Take a look at top quotes from Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley, quarterback Justin Herbert and more from their Week 13 media availability:
Head Coach Brandon Staley
On the red zone offense:
"It's been an emphasis — it's always a point of emphasis, I think for us. It's such an important field zone. We've been really good there this season. The past couple weeks with the two red zone turnovers, that's been the emphasis for us. Making sure we're strong with the ball down there. Otherwise, I think we've been productive down there as an offense."
On 'the challenges of preparing for three different quarterbacks' and if has ever had to do that before:
"Not that I can think of. [Patriots QB] Malik [Cunningham], his skillset is different. He's an outstanding athlete. He was a super productive player in college. That's where things change, when he is in the game, because of what he can do athletically. Things are more similar when [Patriots QB] Mac [Jones] and [Patriots QB] Bailey [Zappe] are the quarterback. We've played against Mac. Mac has a lot of experience. Bailey has played in a lot of games, too. There's a body of work to go on. [Patriots Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach] Bill O'Brien is a really good offensive coach."
On 'building off of the performance of the defense last week':
"The energy and the communication, I thought, was consistent through four quarters. I really thought that we met their level and played at a high level. I thought our physicality and toughness was as good as it's been. Then, I thought that our execution was as good as it's been. We executed for four quarters, that's what we have to build on. Our guys are playing hard, they've played hard the whole season, but our execution is what gave us the chance to win that football game. How we played in the critical situations in the game, it gave us a chance. I think the execution part is where we're going to keep continuing our focus. That's what we need to build off of."
Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore
On the performance of the offense last week:
"Each game has good and bad. We certainly wanted to play better. We didn't get it done. You have to grow from it and you have to continue to try and find ways to navigate that."
On the 'identity that the group is searching for' in the run game:
"Certainly, there's a goal to be downhill when we can, with some of the tight inside zone and some of the duo-type run plays, where you get the double teams. That was always the goal and the outlook, and we still have, certainly, incorporated that a healthy dose. You're trying to navigate and find what are the other pieces and how can we continue to build this run game just to be as successful as it possibly can. If you have to navigate some other paths, we have to be open to that."
On comparing Keenan Allen to his former teammate with the Lions, Hall of Fame WR Calvin Johnson:
"Two of the best receivers, certainly, that I've ever been exposed to, in any way or seen in the NFL. Every player is different, but Keenan [Allen] just has a phenomenal way. He has a great presence, great awareness. He knows how to play this game at such a high level, from his route-running to his detail to his vision to, obviously, his hands. It's pretty incredible."
Defensive Coordinator Derrick Ansley
On OLB Khalil Mack being named AFC Defensive Player of the Month:
"You wouldn't know he was 32 [years old], unless you looked at his driver's license [laughter]. He's playing fast. He's playing with emotion, playing with power. He's playing consistent. Congrats to him for winning AFC Defensive Player of the Month. If you asked him, he would say that's a defensive team award because a lot of people helped him get those sacks. He's got them a lot on his own, too. Kudos to him for getting that award."
On the defense for Week 13:
"I think we'll find out on Sunday what lineup we'll start out there. The guys are practicing hard, everybody gets reps. We practice a lot, in terms of getting the volume of reps. Today was third down, so you saw a lot of different combination of defensive backs in there. We're going to play the guys that we think give us the best chance to win. The good thing is we have a bunch of good guys in that room that are all for each other."
On the 'challenge' of preparing for three quarterbacks:
"They're all kind of different. [Patriots QB] Mac [Jones] and [Patriots QB Bailey] Zappe are kind of similar and then you have [Patriots QB] Malik [Cunningham], who has a different skillset then those guys. We have to get ready for whoever goes out there. They're all kind of different, but they're all kind of the same. It starts with the ground game, with those two backs that they have who are really, really good. [Patriots Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach] Bill O'Brien has coached a lot of good ball there and [Patriots Head] Coach [Bill] Belichick. They'll have whoever they put under center ready to go. They all have our full attention."
Quarterback Justin Herbert
On his takeaways from last week's game:
"I think that it starts with the turnovers, four turnovers. You can't expect to win football games like that. I don't think that we created enough explosive plays. We had our shots in the red zone and we didn't convert on all those. I think those three things are the most important for our offense and that's where we fall short."
On 'scrambling more' as of late:
"I think it's just one of those things where you go through your reads, and if you know if the production happens to breakdown, or you go through your reads and everyone's covered, you have to do something. You can't just sit back there and throw the ball away or take the sack. So, it's find a rush lane, maybe get a couple of yards. I think we've done a good job of protecting it up front. If things do get covered downfield, I'm able to kind of scramble around and find something. But, there's an aspect of staying in the pocket longer and making sure that you're able to make a play downfield."
On 'the biggest challenge' when facing the Patriots' defense:
"They are really sound, fundamentally. They're really well-coached and they have some really talented guys on that side of the ball. When you pair that together, you're going to get a really good defense. We have to do a good job of watching film and having a good protection plan, especially this week."
Outside Linebacker Khalil Mack
On the season so far:
"Obviously, we didn't want to see ourselves in this position. But we can't hang our head right now. We're in the thick of it and have to get ready for New England."
On his successes this season:
"This game, there's 11 guys on the field and in order to make those plays, get sacks or whatever the case may be, you have to have great teammates. These guys, they work hard. Between Tuli, Nick [Williams], [Sebastian Joseph-Day], [Austin Johnson], Tito [Ogbonnia], [Kenneth Murray, Jr.], Eric, these guys work hard. Whether I'm the one receiving the benefit of getting a sack or whatever the case may be, I'll take it. [Shoot], if it was anybody I would be just as excited for them. Ultimately, it's a team game, and I'm trying to win. That's all I really care about. Stats, whatever comes with it, comes with it, but I'm trying to win ballgames. I'm at that stage of my career where I want to [expletive] win. That's it."
Safety Derwin James, Jr.
On 'why' the secondary was 'more connected;:
"I feel like the guys that got the opportunity to play in the game, they capitalized on the opportunity. It started in practice. All week long, they prepared. We came out and executed the game plan. I feel like when you do that and when your number is called, and you go out and execute, that is what you can get."
On the performance of the defense last week:
"I feel like we didn't get the last stop in the end. That's what really mattered the most, getting the ball at the end. But, overall, we were connected. It was the most we've been connected, I feel like, this season."
On is evaluation of the season:
"Like I've said, it's definitely been tough. Not the way anyone would have predicted, even myself, coming into this season. I'm in the moment, man. I'm not flinching. I'm going to keep going hard, keep going strong every day and do everything I can to help the team win."
Outside linebacker Tuli Tuipulotu
On how OLB Khalil Mack has helped him:
"I think just the mentality part. Being a dog. One thing about K-Mack that's new recently is that he's been talking a lot during the games, talking smack and getting hyped. That's something I didn't really see in the beginning of the season, but that's something I've been seeing lately. It's great, I think it fuels everybody up."
Linebacker Eric Kendricks
On OLB Khalil Mack:
"It's inspiring to me to watch him. Maybe you take it for granted because we know the kind of player he is day-in and day-out, but for him to be playing at the high level he is — no matter what the circumstance is — I see that. He's running to the ball and that motivates me to get there as well."
CB Deane Leonard
On his development since joining and help from veterans:
"I think as a group just giving each other confidence. That's the biggest thing for me, just playing with confidence. There's a lot of scheme stuff and technique that you grow as a player, but the confidence is the biggest thing moving forward and being connected with your teammates as you go."
On preparing for Patriots QBs:
"I think first it's to focus on our job, focusing on what our job is every play. It's understanding where they want to get the ball, where they want to hit us. I think that's how we're going to go about it."
Safety Jaylinn Hawkins
On his adjustment since joining the Chargers:
"They've helped me out a lot. These coaches have helped me out a lot, met extra with them whenever I had time, still meeting extra. The guys in the back have helped me out. We've got a great group, [Alohi Gilman], [Derwin James, Jr.], [Asante Samuel, Jr.], [Dean Marlowe], all of us. All of us help each other, each one teach one, that helped me out a lot. It made it an easier transition because everybody was willing to help."
On building off of last Sunday:
"Just win the day. That's the main thing with the guys as a unit, we go out there in practice and try to win the day. We'll let the rest take care of itself but what matters is being present and winning the day."
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