Here's what head coach Brandon Staley had to say during Monday's press conference as the Bolts head into their Week 7 bye.
On his mindset heading into the bye week
"I think that for me, this six-game stretch has been a really tough stretch. Our guys have earned a break. I know we didn't get to the bye feeling like we played our best ball, and it's tough no matter how you lose. Whether it's close or how it was yesterday, it's always going to be tough. What our team has done is they've always responded, no matter how the game's unfolded. Whether it's win, lose, what type of win, what type of loss, I felt like our approach has remained consistent. That's what you're hoping for as a coach, that the approach is consistent no matter what."
On assessing the team as a whole before moving on to preparing for New England
"I believe in assessment of the Chargers. That's really important because a lot of people would say, 'Hey, we're on to New England. Let's just get to that.' We're going to spend the next three days as coaches — today, and Tuesday, Wednesday — really looking at our position groups. Number one, taking a look at the after-action report from the first six games. What we did well, what haven't we done well, let's look at our personnel. Is this guy in the right role? Where do we think we can go with this in the second half of the season? Acquisitions, stuff like that. We start with the position group, then the unit. This isn't earthshattering to the NFL, people do this. I think it's important that we study the Chargers before we start on the New England."
On how the Chargers can improve their 'early down efficiency'
"What we have to do on early downs is make sure that we're maximizing our playmakers and staying out of those tough scenarios that we've been able to convert. You can't take that all away from our offense. Third downs are a part of the NFL. But, you don't want to live like that because it puts too much pressure. There are too many variables in the defense's favor on the third down. We don't want to do that, and I think over the next few days, we're going to take a hard look at our operation so that we can be more prolific on first and second down moving forward."
On rookie linebackers Amen Ogbongbemiga and Nick Niemann
"I was really proud of [LBs] Amen [Ogbongbemiga] and Nick Niemann in the game. For their first action, to go against a rushing attack that prolific...I thought that they were definitely a bright spot for us. I think that there's, obviously, a lot that they can do better, but I felt like they held their own in that game. I think that they're going to learn a lot from the tape. There's a lot to learn from. That game is like an NFL teaching session because there's a lot that you can apply for the rest of the season. They challenge all of your rules, from a run-support standpoint, from a run fits standpoint, so you can really teach your defense at a high level off of that film. We're going to get a chance to do that with the young guys like that."
On taking a 'step forward' in the run defense on Sunday
"I felt like, with our physicality, we did take a step forward with our front and our edges. It's not where we want it to be yet, but I felt like we definitely improved — definitely from the Cleveland game, for sure. Sometimes you can learn the opposite side of it. We had a tough day, 34-6, but there are a lot of lessons, I think, that we can take away — and that we just got done talking about — that are going to help us moving forward because that's as good of a rushing attack that you're going to find because of how they rush the ball. We're improving there.
On starting the game off quicker on Sunday
"I felt like in all three phases, we didn't start very well. That first quarter-and-a-half, we weren't playing well, in all three phases, as well as we're capable of. Once we got settled down on defense, we had some good things happen for us. You can't wait that long against a team that's as good as they are, with a quarterback like that. Early in the game, our execution has to be better. I felt like our plan for success needs to be better on the road like that to give our guys the better chance to be successful."
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