Take a look at top quotes from Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley, quarterback Justin Herbert and others as the Bolts break down their Week 1 win over the Las Vegas Raiders and prepare to face the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football.
Head Coach Brandon Staley
On S Derwin James Jr.'s impact on the game yesterday:
"I don't know if you've seen the game copy yet, but one of the rare matchup guys in the league. I felt like we needed all of that. The things that you just mentioned, we needed all of it yesterday, against a team like that, that has so many different weapons, both run and pass. On a stat sheet, you may not see the impact that he has on a stat sheet, but what you do, when you've watched the game, you'll see the impact that he makes. If you're watching the game live, you feel the impact that he makes, too. The amount of energy that is required for him in a game plan like that, you can't minimize; physical energy, mental energy. It's one thing to have the versatility to play all of those different places, but can your mind allow you to do that? Can you play all those places and do those jobs well? That's why he's that rare combination, and rare leader. He played fantastic yesterday. He played a beautiful game for us. Really proud of him."
On WR DeAndre Carter's performance yesterday and 'when he knew that Carter could provide an impact offensively':
"I think in the Springtime. Our quarterbacks, they have sort of that instant chemistry with players, and it was really all three of our quarterbacks in the Springtime, having that instant chemistry with D.C. I think that we knew in the Springtime that he was going to be a lot more than just a return specialist. I think that [Wide Receivers Coach] Chris Beatty has done a phenomenal job coaching him. He proved himself in a very short time in the Spring. Then, throughout training camp, as you guys were there, he made plays all throughout camp and was a really tough cover for us. I think you can deploy him in a lot of different ways, as I think you saw it yesterday. He's just a really tough football player, tough football player, instinctive football player. I think our quarterbacks really trust him."
On preparing to defend TE Travis Kelce:
"Travis is an outstanding player. I think that you have to make it tough on him. You can't let him get comfortable in a matchup. You can't give [QB] Patrick [Mahomes] too much of the same thing, where he is in a comfort zone and he is really operating where he is really playing on cruise control, where he can identify the coverage, he can identify the matchup, and really play fast, play quickly, especially when he has a guy like Travis, who is such a matchup guy. Those guys have such great chemistry. What you try to do is try to mix it up and make it tough. It's ongoing, because against guys like that, you can keep them quite for a while, and then, all of a sudden, they just get hot quick and they can really heat it up quickly together with the way that those guys play. A very, very tough cover. They, obviously, got off to a good start yesterday."
Quarterback Justin Herbert
On the offensive line not allowing a sack yesterday:
"They are a very close group and they work really hard. They communicate very well and they work hard. I'm not surprised one bit to see how well they played because I've been seeing that all camp long. They go up against two of the best pass rushers the NFL has seen in [OLB] Joey [Bosa] and [OLB] Khalil [Mack]. To go up against those guys week in and week out, they're going to get better. I'm thankful to be playing behind them."
On his touchdown pass to TE Gerald Everett and Everett 'extending his route' to make a play:
"I think it's something that we've seen all throughout camp from him. He's just a playmaker. He's a special player. Whenever you get the ball in his hands, something good is going to happen. It's a broken-down play and he finds his way up the sideline, makes an incredible catch and fights for two more yards. That was awesome to see. I'm not surprised by that, either. I've seen that all camp. It's just really good to see from him."
On the anticipated environment on Thursday night:
"I think it's always a great opportunity to go play football. I know that our guys are really excited for this one. To be able to play on primetime, Thursday Night Football, it's something you always grow up dreaming about. It is a quick week, a short week, but we're going to do everything we can to get prepared and get our bodies back so that we have a chance on Thursday."
Defensive Coordinator Renaldo Hill
On how he would summarize the defense's performance yesterday:
"We talked about this offseason about these guys coming together. We talked about 40-plus new players on this team alone and how quickly we have to try to come together as a team. I think these guys really took it upon themselves this offseason to work on that, becoming a team. That's what you saw out there this past Sunday was guys playing together as a team. Everything wasn't perfect, but everyone was out there making sure that they were doing their job and trying to do it to their highest ability because they were trusting the guy next to them. That was a good sign when you get that in Week 1. We have a lot to build on, but these guys are a close, tight-knit group. I'm excited just moving forward with this group."
On CB Asante Samuel Jr.'s performance yesterday:
"We knew it was going to be a big matchup, a tough matchup, those guys going against Adams there. We knew Zant wasn't going to back down from the challenge and we knew he was up for it and he wanted it. When you have all of those things working together, we knew there were going to be some battles won and lost, but he kept fighting and he won his share of battles as well. With the deep ball, that's just showing Sant is just being a football player. He's competitive. When something pops off, he's able to erase it and make up for it. That was a great job of tracking the football. Even staying off of the receiver, he did a good job of just tracking and going up, high-pointing it. You have a collision with [CB] Bryce [Callahan] in the same spot, just that focus and concentration to come down with the ball when everything is happening at that speed."
On the 'key to slowing down' Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes down:
"It's always tough with him. The biggest thing you talk about is can we make him perform from the pocket and not extend plays because once he gets out the pocket, he's a whole other animal. Obviously, he can make the throws from in the pocket, but when you have time to extend plays, and we talk about when we do face him, we tell our guys, 'Hey, we have to cover not twice, a lot of times three, four times because that's how much he can extend the play.' It's always challenging, but if we can do a good job of trying to condense the pocket and really make him work from there and see if our pass rushers can come alive, that would be ideal. We just have to make it tough on him. We know he's going to make his plays, but we have to force him to get the ball off his hands right away."
Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi
On QB Justin Herbert and his connection with the receiving corps:
"You feel pretty fortunate that you have a quarterback like that, that can make those throws. They were fantastic. We're glad we have him."
On if Herbert 'surprises him' with his completions:
"Yes. It still kind of does. It shouldn't because he does it over and over again, but yeah it's impressive."
On G Zion Johnson's performance:
"I thought he did very well, kind of how we anticipated. He was solid. I've said it before, he's very mature, and he just kind of blocked the guys that he was supposed to block. Once he starts blocking them, they stay blocked. I was very pleased with his performance. Again, we're on a short week. I watched the game, but not in the same detail, maybe, than I would on a normal Monday. I went through it and paid attention to him. I thought that he played real well."
On rep distribution for Allen's role if Allen does not play on Thursday night:
"I think Josh would step in. In the two receiver sets, he would be the main Z, that's the position that Keenan [Allen] plays. Every play, we have a million different personnel groupings, so Jalen [Guyton] will be in there some, D.C. [DeAndre Carter] will be in there, Josh [Palmer]. When we go sub [-package], you're going to see different combinations of three guys. There's not an easy answer to that question, but when we send the starting 12 personnel group out there, you'd say Josh [Palmer] would be the Z, but we'll be mixing it up quite a bit."
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