Take a look at top quotes from Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley, quarterback Justin Herbert and more from their Week 7 media availability:
Head Coach Brandon Staley
On the 'challenges Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes presents':
"I think the big challenge is that it's every play. You've got to have the stamina to have that type of awareness, that type of discipline, you've got to compete. You're not going to keep him in there the whole time, Pat [Mahomes] has proven no matter how you rush him, he's determined, he's going to go. He's an outstanding player and again, it takes a team. You've got to stay fresh as you can for four quarters because it's going to be that type of game. But there's an element to him that you can't simulate and what you've got to be able to do when he's making those tough, off-schedule, creative plays, you've got to have 11 guys who are playing hard and swarming and doing all the right things when it becomes a post-snap opportunity our guys are trained in what to do and how to do it. And what you've got to be able to do is you've got to be able to do it over, and over, and over again because he's going to compete until the end of the game."
On 'what has led to' OLB Khalil Mack's performance over the last two games:
"I think that the easy answer is health. He is really healthy, and a healthy Khalil Mack is a productive Khalil Mack. I think we've done an outstanding job against the run, which has earned him more opportunities to rush. Against [Raiders RB Josh] Jacobs and [Cowboys RB Tony] Pollard, we had more opportunities to rush. I think he has capitalized on his matchups. When you can get into a rhythm, as a rusher, that's as good as Khalil is, I think that you're going to be consistent around the quarterback, which is what he has been. I would say the same thing about Foxy [DL Morgan Fox]. It really starts with us killing the run. When they get those consistency of opportunities, pass-rushing, those guys are really good."
On if this game is a 'really critical game':
"They're all critical. But, I think, especially after a tough loss, you have to respond the right way. I think the way that you do that is staying consistent in your approach and being committed to how you do things. This is going to be a different week because it's a shorter week, but in terms of the approach of how we attack a plan and what's needed to be our best for Sunday, that has to stay the same. What you have to focus on are the keys to winning. What ultimately is going to impact winning on Sunday? That's where our full focus has to be right now. From now until kickoff, just focusing on the things that are going to help us win."
Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore
On QB Justin Herbert's performance in Week 6:
"Obviously, Justin [Herbert], like anyone, when you miss a couple — and those are frustrating for him, just because they're so rare and you don't expect that to happen a whole lot. He'll respond the whole way, he always does. Again, as a whole team, we had opportunities that we missed, whether it be passing plays, run plays, play calls, all of that sort of stuff. That's the unfortunate process when you lose."
On WR Quentin Johnston's development:
"We're really close. We certainly have to give him some more opportunities, and that's on me. We have to find those. He's been working hard. He's been doing a really good job. I think that we're close. It doesn't take a whole lot to get the thing going with him. He has done a nice job out here. Certainly, [WR] Keenan [Allen] and [WR] Josh [Palmer] have gotten a lot of targets, and that's part of the process. Certainly, we'd like to get Q going a little bit more, as well."
Defensive Coordinator Derrick Ansley
On preparing for the Chiefs' offense:
"It's interesting. We've played [Chiefs QB] Patrick [Mahomes] four times since we've been here. I played him twice in 2018 when I was at Oakland. He's a handful, the whole offense is a handful. It starts with Patrick, it starts with [Chiefs TE] Travis [Kelce], it also starts with [Chiefs RB Isiah] Pacheco, the running back — they have a three-headed monster that's as good as any three in the league. We have our work cut out for us. A lot of respect for those guys in Kansas City."
On the third-down defense:
"There's room for improvement. We've done some good stuff. Obviously, we've assisted some things, from our perspective, with offense the and with penalties, just being not clean. We have to do a really good job of coaching that better and continuing to educate our guys what that five-yard threshold is, where your hands can and can't go, lowering our target area, lowering our hand placement when we jam people. All of those things are fundamental. It starts with us, as coaches, to clean that up, and, on Friday afternoon, to continue to show them the league and educate them on the rules and the officiating, what they're looking for and what they call."
On what 'encourages' him about the run defense as of late:
"I think the main thing is that we're playing as 11 guys on the same page. Everybody is excited about stopping the run, and that's contagious. The front is playing really, really good. Hats off to [Defensive Run Game Coordinator/Defensive Line Coach] Jay Rodgers and [Outside Linebackers Coach] Giff Smith, the front seven is playing really rugged and tough, especially our edges and inside guys. [Linebackers Coach] Jeff Howard has done a really good job with the inside linebackers. K9 [LB Kenneth Murray Jr.] is getting downhill, and he's a full lunch, and same with [LB] Eric Kendricks, kind of running the show out there. We have gotten better at crack-replace from our corners and better safety fits from our safeties. It's all 11 guys doing that at the same time for a long period of time. That's how you stop the run."
Special Teams Coordinator Ryan Ficken
On losing S Raheem Layne to injury and options at gunner:
"First and foremost, it's very difficult to replace Raheem Layne. That guy is a tremendous football player but he is an unbelievable person and this team will miss him. I know we're going to rally and pick up the pieces because that's what we have to do. There's no easy answer to just replace Raheem, it's going to be by committee and the best man up. These guys are ready to go ahead and carry the torch for him. He's done a phenomenal job for us. Again it's going to be [AJ] Finley, obviously with Ja [Taylor], we have capable guys. We've got a great room with that, next guy up and they're eager to make that play and that impact for us."
Quarterback Justin Herbert
On the offense:
"I think that we just need to execute better. It starts with me being able to complete balls and being able to get first downs, keep the ball moving. If we're able to do that, I think we're a much more efficient offense. I think we just have to go out there and execute. The coaches are putting us in a position to win and make plays. It's on us."
On if there's a 'sense of urgency':
"There's a sense of urgency regardless of the week. Whether it's Week 1 or whether it's Week 6 or 7, guys are wanting to win. I think that's the most important thing, but panicking isn't going to help anyone. Whether it's 0-5 or 2-3, panicking won't help. To understand that guys are showing up and they're going to give their best effort, we're going to do everything that we can to win this game. That's the most important thing. If you start looking forward or too far ahead, I think you lose your focus."
On preparing for the Chiefs and their recent trend of success:
"I think that's a good way of looking at it. We have so much respect for them, as a team. We understand the great things that they've been able to accomplish over the past few years. That's the ultimate goal in the NFL, to be able to win games and be able to be consistent like that. It's always a great opportunity, kind of like we mentioned earlier. This is a team that we're going up against that requires all of our attention. We have to have a good week of practice and preparation. We have to be dialed-in all week to have any shot on Sunday."
Safety Derwin James, Jr.
On Chiefs TE Travis Kelce and 'what makes him so great':
"His ability to get open. He's always finding his way to get open. Yards after the catch, he's one of the best at doing that. I just have to be ready. We have to be ready."
On the importance of Sunday's game:
"It definitely feels like an important game for us. Like I've said we haven't gotten off to the start that we want. We get a new opportunity this week. We have to get out there and fix what we need to fix."
On areas in which the defense can improve:
"If you're looking at our defense, we're coming out there and playing hard. We just have to finish. Those third-and-longs are killing us. The penalties, I can clean that up. We just have to get off the field on the third-and-long. I like the way that we play. We just have to finish what we're doing."
Outside Linebacker Khalil Mack
On if there's any 'added frustration':
"No, I mean why would be frustrated? I feel like the grind and the preparation takes care of that. For me anyways, I think of ways I could affect the game and the plays that I could make and I know everybody else is thinking that way as well."
On facing Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes:
"I mean he's stamping himself of being one of the greatest to play this game. You what his resume has been in such a short amount of time and the respect level that I have for him understanding what he was able to do for that team. Just knowing we're going to have our hands full, it's going to be a big challenge."
Running back Austin Ekeler
On the run game:
"Getting past the line of scrimmage. We've got to go forward, there's a lot that goes into it. It's making sure we're connected on our doubles, making sure I'm reading it. For me, I've got to focus on what I've got to do as far as making sure I'm setting up these guys and making sure I'm making plays as well. I've got to make people miss, it's not always going to be the cleanest but making sure I'm moving forward. That's really where I want to start and beyond that, it's making more plays on top of what I have to do. This is the NFL, we get paid to be playmakers and that's what I have to be for this team."
On close games versus the Chiefs:
"The Chiefs, it's always an exciting game. I love playing them at their stadium, I love playing them at our stadium because it's always a good energy. It's two good teams going head to head, so that's what you would expect, probably a really close game. Obviously we're not trying to make it close, but this is the NFL and they have good players, we have good players. When you get those matchups, it tends to be like that."
Defensive lineman Morgan Fox
On what's working rushing the passer:
"Just rushing together. Rushing as a unit, understanding where guys are going to be, playing off of each other. Whether it's inside or outside guys, everybody buying into their role in the rush and feeling, 'Okay this guy takes a move, I'm going to cover him, this guy takes a move I'm going cover him, I take the move somebody covers me'. Everybody is buying in to being able to rush four as one so that's been a big help."
On toughest thing about facing Mahomes:
"It's not letting him get moving. That's the thing, he's really good when he's out of the pocket, he makes a lot of plays happen not only with his feet but on the run and throwing it while he's running. He's crazy accurate when he's running so it's trying to keep him in the pocket so that he doesn't affect the game with his legs. You don't want to be moving more than you have to. They also have a really good O-line, so you've got to be able to rush them, understand how to rush them to keep him from getting outside and throwing the ball a certain way."
Wide Receiver Derius Davis
On settling in as a returner:
"It's been going good. I feel like I've just been making the most of my opportunities. Our season has been, I wouldn't say how we wanted it to go, but each and every game we go out there and fight. I love these guys and I can't wait to go out there and compete with those guys Sunday against the Chiefs."
On his long return in Week 6:
"Like I said, I'm always trying to return. That mentality just going into the game, we got the momentum [on Monday], our defense got the stop. I just went out there and had so much confidence in myself and my blockers. We just went out there, made a play, offense came in, got that spark and the rest is history."
Safety Dean Marlowe
On coaches and players helping him settle in since he arrived:
"The first couple weeks I got here, I'm always preparing like I'm about to start, even though I was signed to the practice squad to kind of get acclimated and things like that. Coaches have done a really good job trying to get me right. [Derwin James, Jr.] is always saying, 'Hey, if you ever need anything I'm here to help you'. Same with Alohi [Gilman]. They've done a great job just helping me out if I needed anything."
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