Take a look at top quotes from Special Teams Coordinator Ryan Ficken, CB Asante Samuel, Jr., and CB Michael Davis after Wednesday's practice:
Special Teams Coordinator Ryan Ficken
"Good afternoon. That was a really good practice today. These last couple of days, we've had some good ones. Coming out here, I think that these guys have been dialed in, working hard. Have to give a lot of credit to these core guys and the specialist. They're putting in the work and preparing themselves ready to go for not only the Rams, but also leading up to the season."
On the importance of executing on special teams in preseason games:
"I think it's very important, these preseason games, but these practices, we can't go and take these lightly. They're getting evaluated not only in these preseason games, but out in practice, in the meetings, just the small things of being where you're supposed to be, so they're getting evaluated in everything we do. We're trying to create depth at all positions, it doesn't matter where it is. We have to make sure that they're ready to go against the Rams here in all of these situations, making sure that they're prepared so they can go out and execute and have the most success that they can have out there on the field, because that's what we want, we want them to have success out there, not only for themselves, but for our team as a whole so that we can build that confidence as we lead up and make these decisions little bit more difficult."
On evaluating players during practice when they're not live tackling:
"You can get the movement skills, you see how they work in space, because a lot of special teams it is in space; how they move, are they doing their assignment correctly, are they where they're supposed to be, because nine times out of 10, if they just get lined up correctly, they have an opportunity to be successful on that play. There are a lot of things leading up to that. Then, seeing how the technique and fundamentals transition, in terms of these full reps, just seeing it carry over. That's what we're trying to do, with us, is just trying to just eliminate, trim all of the fat, make it really simple for these guys so that they can go in and have their athleticism take over as they're out there, but have confidence as they're playing."
On the competition at gunner on punt coverage:
"I think it's a great competition, in terms of that group. They understand the importance of it, our team does, our organization understands how important it is to have that success in the gunner spot. That's why we're rotating. We have a very deep group, in terms of some of these young guys coming in, the veterans that are here contributing. I think it's been a great challenge and competition throughout the whole training camp, and previously in the offseason. But it's been a major emphasis with this organization and this team to go ahead and make sure we solidify that. You don't want just to have one or two gunners going into the season, you want to have a good mix of four or five guys. We know that throughout the whole year, things happen, and we got to be able to call the next man up. Those guys are the first weapon, in terms of punt, going down there to defend against the return. Very important."
Cornerback Asante Samuel, Jr.
On growth through competing against the offense:
"I think it makes us better because we're going against one of the best quarterbacks in the league, three of the best receivers in the league. I just try to go out there and use my technique against those guys, see what I can do and what I can't do, just perfect my craft."
On conversations with his father, former NFL CB Asante Samuel, following his rookie season:
"He just tried to tell me to keep doing what I've been doing all my life. Learn as you go. Sometimes, you have to learn things on your own in the NFL, because he could tell me a lot of things, but once I go out there, it's kind of different. I just have to learn and do my own play."
On adding CB J.C. Jackson and CB Bryce Callahan and how they have impacted his development:
"It's been good. I've been asking those guys little things about technique and scheme, just trying to ask as many questions as I can, gain knowledge from them and become a better teammate and player with those guys."
Cornerback Michael Davis
On his approach to the level of competition in the secondary:
"I think competition brings camaraderie. When you compete, you make everybody around you better. We're all still friends, so that's just part of the game, I think. I think that it just elevates us all the way around."
On building off of last season:
"Last year, for me, was a year with a lot of distractions, on the field and also off of the field. I think that came into play into my game, like inconsistency. I think we're past that. Effort, I think it's all about effort this year."
On increased comfort with the scheme:
"I'm a lot more comfortable this year. Last year, I didn't feel like I had a grasp on the defense, but this year, I do. It's a team sport. In [former Chargers Defensive Coordinator] Gus Bradley's defense, it's more playing by yourself, and in this defense, you have to play with everybody around you. I'm getting more used to playing with my teammates."
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