Here's what coach Staley, Justin Herbert and coach Swinton had to say heading into Week 8 of 2021.
Justin Herbert on the bye week
"I think that the bye week was huge for us, and for those guys up front, especially with getting their bodies back. It's a long season, so for those guys to get some much needed rest, I think it's great. I think that it was a great opportunity for us to attack this week and have a good week of practice, which we did. Looking forward to the game on Sunday."
Justin Herbert on the challenges the Patriots defense present
"A lot of challenges. They're incredibly well-coached. They make all of their looks look the same. They disguise very well and they have some really talented guys on defense. They're able to make plays in all three aspects of the game, whether that's up front, in the middle or deep in coverage. They do a fantastic job."
Justin Herbert on seeing former Chargers tight end Hunter Henry on Sunday
""We've texted a little bit throughout the season, and especially during the offseason. I was a huge fan of Hunter. We got pretty close. Just excited to see all of the things that he has done. I wish him nothing but the best...he was the first guy to reach out to me as soon as I got drafted. We created that bond of lifting, throwing and doing all of these things. He helped me so much on the field, and off of the field, as well. A great mentor, a great friend and one of those guys that I want to stay in touch with throughout his career."
Justin Herbert on takeaways from 'self-scouting' over the bye week
"I think that there are a bunch of areas that we can improve on; first-down aggressiveness, I think that on third down, we need to complete more. I think that we need to move the ball better, especially early on in the game, so that we can limit the time that the defense is on the field. I think that one of the things that we made a mistake on in the Ravens game is that we let the defense be on the field for too long. You can't expect to win playing football like that. That's just one of the things that we have to work on."
Brandon Staley on Austin Ekeler's hip injury
"He practiced phenomenally well. He came back [from the bye week] and had a really high-level practice, finishing every run like crazy. He just came up a little bit sore after the practice. It didn't happen during the practice. He just had a little bit of soreness in his hip. He felt much better these last two days. Real hopeful that he can play."
Brandon Staley on Asante Samuel Jr.
"He played fantastic last week against Baltimore. He was really, really good in the game. He has responded just like how we knew that he would. I think what says so much about Asante is that we were so surprised that he had a couple of tough plays against Cleveland. It just shows you the standard that he has set, much like [T] Rashawn [Slater]. They've set really high standards for their performance, and they're only six games into their careers. Asante has practiced outstanding this week. He was really good yesterday. He made a couple of plays yesterday that I was pumped up about. We'll see what he does this week against a really good team. He's the right guy to be coaching, and we're going to build our defense with him, for sure."
Brandon Staley on Justin Herbert's mobility
"It's such a strength of his, and I think that any strength of his is a strength of ours. I don't think that you can ever have enough of it. Every game takes this shape and life of its own, but what I do think you can do is commit to a gameplan. On offense, you can do that with those specific plays because of where they come. You can implement them on any down-or-distance, any field zone. That's a point of emphasis for us, to create more of those types of plays for him. What it will do is create more space for our offense, more effectiveness and explosions. Hopefully, we can do that moving forward through the second half of the season."
Derius Swinton on signing kicker Dustin Hopkins
"I think, as [Head] Coach [Brandon Staley] said, we look at the roster every week and we look at how we can improve. I think, when he talks about Dustin, his experience and things he can do — and the experience he has in the league. This guy has done it a long time. He has been productive. It's just, a guy like that, you can't pass up on. I think, as everyone knows, given the lack of production in that area, it's something where [K] Tristan [Vizcaino] moves into a development role and Dustin is the experienced guy that we're going to lean on that has been in those situations."
Derius Swinton on what Andre Roberts brings to the Chargers
"I don't know how many times you can look at in the NFL where a three-time Pro Bowler is now a free agent. You can't just pass that up. He has an impact in everywhere that he goes. If you look at just what he's done professional-wise the last few years of his career, the guy is a pro. He's a true pro. This is what he does. He's an expert at it — his conversation with the blockers and everything is just some high-level conversations. So, just adding those two pieces to a young team, I think that helps you more than anything."
Derius Swinton on scheming with Andre Roberts
"I've seen a lot and he's seen a lot. We can talk through it. He was in that division and played them twice per year for a while. It's kind of, 'Hey, when you did this, what did you think? When you did this, what did you think?' [And he can respond,] 'Hey, when I was here, I've done this.' When I was in Denver playing against them, it was the same conversation and then we would build our scheme based off of that. We try to take that approach in everything that we do. It's, 'Hey, what do our players do well? How do we build it around them?' "
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