Take a look at top quotes from Head Coach Brandon Staley, wide receiver Keenan Allen and defensive lineman Austin Johnson during Wednesday's media availability:
Head Coach Brandon Staley
On 'how good of a sense he has of the team' through seven games:
"A strong sense of how good we can be because I've seen it. I've seen us play. What we've experienced is a lot of the tougher side of things, through seven games. I've seen us at full strength. I've seen us have to absorb some tough stuff and be able to overcome it to go on a three-game winning streak. I think you know where you need to go. I think, with this team that we have right now, we're excited to get back out there on the practice field after a bye week. We're excited to get back on the practice field and improve because I think we do know a lot more about our team and how we have to do things because we've experienced a lot of the disruption that some teams haven't gone through so far. We've experienced all of that, so we have a lot of contingencies. We've had to operate already in a lot of other spaces that some people haven't. I think that has been healthy for us, to get our nose bloody, to have to go play some tough, rugged games, to have some attrition and to have to be able to figure it out. I think that's healthy for the rest of the season because you have already had to make a lot of those adjustments."
On what he accomplished over the bye week:
"Just a lot of assessment in all phases of the program. I think offense, defense, kicking game, the way you practice, the way you meet, the way you travel, preparing for the next game, getting a jump start on the next game. I feel like I was able to communicate to a lot of different groups. That's important when you get that sort of time to try and connect with your people; coach, player, staff. Then, get some rest and be with my family. We had a really good practice on Monday. That's where our focus was, to have a really good practice on Monday. Now, we get an opportunity today. I'm looking forward to getting out there with the guys."
On his assessment of the offense:
"I think that we have, in talking with you guys before the break, is that it's been inconsistent, but that we have shown that we can play really high-level football. It's just tying that all together and bringing it all together. I think we've shown a lot of resilience in having to figure things out. We've learned some tough lessons, but I think our guys are at a point where they have a lot of confidence in each other's ability to face the tough part of the NFL. We've faced a tough loss, faced some injuries, and have been able to come out on the other side of it. I think that's really healthy. I know that, just speaking from comparison to last season, we didn't experience nearly as much at this juncture. I think after the bye week, we experienced a ton of it. I think, already this season, we've experienced a lot that is going to help us down the stretch. I think our guys now have that sense of who we are. I think when you get a chance to reset, you also know that when you come back, what needs to be done, and, more importantly, how it needs to be done. That's where our focus is."
On 'teaching consistency':
"It's the approach in everything. It's not just a game. A lot of people look at the game, it's just the approach during the week that matters the most to create a consistently winning culture, consistently winning organization. It's every day. I think, looking back on what I told the guys is, 'You don't know it or not, but we have a really good thing here, fellas. Because if we didn't, we wouldn't be 4-3. We wouldn't. We would be a lot worse if we didn't have a good culture. We would be worse, based on what's happened because you can look at the league and you can see.' Although we haven't performed to our capacity yet, that's an exciting thing because we know what is in front of us and we know what we have had to absorb and now we know where we need to go and how to get there. That's important that you have that perspective. Like I said, to create the consistency, it starts with how you do things every single day. That's where our focus is going to be."
On the 'mental aspect of the bye week':
"The NFL is a really challenging season. Just to face 17 regular-season weeks, the three preseason games, a training camp, it's a long way. The fact that you can re-energize, you have to have that in order to gain perspective, know where you need to go. It's the physical rest, but from a mindset standpoint, you know that as tough as the first stretch of the season is, the rest of it is a lot tougher because there is more at stake in the second part of the season. Your mind has to be sharp. I think the bye week does a good job of resetting it. That's why I like having the bye closer to the middle [of the season], or past it, so that you can kind of gain that second wind."
Wide Receiver Keenan Allen
On 'how tough' the injury has been mentally:
"Gotta take it day-by-day. When it's ready to come back, it'll be ready. I'll be ready. I'll stay ready. When I can play, I can play."
On message to other receivers:
"It's an opportunity. Without somebody getting hurt in front of me, I wouldn't, you know. They're in the same position I was in. So it's an opportunity to show themselves, show us what they can do."
On how he tries to help the team now:
"It's part of it. It's a tough game. It's a tough game. Just being around, helping the guys with whatever they need. Mentally, staying strong, going to the walk-throughs, showing up so they can ask questions."
Defensive Lineman Austin Johnson
On what is going to be the 'priority' against the Falcons:
"Stopping the run. We just got to be aggressive up front, be where we need to be and everybody needs to focus on the details."
On challenges the Atlanta offense presents:
"Yeah like you said, they have a lot of weapons, a really good offense. They could run ball really well, they have a really good scheme so we just have to be sturdy on defense."
On if the bye week came at the right time:
"I don't really know if there's any right time for a bye, but I think it's a good time to focus on what we need to focus on, the details. Focus on us to get everything right and go out there and win this game."
Check out the best photos of the Chargers Monday practice at Hoag Performance Center
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