Take a look at top quotes from Chargers Interim Head Coach Giff Smith, quarterback Easton Stick and more from their Week 17 media availability:
Interim Head Coach Giff Smith
On the Broncos' quarterback situation and 'if that changes anything':
"Their strength is their offensive line and running game. Obviously, [Broncos QB] Russell [Wilson] is a great player. I'm sure they did what they thought was right. We'll prepare for whoever goes out there, even if they switch it back. We'll have a gameplan for all the quarterbacks."
On 'what it says about players wanting to come back and play this season':
"I think it's the character of the individual that you're seeing, and the way that the organizations has brought the right guys in here. They want to get out there and compete and they want to play for their brother. That's a credit to the Chargers organization."
On 'the most difficult about being the head coach' last Sunday:
"Really nothing during the game. I've been in the business a long time, so on game day, nothing. I think during the week is the challenge that you have never been through. But, on game day, all three coordinators did such a great job, so you just manage the game for them. I was comfortable in that aspect."
Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore
On QB Easton Stick's development:
"Easton [Stick] has done a nice job. He has certainly given us a chance these last couple of weeks, certainly this past week. I think that he operates really well. He is throwing it well. Obviously, his legs have come alive, certainly last week. It's something for him to build on, but I think that he is definitely doing a nice job."
On Stick's ability to run:
"It's something that he has utilized for a long time, certainly through his college days at North Dakota State. It's an area that we were able to utilize last week. We'll see where it fits in, gameplan-wise, over the next couple of weeks."
On if there is an element where he is 'OK' with Stick not sliding due to 'how taking a hit could galvanize the sideline':
"It's a slippery slope. Obviously, let guys play, but you have to be smart about it. When it's unnecessary, obviously, you want to be aware of it. It's a piece of Easton's game that he has utilized and he is doing a really good job with it."
Defensive Coordinator Derrick Ansley
On his first NFL game calling the defensive plays:
"Well, I thought that there were a lot of positives. I have to give a lot of credit to my staff, they made the transition very smooth. From [Interim Head Coach] Giff [Smith], with the leadership from a big-picture, all the way down to [Assistant Defensive Line Coach John] Timu with the D-line, [Defensive Quality Control Coach] Robert Muschamp with the EDGE, [Defensive Passing Game Coordinator/Secondary Coach] Tommy [Donatell] with the back end, [Linebackers Coach] Jeff [Howard] and [Front Seven Specialist] Mike [Hiestand] with the linebackers. They did a really good job of helping us structure the week, dividing the workload. On Saturday, it was good to see us come together like that."
On S Derwin James, Jr.'s performance in the game:
"I was pleased with his play. Obviously, if you ask him, I'm sure that he will say that he wished that he could have a couple of plays back. That's the competitive nature in him. He played calm, he played physical, he covered guys, he blitzed, he tackled, all of the things that the Star needs to do. It's a really three positions in one; you need to cover like a corner, you need to tackle in space like a safety and you have to play the run like a linebacker. He can do all of those things at a high level."
On Broncos QB Jarrett Stidham:
"I'm 0-1 versus Jarrett Stidham, he beat me in 2017 when I was at Alabama [laughter]. He's a good player, pocket guy. He has sneaky athleticism. He's bigger than you think. We've researched him from the Raiders and Denver and we have a pretty good idea of who he is. We have to do a really good job of containing him because he can beat you in multiple ways."
Special Teams Coordinator Ryan Ficken
On K Cameron Dicker:
"I think the mental part of it is very important. The way he approaches the game. I think that's what makes him a special kicker, a special player. He is just a normal guy. A great teammate. He always puts everyone else first. I think these guys, you know, like playing for him as well. I think you see the success because of the opportunity that he gets and has, and also with our punter, with our snapper. The rapport that they all have with one another. That's what I do like him, though, to answer your question, in terms of his mental makeup. It doesn't matter how big of a kick he makes or how sure of a kick it is — he's on the next one. That next one usually is the kickoff coming up. We have to make sure we have a great kickoff. I think he's done a great job with that."
Quarterback Easton Stick
On 'the focus for the last two games':
"Just trying to win. I've said it before, you put everything into this game. When you do that, obviously, there's a ton of pride. This matters to a lot of people — not just in this building, but especially in this building, it matters a lot. We're going out there to get better on the field here and go out on Sunday to win."
On his 'growth' since playing the Broncos in his season debut three weeks ago:
"I think you get better every single rep you take. That's the goal, at least. I've really enjoyed being in the huddle with the guys, communicating, getting lined up and going to play. It's been a lot of fun. I think we've gotten better over the last two weeks. We'll just try to clean up some little things and hopefully go play really well on Sunday."
On the Broncos' defense:
"It's a tough group. It's just really well connected, from the front all the way through the secondary. They have good players at every level. You can tell that they communicate really well. They're on the same page. There's just not a lot of space, not a lot of air, when you watch the tape and the routes and things like that. They're physical. They have guys that can rush. Their linebackers play fast and downhill and are really physical. With [Broncos CB Patrick] Surtain [II] and with [Broncos S Justin] Simmons on the back end, it's a really good group."
Outside Linebacker Khalil Mack
On Chargers Interim Head Coach Giff Smith:
"Giff is a special guy, man. Been working with him for two years now … and it's special to see him in that position. But he carried himself like that when he was an assistant coach."
On preparing for Broncos QB Jarrett Stidham:
"Prepare the same way … just making sure we get ready for Stidham and whatever they have offensively this week," Mack said. "We know what he's capable of."
Safety Derwin James, Jr.
On the Broncos' move to start QB Jarrett Stidham:
"It doesn't change our mindset, going forward. With the guys that we have on defense, we have to come out and make it about us. I feel like if we come out, compete and play our brand of ball, that we know we can play, I feel like we'll like what we see."
On only two games remaining:
"Definitely frustrating. This is not the way that we wanted this season to go. To lose six, seven games, whatever it is, by two or three points, definitely not the way that we wanted the season to go. These last two games, we have a chance to close it out how we want to and get the feeling that we know that we can have around here."
On if the team 'has something to prove':
"I feel like any time that you suit up in the NFL, I know that for sure — for me, I feel like I always have something to prove. I feel like there are a lot of people that play this game that wish that they could. Just to be in a position to play the game as a professional, that's something to prove itself."
Linebacker Eric Kendricks
On the final two games:
"Denver is a fun place to play. We're in a road environment, hostile environment. We're still suiting up, we're still putting on a professional jersey. You just have to think big picture, this is our dream since we were kids so you have to take advantage of it. I don't care what the stakes are or whatever, you got to be ready to play these games. I'll be ready to play for sure."
Guard Jamaree Salyer
On the last two games:
"At the end of the day, we're still playing to win. This organization takes great pride in playing games to win them. I know for us, it's more of a pride thing than anything. All of us want to put out good tape so we want to play well. At the of the day, what's wrong with winning at this point. No one is cashing in the towel, nobody is throwing in the towel, we just want to win games and play the best we can."
Defensive lineman Scott Matlock
On his rookie season so far:
"Honestly it's gone by really, really fast. Like I blinked and we have two games left. Obviously I'm just trying to make the most of every single rep out there, trying to make it the best I can and do my job to help this team win games. It's really gone by fast."
On trying to improve with each rep:
"For me, I think throughout the season I can myself getting better little by little. I'm a different player than I was game one, game two and that's the most important things. Am I improving week in and week out. These last two weeks I just want to make sure I continue to get better, put good things on tape and just embrace these guys and embrace this locker room."
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