Take a look at top quotes from Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley, quarterback Justin Herbert and more from their Week 14 media availability:
Head Coach Brandon Staley
On focusing on the run game this week at practice:
"Just trying to improve our offense, in general, and we feel like that is an aspect that is not exclusive to the running back position. Our running game is about all 11 guys. Just trying to make the adjustments so that we can improve in that area down the stretch here."
On 'how difficult' the 'quick turnaround' is leading into Thursday Night Football:
"It's part of the job, but it's a cool part of the job. The tight turnarounds, they're the toughest for the players. Coaches, we just get on with it. What you do in seven days, you have to do in four days."
On the Broncos' defense creating takeaways 'after their game against the Dolphins':
"They have a lot of good defensive players. They've been well-trained for a long time. They've been playing in a high level system since 2019, so they have played a lot together. They were an elite unit last year, and many of those guys are still there. They had a tough game early, but I think it's a very, very good defense. It's not an accident that they've been playing very well. A lot of good players on all three levels. We have a lot of respect for them."
On P JK Scott being named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week and being 'consistent':
"You said the word consistent, and from a field-position standpoint, it's been invaluable for our team this year. In that last football game, I think that was the catalyst to us winning the football game. He made some Chargers history, and then to be recognized by the AFC, I think that it was well-deserving, and we're going to need that down the stretch. But, I think that it's also a team award, it's also a unit award. We talked about [LS] Josh Harris after the game and that group of gunners — that group of four or five guys that have been doing it the whole year, I think that they've been playing well. Then, our core protection unit covering, as well. It's a team effort, but definitely happy with JK [Scott] and his progress."
Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore
On the offense's performance against the Patriots:
"The production wasn't, obviously, what we wanted. You protect the football, you avoid the sacks, you avoid the big negatives — which, it is a positive. Ultimately, we just didn't make enough plays to have an efficient and effective game. It is what it is. Whether you play these different elements and all of those sorts of things, I thought our guys handled it really well. Again, to protect the football. I thought [QB] Justin [Herbert] threw it well in the elements. Those two things, obviously, in a positive light did help us that day."
On the running backs:
"I think there's definitely competition for a lot of different situations for us. I think that's important to keep the competition alive throughout the season. I feel great about where those guys are going. I think we've had an awesome week. I'm excited about, I think [RB] Austin [Ekeler] is going to play great this week, [RB Joshua] Josh [Kelley] will play great. I think both of those guys are going to respond in a really positive way. I'm excited for them."
On the Broncos' defense:
"Turnovers have been a huge thing. Obviously, we've seen the big sway of when they win, when they lose, how this five-game winning streak occurred. Turnovers are the big thing. You have to protect the football. They do a phenomenal job of emphasizing it. They have playmakers. They have guys with ball skill on the back end that have played a ton of football and play really well together. It's a challenge. They're definitely playing a confident game right now."
Defensive Coordinator Derrick Ansley
On if the defense 'is playing their best down the stretch':
"I think that is to be determined. I've always said, and I feel like, our best football is ahead of us. We haven't hit our stride yet. There's still a level or two that we can get to, and that's what we're striving for on the practice field. Yesterday was our fastest time, as a DB group, in, really, about six weeks, so we're getting better on the practice field and we're getting stronger, we're flying to the ball. Those habits usually trend in your favor down the stretch."
On the defense's performance last week against the Patriots:
"It was a group effort. I don't think that it was our best game, even though it was maybe our best game on the scoreboard. The guys fought for four quarters. We played hard. But, it wasn't as clean as it needed to be, and the players understand that. There are some technique things and some fundamental things that we can clean up that we have to continue to stress and harp on. Coach [Staley] is right, it was a shut out, but it wasn't a shut out performance, by our standards."
On OLB Khalil Mack:
"I think that we need to value the time that we have around him because he is special. This is what he does on a day-to-day basis. He is consistent. I sit between him and D.J. [James] in the team meetings and he comes in every day with the same approach, 'How you doing, D.A.?' Same thing every day. He's consistent that way. I'm proud of him. Good teammate, he's done a really good job of helping the young guys in his room. He's having an outstanding year, but he wouldn't make it about himself. The guys are helping him get those numbers. He's playing physical. He's our leader. We're happy that he is doing well."
Special Teams Coordinator Ryan Ficken
On the operation in the rain:
"It was nice to see that. There were, obviously, some things that we need to improve on that we have to go ahead and tighten up a little bit. That's with every situation. It doesn't matter the game. Coming out, there are things that we have to improve on. Given those conditions, I was really proud of the guys and the way they operated out there. They worked hard throughout the course of the week with the certain drills that we were doing. I was proud that they embraced it and took the challenge. It was nice to see them go out there and execute."
Quarterback Justin Herbert
On Sunday's game in New England:
"I thought we struggled. We did our best out there. We battled and we fought. We ultimately couldn't score in the red zone. I think that's the biggest part of it. I thought we did a good job of protecting the ball, but there are plenty of things on film that we can clean up."
On 'how far back' in the season the team goes in preparing for the Broncos:
"I think that's a good question. Generally, our process, as quarterbacks, is to watch the past six or seven games. I think that's outside of the scope, but you can always go back and watch. We end up watching all of the games from the year, but you pay more attention to the recent ones, just how they're playing, who they're playing and the type of things that they're putting in. It's definitely something that you can go back and watch, but generally, you tend to the more recent ones."
On the Denver defense taking the ball away:
"I think that's something that [Head] Coach [Brandon] Staley brought up in the team meeting room this morning, is focusing on that. They're causing turnovers and they're doing a good job of protecting the ball. That's something that we have to go into this game having a good mindset about it. To answer your question, they've done a good job of forcing those turnovers. They're going out and getting them — picks, fumbles. Getting after the ball. That's the good part about a defense, is if they're playing around and flying like that, they're going to be a good defense. Causing and forcing turnovers like that, it just reminds you that you have to be smart with the ball. Play smart, winning football."
Outside Linebacker Khalil Mack
On tying his career-high in sacks:
"It's a blessing, God is good. But we got a game we have to win on Sunday so that's my main focus right now."
On the defense over the last two weeks:
"It was a solid performance last week, I don't know about the week before. But yeah man, just taking steps in the right direction week to week when preparing and getting ready for the Broncos."
Safety Derwin James, Jr.
On Sunday's performance:
"It was just us going out there and doing our job for four quarters. I feel like we executed at a high level. We could be better at some spots and tackling and stuff. Overall, I feel like we came, took the field and we communicated well and got off the field."
On Denver's offense:
"They're coming in as a physical team. [Broncos QB] Russell [Wilson] is doing a great job controlling the offense. [Broncos WR] Courtland Sutton is having a great year this year. [Broncos RB] Javonte [Williams] looks like he's running the ball again, getting back from that injury. We have a good division game coming in here on Sunday."
On winning at home:
"It's just about finishing, we need to finish. I know we've probably lost by two or three points, so we just need to finish the game and, like I said, go out there and play hard."
Defensive lineman Morgan Fox
On the Broncos offense:
"They're definitely trying to place their identity in the run game. You watch their last couple games and they definitely lead off with the run. They have their lead calls and where they want to make their money."
Wide Receiver Quentin Johnston
On balancing continuing to grow as a rookie while also dealing with injuries in the room:
"First of all, being blessed to be in this position on this team with guys like Keenan [Allen], even Mike [Williams] still being hurt, being able to talk to him and some of the other guys on the team that have been on the team and fall back on them when they need help. They've definitely made it that much easier."
On the focus with five games left:
"You never want to get too high on that, too caught up in that because if you sit there worried about last game or games [before], you get off track for the most important game, which is the next game."
Wide Receiver Alex Erickson
On the WR group stepping up due to injuries:
"It is a challenge. It's hard to replace a guy like Mike Williams and Josh Palmer, so it's kind of has to be by committee. If Keenan is going to get more, then it's up to us to fill that void and do the best that we can. I think it's important to know your strengths and know who you are. Like no one is going to come in and be Mike Williams, but just playing to your strengths, not trying to do anything out of the ordinary and just make the plays when they're there. I think if you keep it simple like that, it doesn't become overwhelming and you can go out there and play to your abilities."
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