what happened on the play. They're not all created equal. We have to keep working hard at it, though, because you don't like seeing your quarterback get five of them in a game. The zero [blitz] in the red zone was a tough one. I just didn't feel like he could find the [running] back on it. It was tough. We have to keep working hard at it, for sure. When you stay out of negative plays, you're just a lot more successful in that way. Penalties and sacks, we have to avoid those, for sure."
On Herbert 'spiking a ball upon entering the locker room':
"It was a game ball from NBC's Sunday Night Football."
On if he has 'ever seen a player spike a ball in the locker room following a game':
"I feel like someone did after we beat Mount Union at Mount Union when I was at John Carroll in 2016 [laughter]. That was a huge win. There were a lot of things thrown in that locker room after we beat them [laughter]."
On 'what went wrong' on the forced fumble that was ultimately recovered by Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill and returned for a touchdown:
"Until that whistle is blown, you have to have 11 guys that are in search of the football. I think that there was some guys who stopped. If you watch the play closely, especially from the TV copy, there are some guys who kind of stopped because they didn't know where the ball was, but when you don't hear that whistle, you have to keep trying to search for it. Tyreek [Hill] was there. As you saw, he's a tough guy to catch."
On the delay of game on the offense's opening drive of the second half:
"We were caught in-between a substitution there. I didn't want to take a time out that early in the second half. They matched, they had a late substitution, defensively, and we were kind of caught in-between. I just didn't feel like taking a timeout there because if the game got tight — I can't stand that — so I would rather take the five [-yard penalty] there. That's on me."
On utilizing 'less varied personnel groupings' defensively last night compared to 'more variety in personnel groupings' when James Jr. is active:
"What you should not do is draw a conclusion that two plus two is four, because that is not the conclusion to be drawn from that. When you're playing with as many new guys in a gameplan, the last thing that you want to do is jerk them around, when you're playing with as many backups as we were on both levels. What you don't want is a bunch of in-and-out of the game. We're used to doing that when we're at full strength. We're used to doing it because we built our front lines to be able to play that way. That's kind of a hallmark of the way we play. But when you get cleaned out, what you really want to do is take an approach where you feel like you can get consistency from the group out there so that they can play fast. Then, have enough disguise, have enough variation within that grouping of what you're playing — blitzes, coverages, all that — so that they can get in a comfort zone. Now, we substituted on third down and stuff like that, just like we always do, but our staff just felt like letting our guys settle in and play fast together in that plan because of who they're going against, too. They have enough to worry about with those two receivers, we don't want them worrying about who is in and who is out, what grouping we are in. 'Let's just go play.' Our guys did a good job with that."
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