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Transcript - Head Coach Anthony Lynn and TE Hunter Henry (Oct. 28, 2019)

WEEK 9 — PODIUM AVAILABILITY

Monday, October 28, 2019 | Hoag Performance Center | Costa Mesa, Calif.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS HEAD COACH ANTHONY LYNN

On T Russell Okung:

“He did not finish the game, but I think it’s a minor calf injury.”

On RB Austin Ekeler:

“Austin has always been involved in the offense. If the ball doesn’t go his way, it doesn’t go his way because maybe they took him away, but he’s always involved. A player of his caliber, I mean, you have to have a plan for him. He just didn’t touch it as much this game, but that’s never intentional.”

On Chicago’s approach on the final drive:

“[Bears Head Coach] Matt [Nagy] knows his team better than I know his team, so I don’t know what he was thinking there but it didn’t matter. My focus was just trying to block it.”

On the defense:

“My defense, they protected every inch. That’s kind of their motto and they did a good job of it yesterday. Our red zone defense was outstanding, so I take my hat off to those guys. They prepared well.”

On the first half: 

“When a team holds the ball for 38 minutes, normally you’re not in the game, but I think because of the turnovers in the fourth quarter, which we needed and the defense in the red zone, that obviously helped. The offense stepped up when they had to and the special teams coverage was outstanding. We went up against two of the best returners in the game yesterday and I thought they held them in check.”

On the missed kick:

“It felt good, obviously, we won the game. My focus was just trying to block it. That’s the only thing that we could control. They missed it, which was good for us, but I don’t know if that was karma or not, but I’m glad we won the game.”

On the running game:

“I wouldn’t say it’s reaching a crisis level. I think some of the running game has been we haven’t been in positions to run the football and whenever we do go no-huddle offense, it’s a little harder to run the ball. I think 12 rush attempts — not enough, not enough at all. The running game hasn’t been good by any means, let’s get that straight but that’s the encouraging part. I think that’s something that’s going to get better in this second half of the season. If the rushing attack can come along, I think that’s going to help our team tremendously and I believe it will.” 

On improving the rushing attack:

“You don’t get behind early like we’ve done. There have been two or three games where we just absolutely could not run the ball, it just takes too long to move it down the field. Yesterday, we could have run the ball more but like I said, I had us in no-huddle. Sometimes in no-huddle, you don’t get the best run looks, you get better pass looks. That’s why you do a no-huddle. I’m all about advancing the ball down the field the best way we can. If it’s throwing it or running it and short passes, extended plays, that doesn’t matter. I just want to get the ball down the field. In order keep protecting the quarterback and making teams defend the run, which opens up the passing game, we have to do a better job at running it but we have to get more rush attempts as well. I think we only have 12 yesterday.”

On signs that the running game can turn around:

“We moved some guys around on the front line, we had some injuries there. I think with [T] Russell Okung coming back, if he holds it down at the left tackle spot like he’s done in the past, if we can leave [G Dan] Feeney at one spot and not keep moving him from center to guard, that’s going to help the communication there and the continuity there. I just know that yesterday was efficient. You take away the short yards and the goal line play, then that rush [average] was right at about four [yards] per rush, which is higher than it has been. It needs to be about 4.3, in my opinion, but I think if we had been in situations to run the ball more, I believe we could have been more efficient yesterday.”

On T Trent Scott playing right tackle: 

“He was okay. Trent’s a young player, he’s still learning a lot but he’s doing what we ask him to do. He’s got to play left, he’s got to play right and he’s going to continue to grow and get better as we go.”

On rotating the tackle position:

“It could be. You don’t like to see a rotation at the tackle position, but those two have played both sides, they’ve been through a lot. They can handle that.”

On Okung’s performance:

“It was really encouraging because he hadn’t played since last January. We didn’t know what to expect from Russell. He didn’t tweak his calf until fourth quarter, so he played more than we probably anticipated him playing, but I thought he played well.”

On DE Joey Bosa:

“Joey’s been doing that all year. Like I said yesterday, he’s an excellent football player, very unselfish, plays a lot of techniques that a lot of pass rushers don’t like the play, to be honest with you, and he’s doing a good job with that.”

On C/G Scott Quessenberry:

“Scott didn’t play bad. He had a couple of mishaps here and there, but he did not play bad.”

On NT Damion Square:

“Damion played fine. He played fine. Damion’s always going to give you 100 percent, so you never have to worry about that with Damion.”

On LB Drue Tranquill: 

“It depends on the package that we have on the field. We try to get those linebackers involved. Drue’s done an outstanding job at training camp and in preseason he did a nice job, we wanted to get a package for him and get him involved, keep him involved in the defense. You’ll see him in there from time to time, but then sometimes [LB] Denzel [Perryman] may need a [breather] and Drue will come in for Denzel.”

On rotating Tranquill and LB Denzel Perryman:

“I was fine with the rotation.”

On WR Keenan Allen:

“He’s a little sore. I’ll know more on Wednesday if he’ll be able to practice, but this is a guy that didn’t really practice much during the week. To be honest with you, I wasn’t expecting him to play but that’s just Keenan Allen. On Sunday, it’s time to go and he said, ‘Coach, I want to play.’ It started out just putting him in on a limited basis and as the game went on, he played probably more snaps than we thought he was going to play.”

On DE Melvin Ingram III:

“He played a lot. We didn’t know what to expect from him as well because he was coming back from the hamstring, but he felt fine. As long as he felt fine, we left him out there.”

On coverage breakdown:

“I don’t think there was a coverage breakdown. It was just a guy running down the field a little faster than us wide open.”

On TE Hunter Henry’s short catch:

“No, not really there. He made a heck of a catch and he fought for the extra yards, but he just didn’t get the extra yard.”

On the playing surface:

“That grass was taller and it was a little thicker than what our players are used to playing here in California. It was a little slippery out there, so I think you can contribute some of that slipping to just playing on taller grass.

“We had on our long studs, but it’s still a different surface for those guys.”

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS TIGHT END HUNTER HENRY

On the team morale after the victory:

“It’s a big difference any time you get a win. Obviously, the kick went our way. The break went our way finally. After the previous week, which was kind of a heart breaker, to kind of squeak one out and catch a break is big for us. I think it’s just going to be big going into this week.”

On winning on a missed kick:

“We’ve been through a lot, shoot, just the Charger history here. It’s been a lot. That first year we were here in L.A., there were a lot of those. We missed a kick or they made a kick, a kick got blocked. A lot of those things kind of didn’t go our way. To finally see one kind of go our way is pretty awesome.”

On his mindset during the field goal:

“I was still upset that I didn’t get the first down to seal the game for us. I was still kind of thinking about that in the back of my mind. I still remember, [FB] Derek Watt came up to me and was like, ‘Man, our whole season has been missed kicks and one yard. We already had the one yard happen. Here we go, this is going to be a missed kick right here.’ When he missed it, I was almost kind of taken aback. I was like, ‘Man, thank God. What the heck?’ You put so much into it, for it to kind of go our way was nice.”

On moving past the performance:

“Yeah, [the win] helps a little bit when you get the win. It helps mend that a little bit, but still I think we know as an offense and a team that we need to be better, especially going forward. We have some good teams coming in, especially this week. It’s a good offensive team, and throughout the rest of the season. We know we have to be better.”

On the third down reception:

“Shoot, I could have gotten the first down hopefully and tried to stay on my feet as much as possible. I mean, there were four guys right there, so it was tough. I kind of got clipped. I was trying to avoid one, got hit from another one, and then two guys kind of came there on me. Yeah, I was pretty frustrated that I didn’t get it. I’ll try to learn from that and try to do whatever I can to stay on my feet and just keep fighting.

“I thought I was going to make it. That’s always my thought process, especially in that moment. It’s a big play, I have to go get the first down. If I get the first down there, the game is kind of sealed. I kind of got spun, so right when I landed, I could see where the ref was spotting me. I was like looking right at him and was like, ‘You really spotted me right there? Like, a half-yard short?’ That is so annoying. Yeah, I was pretty upset and mad at that point. Thankfully, it kind of went our way. I can kind of forget about that a bit.”

On offensive balance:

“You know, we’re not being very efficient on first down, especially running it. It gets you behind the sticks. When you get into second-and-11, it’s like, ‘Gosh, maybe we need to throw a short pass here to get it to a manageable third down or just pick up the first down.’ I think, first down runs we need to be better. If we can start getting five-, six-yard runs, it makes it a little easier and kind of opens up the playbook a little more. I think that kind of comes on all of us — offensive line, tight ends, receivers, too — they have a big role — and then the quarterbacks, and the running backs reading the holes and everything. It falls on all of us. Me, I know I need to be better, continue to go to work. I think we’re putting in good plans. We just have to go out there and execute.”

On DE Joey Bosa:

“The dude is a beast. I mean, yesterday was a day where that guy kind of took over a game and, really, I feel like won a game for us. Not that he hasn’t in the past, but we were all like, ‘Dang.’ When we needed a big play, Joey came through. I’m super glad we have a guy like that and we have him on our team.”

On building momentum with the win:

“Last year, obviously I wasn’t a part of it — I mean, I was around it, but we won a lot of close games. Our season could have been flipped the other way if those games didn’t go our way. The NFL, every game is going to be close pretty much. Every team is good. You try to find a way to win these games. We did yesterday. We got a taste of it now. Hopefully, we can start stacking these up.

On turning the 2017 season around after an 0-4 start:

“We were 0-4 and went to the Giants. The Giants, they were 0-4, too, if I remember right. It was kind of a similar game. We played alright and we got a win. That stretch of losses, it kind of starts to wear on you and you finally get one, and you start to get that momentum going. I think we just have to come in, obviously, like we have been and just continue to go to work. This week will be big for us. We have a good Packers team coming in. I think everybody will be excited to come in on Wednesday and get going.”

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