Take a look at top quotes from Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley, running back Austin Ekeler, running back Joshua Kelley and outside linebacker Chris Rumph II during Wednesday's media availability:
Head Coach Brandon Staley
On game-planning for the Rams and Head Coach Sean McVay:
"The thing about Sean [McVay] — and this year is a good example of it — he can shape-shift based on the players that he has. I think that's what you he has done such a good job have throughout this whole time. Relative to what type of group he has, he has been able to change for it. The way that he has been able to navigate the season with all of the injuries, it's just a testament to how good of a coach he is. you just know, going into a matchup, that he's going to have a plan ready for you. Week-to-week, he's going to pour his heart and soul into that plan to give his guys a great chance to win. I think you can see it by the way that [Rams QB] Baker [Mayfield] has played for him since he got there, in a short amount of time. It's a really good coaching staff over there. There's a lot of pride with those players. Those players have played in a lot of premium games, and you can see it. Last week, it was on display, in terms of how they played. I don't think that people would have predicted that type of game, but the people that know that team, that know him, definitely would have predicted that that could happen. He's just an outstanding coach. We are going to have to have a great gameplan."
On appearing in the postseason for the first time since 2018:
"I think it's the right step. That is how I would characterize it. I wouldn't say it's a big step, it's the right step. You have to make the playoffs in order to be a world champion. I think that is a good place to start. That's where we expected to be. I think our path to get here. No one could have predicted that. That's what I am happy about, is that we were able to earn our way there. The way that we earned our way there, I think that is significant. It's about playing our best here at the end of the season. That is still out there for our team and that's where our focus has got to be. That's why we have to treat this week like it has a life of its own because this is a really good team that we are playing and there is still a lot of room for us to improve. Certainly, the way we played the other night, that wasn't our best stuff. That wasn't our best stuff and our team knows that and that's why we have to get to work tomorrow and have a great practice."
On the value of the players having team dinners off the field:
"The best teams are the teams that are the closest, that are the most personal. I think that, as you guys know, since I have been here, that has been a big part of what I have tried to do here with this team is to bring guys closer together. Sometimes, I think in free agency when you are able to go get players, people, I think, underestimate the transition of bringing them to a new team. Sometimes, that takes time. Relationships take time. I think what you have seen throughout the course of our season is our team has grown a lot closer over the course of the season and guys that maybe did not know each other well now know each other well. Now, they are able to get into that rhythm and establish their traditions and those things that are special to the NFL. I think that you are seeing a team that is playing hard for each other and I think that this team grows every week that way. I think you can see it by the energy that we play with, our sideline. That is a good place to look at in the NFL is a team's sideline. I love all of that and we have the right guys on the team, for sure."
On Ekeler's historic receiving output over the last two seasons:
"When we got here, one of the things I told him is that, 'You fit the way that we want to play.' You are most dangerous, as an offense, if your back is a weapon in the passing game and a back that can score multiple ways in the red zone and we felt like he was going to be that type of guy for us. Now to say he was going to go back-to-back [seasons with] 20 touchdowns, I don't know if you ever have that vision, but we had a vision to maximize this guy and that we were going to really try to bring his game to life here. I think that as a coach, that's what you are trying to do with your players is try to give them a vision for how you want to use them and then hopefully you have the proof and a guy like Austin [Ekeler] is like, 'Hey, we had this vision for you. Here it is.' That way, you can tell the next player. He has been great for us, and we're going to need his best down the stretch for us to be as good as we can be."
Running back Austin Ekeler
On making the playoffs:
"It's been a while. It's been like four years, and we were so close last year, so it feels good to be in a position right now where we've secured ourselves. We still got a few more games to get on track offensively, where I felt we were a little inconsistent in our last game, but still found a way. Our defense played amazing. Just feels good as a team and an organization to know you have one game in the playoffs."
On leading the league in touchdowns:
"Yeah, there's some good and bad in it from a statistics standpoint depending on which one it is. It feels good. I'm not going to say it's something that I'm not aware of, I definitely know about it. Especially the touchdown category when I was there last year, it's kind of the standard I have, that's what I built on this team, that's kind of my role. We get in the red zone it's like, 'Austin, you've got to score'. I've pretty much brought it upon myself and obviously we've seen it again this year. I'm getting the ball in the red zone and that emphasis from my coaches, my team, the trust is there for Austin to go score, so that's my standard right now."
Running back Joshua Kelley
On the team's recent success:
"I feel like we've been clicking at the right time. These past three weeks, we've been on a roll. I feel like we got some momentum going on. Obviously, there's room for improvement though, but we're feeling really good. We're confident, doing our best. It starts at practice, starts in the weight room, starts at film. We have to keep doing better and better so we can just go into the playoffs with some momentum.
On if he can feel the defense's energy on the offensive side:
"Oh yeah, man. These dudes are so excited, juiced. You can see them in the locker room getting turnt up before the games, and they're making plays. They're making a lot of plays over there and they're getting turnovers. It kind of rubs off. Obviously offensively, we haven't been our best, but they've been doing some great stuff."
Outside linebacker Chris Rumph II
On defensive performance on Monday:
"We just got the win as a defense. Everybody was eating, the whole D-line was eating. We just came in with the mindset of just finish the job and get that spot. That's kind of what happened."
On what something he's learned from his second season so far:
"Just experience, seeing different things throughout the season, having those growing pains and going through the season knowing that stuff is going to pay off at the end of the year. That I'm starting to learn from the experience, I'm starting to see things, get comfortable and overall, just helping me play faster."
On the defensive line improvement in recent weeks:
"Over the year, we've just continued to gel together and continue to build that chemistry. With trying to get to the playoffs and everything, our backs against the wall, it's really brought us closer. We all bought in that's honestly it."
Bolt Up for 2023!
Secure your 2023 Season Ticket Memberships today! Click here to learn more.