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Top Quotes | What the Chargers Said Ahead of Week 18

TQ W18

Take a look at top quotes from Chargers Interim Head Coach Giff Smith, quarterback Easton Stick and more from their Week 18 media availability:

Interim Head Coach Giff Smith

On 'how bad' he wants to get a win:

"We made a pact, as a coaching staff and team, that we were going to compete for three games. The motivation to get ready for this game is not an issue. You have seen these last two games, these guys have come out and played hard. We just have to find a way to get over the hump. As far as anything personal goes, that's kind of irrelevant to me right now. I want to do right by these guys and the organization and go out there and beat Kansas City."

On OLB Tuli Tuipulotu's development:

"I think the impressive thing is how well his football knowledge is. He's a very smart player. Obviously, he's tough, he's gifted, all that, but his football IQ is really, really high. I think he's gotten better every week. I told him when the season started, I didn't see him as a rookie. He didn't carry himself as a rookie. I think he's performed like a starter in the NFL. I think the future's bright for Tuli [Tuipulotu], I really do."

On 'what the experience has been like' as an interim head coach:

"That's a great question. Really, there's so much that you're trying to do during these three weeks, it's hard to really sit back and see how it affects you, as an individual. I've been extremely blessed in my life. I'm grateful for everything that's happened for me. It'll be something that this time next week, I would probably be able to answer that a little bit more clearly for you."

On 'playing a Chiefs team that won't be at full strength':

"Y'all have heard me say it before: There's a scoreboard, so it's kind of irrelevant who they're playing; you're playing to win. I know that [Chiefs QB Patrick] Mahomes is out and they're playing [Chiefs QB] Blaine [Gabbert], and he's a quality player. It's still the Chiefs and it's a team that you want to beat, and it's a division game. There's enough to go into that one."

Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore

On the 'importance' of starting a game for G Jordan McFadden 'as a benchmark':

"For a lot of players, you go through practices — and practice is, obviously, a very important aspect of our profession — but until you get into the real deal, just like Easton [Stick] is going through, and I think that Easton, just like Jordan [McFadden], has responded in a really positive way. When you get these opportunities, you take advantage of them, and more opportunities are going to come to these guys as they go on in their careers."

On WR Keenan Allen's season:

"For Keenan [Allen], I think, individually, he's obviously had a phenomenal season. I think, for me, it's awesome when you have an opportunity to work with a guy like that, who's played a lot of football and continues to play a lot of high-level football as his career has gone on. Certainly, this year was another example. He's the guy that can do a lot of different things. He's really smart, he has a great feel for the game. I've grown just being around him. I think a lot of our guys can learn from him, just watching them, and I think a lot of the younger receivers can continue to see what Keenan did throughout the season and kind of build off of that and learn from those guys. He's been a special one."

On his 'main takeaway from this season':

"I think it's an awesome opportunity, once we get through this one, just to just to process it. Every season has good, has things you want improve on, both individually, collectively as a group, lessons you can take. I think it's just a good example of just how small the margins are in this league. Our season may not have gone the way we all hoped for and expected, but it shows how small the margins are that we lost a number of games, certainly, that were really close and those little things all matter. We've been preaching that the last few weeks, just talking about how important the details are and the little things, all those things add up. Everyone gets to process this thing in a couple of days."

Defensive Coordinator Derrick Ansley

On preparing for Chiefs QB Blaine Gabbert:

"We've watched the things that he's done at K.C. He played some in the preseason, some this year when [Chiefs QB] Patrick [Mahomes] was out of the game. A very different skillset. He's more of a pocket guy. He's big, strong. He has a really good arm. We have to do a really good job of keeping a roof on it. He has good touch on the deep ball. I don't know how much of the scramble element that he brings that Patrick brings, they're totally different in that aspect, so things are probably going to be more on time. We have to do a good job of staying tight in coverage."

On 'experimenting' with different players at different positions:

"We're still open to see who is going to play. Obviously, some of those young guys will get an opportunity in some aspect. [LB] Daiyan [Henley] has been doing a really good job on special teams all year. You saw [LB] Nick Niemann get an opportunity [last week] with [LB] Kenneth [Murray Jr.] being down, and he played well. Definitely would like to get him in there, for sure."

On 'the impact of this week for all players moving forward':

"We've said that the whole year. You get one chance, on Sunday, to go out there and interview. We have to do a good job of putting them in positions to have success and let them go play fast and play free. Just go be who you are. We don't need to be any more or any less. Have a good time playing together, then we'll see what happens after the season."

Quarterback Easton Stick

On his perspective of starting the last three games:

"I've had a lot of fun. I'm really grateful for this last stretch. It's been really tough, obviously, we haven't been winning, and that's hard, and a lot of that is on me. That's frustrating, but I've really enjoyed getting to go out there every single day and be in the huddle and communicate and be in charge of the thing, going out there and playing and really compete. It's been a lot of fun. Grateful for that."

On if anything has been 'different than expected' as the starter:

"I don't know if anything is different. I think you just realize how much you miss it. Obviously, our position is so unique because only one guy plays. Your whole life, you're that guy, until you get to this point. Like I said, I've been a part of some really cool quarterback rooms. I've learned a lot. I think it's helped me get prepared for this opportunity. But, you just miss competing, you really do."

On the season:

"It certainly hasn't gone the way we wanted it to, the way that we would have drawn it up, the way we thought that it was going to go. Just unfortunate. That's the way it goes. Things happen. Like I said, we have a job to do. We signed up for 17 of these things and we're excited about playing the last one."

Outside Linebacker Khalil Mack

On reaching 16.0 sacks this season:

"Everything coming together, but it's not just me. It's the guys, all 11 guys on defense. We had some good moments and was able to capitalize here and there. I was the beneficiary of it but the credit to them. It's definitely something I appreciate." 

On getting selected to his eighth Pro Bowl:

"It's always an honor because it's all 32 teams, plus the coaches and the players have input on it. It's always good to know that people that you work with definitely see what you're capable of on the field."

Safety Derwin James, Jr.

On preparing for this week's game against the Chiefs:

"For them, they're in the playoffs, but for us, it's coming out and making sure we finish. Making sure we finish strong. I know the guys out here. Every time we take that field, we always feel like we're playing for something. I know we're going to come out and we're going to finish this thing the right way."

On trying to get a win for Interim Head Coach Giff Smith:

"It definitely would mean a lot. Everybody loves that guy. He's always there. Guys want to play hard. Guys know what's at stake. No one is showing up to lose the game. Everybody is coming to play hard and win. It would be big for us to come out and get that W for him."

On Chiefs TE Travis Kelce:

I like playing against Travis. It's a lot of fun. It's a lot of fun when we play. He's a great player. We know each other. We're not hiding from each other. We know each other. He knows who I am and I know who he is. It's always fun when we get to compete against each other, especially when it's me and him."

Outside linebacker Tuli Tuipulotu

On if his rookie season 'went by fast':

"For sure. It went by so fast. Everybody was telling me about how, 'It's a long season'. But I don't know, it felt like it went by real fast."

On the biggest thing he learned this year:

"Trying to be consistent in everything, like in routines. In that case the season is a long season trying to stay on top of everything. I think that's something I had to learn."

Cornerback Asante Samuel, Jr.

On the final regular season game:

"I mean, it's still a game. We're still trying to go out there and win, still trying to go and put good film out there. We take every week and treat every game the same. It's like we're playing for a playoff game right now, so that's how we're taking it."

Long snapper Josh Harris

On the message to the special teams unit ahead of Week 18:

"I think the main thing is that, it puts it in perspective knowing that we have an incredible opportunity to be on this team and be in the position we have. Whether it's Week 1 with the whole season in front of you, or Week 18 when you kind of already know your fate, there's a lot of people that would do anything to get an opportunity to go out there and play this game. We just got to go out there and focus on finishing the right way and going out and playing the way that we've played all season, especially on the special teams side of things. Just enjoying it and having fun. Nothing is guaranteed, so the opportunity to be able to put the uniform on, you've got to take advantage of it."

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