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Transcript - Head Coach Anthony Lynn (Dec. 9, 2019)


Monday, December 9, 2019 | Hoag Performance Center | Costa Mesa, Calif.


On S Roderic Teamer and LB Denzel Perryman:

"They'll be back this week."

On DT Jerry Tillery:

"He's been active the whole season. This was one of those games where I really felt like if they had gotten a lead or gotten up on us, that they were going to pound the rock. They have done a pretty good job at that. I wanted to put a 330-pounder in there to help stop the run, that was the thought behind that. Nothing against Jerry."

On being satisfied with Tillery's development:

"Yes, absolutely."

On having a first-round pick inactive:

"It depends on who we're playing. Understanding what this team was trying to do, what they've been doing and what has made them successful to this point in time, I needed a big body in there. That's what it was. I didn't need a third three-technique."

On the Vikings rushing attack:

"Well, that's a different scheme. It's a wide zone-scheme that [Vikings Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Advisor] Gary Kubiak runs a lot, that I'm very familiar with. You can have athletes in there that can run and chase, and can hit versus a power scheme."

On if he spoke to Tillery:

"I did because sometimes when a player is down like that, they want to know why. I did explain to him why and he understood. He didn't like it, but he understood."

On Tillery's reaction:

"Well, I don't have to convince him. I just tell him what he's going to do and that's what he does."

On if being inactive could light a fire in Tillery:

"It could. I mean, if you're making plays where I can't take you off the field, that's nice."

On LB Drue Tranquill:

"He played pretty good last night. He is very mature for a rookie. He's professional. I thought last night that he played one of his best games, to be honest with you. He set the tone from the very first snap.

"His intangibles though. He was a two-time captain at Notre Dame. That was something that we loved about him. Those intangibles are starting to show in our locker room right now and on the football field. He's going to be a heck of a pro. I'm glad we have him.

"That MIKE or that WILL position, I feel like he can play either one of them, to be honest with you. He's more of a MIKE right now in our scheme."

On WR Mike Williams' celebration penalty:

"That's hard to believe that he didn't know that was a rule because that's something that we've talked about a lot. You can't use anything as a prop when celebrating in the end zone. We've had those meetings, so I'm really not buying that one.

"We talk about that year-round. We have a little smart ball session where our assistant tight end coach [Offensive Assistant Coach Dan] Smash [Shamash], he gets in front of the group and does a heck of a job of explaining NFL rules and situational football every Friday."

On the offensive execution:

"That was preparation. We know in those situations that they like to bring pressure and [Offensive Coordinator] Shane [Steichen] dialed it up and it went 84 yards. I think Shane has been calling the games very well. I feel like when we don't turn the ball over, we consistently move the ball up and down the field."

On the offensive line:

"I thought the offensive line did a heck of a job. Going into this game, their pass rush was really a strength of theirs and something that we were concerned about. We had a plan for that. I thought they executed well. I think we gave up one sack."

On the difference in blocking:

"Everyone. Running backs helping, tight ends helping in chip-help on those wide ends that they like to you. The line just stepped up. [T] Russell Okung being healthier made a big difference."

On the offensive line communication being better:

"Yes, yes I do believe that they're communicating better. [T] Sam Tevi is back at the right tackle, Russell [Okung] at the left. Those guys have been out for a while. The continuity is better right now."

On C Scott Quessenberry:

"Quess is getting better every week. I do believe that."

On the downfield blocking:

"I'll tell you what, on the perimeter on [RB] Austin's [Ekeler] big runs, that's why he gave you the shoutout [to TE Hunter Henry] because if Hunter Henry doesn't make those blocks, he doesn't get those yards and you can throw [WR] Keenan Allen in there as well. He did a heck of a job."

On TE Hunter Henry:

"I think he's one of the better combo tight ends in the game, no doubt. Pass protection, run blocking and receiving."

On LB Thomas Davis Sr. giving suggestions to the offensive play that resulted in Henry's touchdown:

"He came straight to me in practice one day last week. He told me from the defense's perspective how he would view that play and what we could do differently to make that play work. So, I thought about it. I thought, 'You know, sometimes we don't give defensive players enough credit.' We went in and made the adjustments. As soon as we ran the play in the game, he was in my ear. I told him, 'Get away from me.' [He was saying,] 'I told you so,' but he was right, and we listened to him.

"I love it when veteran players give us that type of feedback because they keep us connected to the game. Sometimes, what they see on the field and what we see are completely different. They're playing the game."


On being as open as he was on his touchdown catch:

"It was a well-designed play. A lot of props to [LB] Thomas Davis [Sr.], actually. We talked through that play. We had it set up a different way last week. He said, 'They're going to know it's that play.' So, we kind of had to disguise it, motion the big lineman, [C/G Ryan] Groy across the formation to try and disguise it a little bit more. Have to give a shoutout to Thomas, helping us out with that design."

On LB Thomas Davis Sr.:

"He's been around for so long that he can pick up things, especially tendencies. He helps all of us out, everybody. He sees something like if we raise up or do something different on a pass or run, he's always able to pay attention to those little tendencies to help you out."

On the morale after the win:

"Really good. It's been a tough stretch these past few weeks, not like we've wanted it to be. On Monday, we can't do anything about what's in the past, we were just trying to focus on Jacksonville, go out there and be 1-0. We went across the country. It was two teams that were 4-8. We knew we were both going to come out swinging and needed something. We needed to jump on them and we were able to do that. We executed well."

On facing Minnesota this week:

"I don't know if we're playing for that, but we're excited to go out there and have another opportunity this week against another good football team that's coming out here. We get to play a home game, for once. I feel like we haven't been home in a while. I know that we'll all be excited about that. We're playing a really good Vikings team. We'll be fired up and ready to go."

On the performance on QB Philip Rivers' birthday:

"That dude, he's a stud, man. He's been through a lot. We all have. That dude, he's a beast, man. We are all sticking by him no matter what. That dude is awesome. He's our leader, he's our captain. To see him, on his birthday, have a game like that, that's what we expect out of him. He's a stud."

On Rivers' trash talk:

"You have to love it. He's the ultimate competitor. He loves to win. He loves to compete. It makes you want to be at your best. When you're not at your best, you feel bad. If you mess up one play, if you have a missed block, if a guy gets a pressure on him, if you drop a pass or if you have anything — he makes you want to raise your game to a new level. It's fun playing with a guy like that."

On reports the past couple of weeks:

"I didn't pay attention to it. I know the kind of guy that he is. I know what he's done in his career. I know who he is, too. I knew that he was going to bounce back. That was the biggest thing, too. That dude's resolve and the way that he attacks each week, and puts it behind him, I knew he was due for a game like yesterday. It was awesome to see him have a game like that, especially on his birthday. Like I said, he's our leader, our captain. It was fun to see him perform that well."

On RB Austin Ekeler:

"I had some good backs in college, I'm not going to lie. [Colts RB] Jonathan Williams and [free agent RB] Alex Collins, but just a guy with what Ek can bring to the game, I have not been able to play with a guy like that. It's awesome, it's special. Especially in the run game and even when he catches the ball, afterwards you kind of get excited to block. You get one block for that guy, it can go to the house each time. He's super explosive. Just to see how he steps it up each year and to see where he has come from. I remember seeing him his rookie year and no one really paid attention to him. He was just like this little No. 3 in OTAs and training camp. We were like, 'Who is this kid?' He explodes in the last preseason game and we said, 'Oh my gosh.' All of the sudden — I think it was the Jacksonville game two years ago, he exploded and kind of came onto the scene. Just to see him each year — I told him last night how proud I was of him and just all that he's been through. It's really cool to see."

On his season:

"Getting hurt wasn't part of that [plan]. An NFL season is usually never going to go according to plan all the way. I've been through a ton of adversity and this team has been through a ton of adversity. Individually, I feel like after the injury that I've been able to bounce back. I was very excited just to be back out there. I feel like I've played well since being back. An injury is never what you want, but I've bounced back quickly and was able to get out there. Individually, I feel good about my season. I'm feeling solid about it."

On some games with lower statistical output:

"That's how the game goes sometimes. You're not going to explode each week. With my role, I like to be a guy that's able to block, too. Some people don't really take that into account, too. I get excited to kind of spring a big run or get those other guys open. It's just kind of how it flows sometimes. It's not that big of a deal to me. I'm excited just to get a win. That's really all I'm trying to do out there."

On his development:

"Having no [former TE Antonio] Gates here, it definitely is a little different. I'm the guy on third down and in crucial moments. I know I have to take on a little bit of a bigger role. [TE] Virgil [Green] is great. [TE] Lance [Kendricks] is awesome, too. We have a great room. It's fun to bounce things off those guys. Those guys are great players, too. I know that I kind of have to take that leadership role a little bit and kind of be the guy — and try to be the guy for [Philip] Phil [Rivers], too. Just be an easy outlet for him."

On Arkansas hiring Sam Pittman as head coach:

"I'm pumped, man, I'm pumped. He was their [offensive] line coach when I was there for three years. He's a stud. I'm looking forward to seeing what he does. He's an awesome recruiter. I have two brothers there. I'm excited to see what they think about him and where the program is going. Obviously, we have a long way to go as a program, but if there's anybody that can do it, I think Sam Pittman can do it.

"My blocking, I would say, is big time because of him. He taught me a lot, just a lot of technique, footwork. The simple things of the game just to make me better and make me able to play fast. He's really good at developing players. He's a guy that can really help us at Arkansas and develop these young guys. Hopefully, we start seeing some more wins and see the program turn around."


On the defensive performance:

"Well, I thought outside of the first drive, we played really well. I thought we kept [Jaguars QB] Gardner [Minshew II] in the pocket. I thought we stopped [Jaguars RB Leonard] Fournette and did a good job in the run game. We played gap-sound. Defensively, I thought we did really well. I think the offense, obviously, complemented that, allowed us to stay fresh and sustained long drives for us. They did a nice job also."

On his performance:

"I was making some plays. I was excited. We were trying to get off the field, though. I was like, 'Dang.' I was huffing and puffing a little bit by the end of the drive. Obviously, I had a little bit of production, but would have liked to probably get a three-and-out or at least a four or five-and-out."

On maintaining the lead after taking it:

"It is [encouraging]. I mean, [Defensive Coordinator] Coach [Gus] Bradley always says, 'Give us an edge and we'll protect it.' Our red zone defense has been a staple for us this year. Obviously, they got the catch on the seven-ball and got the touchdown there — I think either late in the second quarter or in the third quarter — which we'd like to have back. Other than that, I thought we played well. We got a lot of three-and-outs and gave our offense opportunities [by getting] the ball back."

On the season:

"I think, first and foremost as a team, the goal is to win a championship — a World Championship. We're not in the position that we want to be in to do that this year. I think we realize that, but we focus on controlling what we can control. I think, individually, my idea and my goal was just to embrace my role, whatever that was. Early on, that was special teams, so I did my best to make tackles, make plays, block kicks and do what I could do to help our team in that way. It's kind of evolved a little bit more into a defensive role now. Just trying to get the calls, get the guys set up, make plays, TFLs, tackles and do what I can. I think when guys are embracing our roles, we operate at our best. I think we did that in Jacksonville yesterday. I think that's why you saw the team success."

On his expanding role:

"We have a veteran group in the linebacker room, obviously, starting out with [LB] Thomas [Davis Sr.] and his 15 years of experience, and even [LB] Denzel [Perryman] and his five or six years. He's our best run defender. To learn from him in the run game and be able to learn from Thomas in the pass game, Thomas being a former safety himself, has been cool. Obviously, [Linebackers] Coach [Richard] Smith has been in the league a long time and is one of the best technical coaches I've ever had in regards to the detail of the position. I certainly appreciate his expertise and what he brings to the table in terms of learning the linebacker position."

On LB Thomas Davis Sr.:

"I think Thomas just sees things that I might not see as a young player. I'll give you a specific example — yesterday, it was the first drive of the game, it might of been the third or fourth play, and he noticed a wide split between the guard and the tackle. He said, 'Hey, the lead play is coming. You need to widen over here.' I was just like, 'I'm just going to line up in my spot because I have to be able to spill both gaps.' Sure enough, they ran the lead play right there and the guard tried to climb up to me and seal me. If I would have been a little wider, it would have helped me make the play a little easier. I think [Leonard] Fournette got seven or eight that plays. It would could have been a stuff or a stop for one or two yards. That's just an example of Thomas noticing small details like that — a split between the guard and the tackle, and being able to relay that information."

On his background as a safety:

"I think you bring the knowledge of coverage to linebacker. Typically, linebackers learn football run-to-pass. Safeties and the secondary learn it pass-to-run because that's just your responsibilities at each of those levels. Certainly, my experience at safety allows me to understand zone coverage, allows me to understand man coverage, leverage all of those things now that help me as a linebacker in the passing game. In regards to learning to become a linebacker, this is kind of why I went back to school last year for my last year at Notre Dame, just to learn the nuances of seeing pullers, seeing things move more quickly and being closer to the line of scrimmage. I think I was able to do that and I'm continually progressing."

On feeling experienced:

"You're constantly evolving in your experience. Obviously, I would say that I'm not a super experienced player, but I certainly don't feel like a rookie anymore. I feel like one of the guys. I feel like a guy who can help our team win, who can contribute on the field on Sundays. I feel like I get treated that way from the guys. I have that mutual respect. Certainly, when you come in, you have to earn your respect. We're not in the position that we want to be in, being a 5-8 football team, but I think the guys are closer than ever and we're moving forward. You certainly see that in the win against Jacksonville yesterday."

On the last three games:

"They're huge in regards to moving forward and in regards to building what we want to build. They're each individual opportunities to get better as a team, get better as a collective whole and move forward into next year, and do what we want to do."

On members of the Rams rooting for the Chargers against Minnesota:

"Sharing the same city, it's weird in a sense, but we'll [try] to go get the win for them. We can share that."

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