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Transcript - Head Coach Anthony Lynn (Dec. 31, 2018)

Monday, December 31, 2018 | Hoag Performance Center | Costa Mesa, Calif.


Opening Statement:

"[LB] Jatavis Brown will be out, with an ankle. [RB] Melvin Gordon [III] came out of the game with an ankle [injury]. He will get treatment today and tomorrow, and we'll take a look at him on Wednesday to see where he is. [TE] Hunter Henry — he will take reps with the first [-team] offense this week. He's been working with the scout team and doing some individual [drills] and some drills on the side, but this week he will work with our [starting] offense and we'll see where he's at [towards] the end of the week. [RB] Austin Ekeler made it through the game just fine."

On whether TE Hunter Henry will be placed on the active roster this week:

"I have not made that decision yet. We want to give a good look at him this week to see where he's at. I like the progress that he's been making, but he hasn't played football for a long time — since last December. He was hurt in April, so it's been a while. He's going to need to really show us that he's ready [to play]."

On what progress Henry made to indicate he would possibly be ready to play:

"I believe that the knee is stable. We did some things last week and thought he looked really good. Now, it's just about conditioning, the chemistry with the offense and just playing football."

On what Henry would bring to the offense:

"Well, he's a good tight end. He's one of the better combo tight ends in the game. His size. His red-zone [productivity]. We're getting it done with some other guys right now, but Hunter can definitely add to that. Like I said, just his pass protection and blocking — he can do a lot of things. A lot of things that can help us, but like I said, he hasn't played football in a long time."

On whether LB Jatavis Brown is out for this week or the season:

"He's out and is done for the year."

On the approach to replace Brown:

"We have guys who are going to need to step up — [LB] Hayes [Pullard] is one of those guys. [LB] Kyle Wilson — he's one of those guys. Those guys are going to need to step up. We'll need to play with some different personnel packages as well, so we'll see."

On Pullard's performance against Denver:

"I think he came in and played hard. He's a sure-tackler and knows our defense like the back of his hand. He helps people around him and is a good football player."

On the status of RB Melvin Gordon III:

"I do expect him to be available, but I'm not sure how serious his ankle injury is. Knowing Melvin and this type of game, these are the games that he lives to play for. I do think he'll be available, but we'll see though. I'm not going to guarantee that."

On any concern for Gordon's injury occurring on the same leg as his prior knee injury:

"Well, he's had injuries on both knees. So, there's not really much more of a concern."

On whether the game between Kansas City and Oakland affected the decision to remove starters on Sunday:

"I had no idea what the score was in the Kansas City game, to be honest with you. I wanted our team to get up a couple of scores late in game so we could put some of our reserves in. Those guys have been waiting to play all year. I think some of those guys are going to explode when they get out there on the field and look forward to seeing those guys play. They haven't played in a long time, since the preseason. So, you can't just put the whole second team in because there aren't enough players, but there were key guys I did want to see get in the game and play. Unfortunately, there wasn't a lot of time left on the clock when we did [insert reserve players]. The game was just too tight."

On the challenges of preparing for a late-season opponent again immediately in the playoffs:

"Both teams are very familiar with one another. You're not going to change a whole lot at this point — it's just about execution right now. It's going out to make plays and executing."

On the approach to preparing for the playoff game against Baltimore:

"It's just a normal East Coast schedule. Players will be off on Tuesday. We'll practice on Wednesday and Thursday, then leave on Friday. We'll practice in Baltimore on Saturday and play the game on Sunday at 1 p.m. I just like to keep things in routine as much as I can."

On if the last touchdown drive in the game against Denver sparked momentum heading into the playoffs:

"It's a little momentum, but it's being kind to say it's been [just] two games out of sync. That last drive gave us a lot of momentum going into this game on Sunday [against Baltimore], but that's what we're capable of — we know that. It was just good to see it."

On the importance of a balanced offensive approach:

"We've done a pretty good job that all year, in terms of keeping it balanced with running the football and mixing it in with our passing attack, [as well as] the play-action game. I think though the other day we had 27-24. I mean, we had more rushes than we had passes. I think [Offensive Coordinator] Ken [Whisenhunt] has done an outstanding job of maintaining that balance. When you get into December and January, you have to be able to run the football in the league. Especially, in some of the places that we're going to have to go play."

On any concerns going into the postseason with the offense appearing out of sync:

"There's some concern, but it's definitely something I believe we can fix. I think it was back in 1997 [as a player in Denver] when we went into the Wild Card having lost the last couple of games [of the season] before we went into the playoffs. We got it fixed and swept everyone in the playoffs that year to go on and win the Super Bowl. I think we can do the same thing here. I'm not overly concerned. I am concerned, but not overly concerned. It's a new season and think there's a different energy right now. These guys are excited and can't wait to play."

On QB Philip Rivers contributing to the team making the playoffs:

"He's one of the reasons why we're in this position. He's definitely a big piece of the puzzle."

On the energy S Derwin James brings to the defensive unit:

"He brings a lot of energy. Not just on the football field, it's also just walking down the hallways [at the facility]. I love that guy. He loves football. He's very passionate about what he does."

On whether James brings unteachable qualities to the team:

"Well, it's hard to coach and teach the instincts that he has for the game. Some of the plays that he makes sometimes, that's not how we [may have] drawn it up, but he's able to make some of those [types] of plays. He's a smart kid."

On any advantages to playing against Ravens QB Lamar Jackson twice in three weeks:

"It helps, but like I said, they're not going to change a lot. We just have to stop them. We know what they're going to do and we have to stop them. They're a very physical football team and they make you play very disciplined because of their quarterback. We just have to do a little better job this time than we did the first time."

On the importance of winning the turnover battle:

"It's huge. I think in any game, the turnover battle is huge. I think that's the [No. 2] stat that correlates to winning right now in our league. So, it's big."

On whether the turnover battle is more important against Baltimore due to their style of play:

"It's important based on any style, to be honest with you. It's definitely important with the playoffs. If you win the turnover battle, your chances of winning are pretty high."

On the league now having only two active African-American head coaches:

"No, I've heard [about the recent firings] but have not had a chance to reach out. I know a lot of those coaches. It's just that my focus has been on Baltimore to be honest with you. I think they would all understand that, as that's where it should be. When watching tape on Baltimore, I'm not counting the black players and the white players — they're just football players to me. I look forward to the time we just talk about good coaches. Not black coaches. Not white coaches. Just coaches. It happens every year in our business. They're going to fire six or seven of us every single year. You know, unfortunately, we're evaluated on how fast we can turn [the team] around. I think with some of our greatest coaches, Hall of Fame guys, I question if they would last in today's environment, but that's just the way it is. We know what we sign up for. It happens with good coaches every single year. Black, white, it doesn't matter."

On whether the patience level is decreasing for coaches:

"Yeah, I think patience is getting shorter. Probably, ever since the invention of the microwave. It's just what we signed up for."


On preparing to face Baltimore on Sunday:

"You definitely look back at [the Week 16 matchup]. I guess you start looking at it tomorrow. We have today off, and tomorrow, but I'll definitely start looking at it tomorrow. The good thing about it is that we've played these guys before. I'm pretty sure they have the same players, the same scheme and things like that. We do as well, so we definitely kind of all know each other going into the game. We have to come in and prepare, and make sure we're more prepared than the other team."

On if the team wanted to play Baltimore in the AFC Wild Card:

"It didn't matter. It doesn't matter who we play. We just had to be in the playoffs. Our goal is to try to make a run and try to get to the Super Bowl. It doesn't matter if you're going against Baltimore or Pittsburgh, we have to go on the road and win the game."

On having played Ravens QB Lamar Jackson recently:

"I'm not sure how much of an advantage it is because, just like we get to go against him for a second time, he gets to go against us a second time as well. He kind of gets to know us a little bit better as well. He gets a lot more film on us to see what we did to try to take him away. Their coaches get to know what we try to do to take him away. It's going to be a chess match going into the game."

On if it helps prepare for Jackson's speed to have played him before:

"Maybe a little bit. I don't know, you can ask me after the game if it helps that we get to play him a second time or not. Hopefully it does benefit us in a good way and that we can get it done the second time [around]. He's a good player. He can make the throws, run the ball, and they have a good defense so we have to come to play — and it's going to be on the road."

On how the Baltimore offense is different than typical NFL offenses:

"Not a crazy amount of difference. Maybe it's like Seattle a little bit because Seattle runs the ball a lot. They try to run the ball and have a mobile quarterback as well, so probably similar to Seattle. It's not a crazy amount of difference, but the quarterback is just super athletic."

On making reads on the play call when facing Jackson and Baltimore:

"It's a little easier on me on the outside because I just watch the receivers. You might have to ask some linebackers. The linebackers probably have a little more reading and things like that they have to do. If I watch the receiver, I'm pretty much going to be on-point with [the play call]."

On the defensive confidence:

"Going into the playoffs, you always say you have to pack your defense when going on the road. That's what we have to do. We want to come in and try to be the best defense in this game. I feel like, if we can go in and be the best defense in this game, we'll have a good chance of winning this game."

On the importance of the defensive possessions against Baltimore:

"Those guys want to run the ball and control the time of possession, but we have to come in here ready and prepared to go because they have a good defense. We have to try to create some turnovers in some way. Last time we played them, their defense did that and, ultimately, I think that's what helped them win the game."

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