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Transcript - Offseason Program Phase 1 (April 23, 2019)


Tuesday, April 23, 2019 | Hoag Performance Center | Costa Mesa, Calif.


Opening statement:

"It's good to be back and have the players back in the building. We're in our first phase, so just meeting time in the classroom. Just to get them back in here and get caught up on some things — we've had some good meetings already just talking about closing last year and looking at some areas that we need to improve on. It's kind of our focal point from here on forward."

On DE Joey Bosa:

"He's a great player for us. There's so many things, not only on the field, but what he brings to our whole unit — the expectation and standard that he creates. Obviously, we're excited to get him back for another year."

On DT Justin Jones:

"A lot of guys make a big step their second year. They understand the defense and the techniques that are involved. They all want to take that next step to understand formation tendencies and things like that. We applaud that as a coaching staff, but not at the expense of our fundamentals. Those are key. That's been a big emphasis thus far with our players. I know that, him coming back into a familiar environment for a second year and some of the offseason things that he did — I think he kind of pared down his training to what he felt like would help him after being a year in the system. He looks really good coming back. We're excited just to see how far he's developed."

On CB Trevor Williams:

"He's another guy that's very competitive. I think that was a big strain on him. Any time you're not completely healthy and there's some uncertainty with what you have to do — I think, for him, just to get it cleaned up, have it back to 100 percent and feeling good. It brings more clarity for him, too. I think we hope to get him back to where he was and then build on that."

On CB Michael Davis:

"He did [play well last season]. He made great improvements. One of the big challenges for him is — he has great speed, that's pretty obvious — but we ask our corners to tackle. That was a big emphasis for him. Give him credit, he put together a tape of just his tackling and would go to coaches and have them talk to him about how to improve as a tackler. It's one thing — being a willing tackler and a willing guy that wants to get better to make his game even more well-rounded. It's a credit to him and he did improve greatly in that area."

On Michael Davis' expectations:

"I think it's to continue those areas and also, as a corner, just to make more plays on the ball — your ball skills. Go up for the ball and make big plays on one's where there is the opportunity that they're throwing at you. Not just to get a PBU or a breakup, but to turn those opportunities into takeaways."

On the importance of versatility:

"I think it starts off with trying to utilize guys' skillsets. That's what this time of the year is, just to see them move. Once you do that, you kind of put a picture — plan A, plan B, plan C — for situations that come up throughout the year. I give a lot of credit to the position coaches. [Linebackers Coach] Richard Smith, for example. The linebackers play all three positions. That was a little bit new to me. I was more like, 'Hey, let's lock them into one position and let them get good at that,' but it ended up paying off for us because we had to move some guys around. A lot of that credit goes to the position coaches creating some flexibility and, really at this stage, training them that way so that if an opportunity presents itself and all of the sudden it's Week 10 and we're going in to make a change, at least they've done it before. It's good in that aspect. We have some guys that allow that to happen, too."

On what Bosa brings to the defense:

"One of the things with Joey is that he's very internally-driven. He knows what it looks like and how it should look. He won't accept anything less. That type of a mindset — to have that in the practice, the meetings and on the field every day just elevates his play. I think that's a great message for all of our guys. He has that and then the skillset. He has the length and the speed — if you talked about a defensive end or a LEO-type rusher, normally you don't see it with his stature because guys don't have the speed or the bend. He's unique with his skillset and his body type, and how he's developed that. He came in with a lot of good skills, but I think he's refined them a lot with [Defensive Line] Coach Giff [Smith] to elevate his play. He's just really consistent and an internally-driven guy."

On the Bosa brothers:

"It's hard to compare them and to get into that. I know [Ohio State DE] Nick [Bosa] is a really good player. Just in conversations with Joey [Bosa], Joey says, 'He's better than me.' That's his brother saying it, too. If you're putting him in that category, he's obviously a really good player."

On what he will do on Thursday:

"Just watching [the draft] like you wondering how they fall. Everything changes. Look at last year, for example. I don't think any of us anticipated in our room anticipated that [S] Derwin [James Jr.] would drop that far and give us that opportunity. There are always things like that happen within the draft that catch your attention. You start putting together and you have, 'Hey, here's three guys that could be there. I wonder if they're going to be,' and then the board always changes. You have to be open. Our scouting staff and [Head] Coach [Anthony] Lynn, they do a great job with it. They keep us informed enough to where we have an idea, but there are still things that come up during the draft that even catch our attention."

On if the playoff loss left a bad taste in the mouth of the coaching staff:

"You know what, you try to use the offseason to get over that. There's a period of time where it stings. Then you go back and look and say, 'What would we have done differently? How could we have put ourselves in better position?' You go through all of that. Then, this is really the first time that the players and the coaches are back together since then. You kind of go through the season again, a year in review, and the areas that we need to improve on. Hopefully, a sting like that helps us to improve this year and takes us to another level. With our guys and the way that they've come in already, what we've seen, I believe it will."

On the signing of LB Thomas Davis Sr.:

"You know, I didn't know Thomas Davis like some of our guys. [Linebackers Coach] Richard Smith coached him, [Defensive Backs Coach] Ron Milus was with him, [Assistant Defensive Backs Coach] Chris Harris played with him. These guys, when he was available, came in and just talked off the charts about him not only as a player, but as a person and what he brings. I can tell you this, in the short time he's been here, he's already had an impact on our guys. Guys are gravitating towards him. He has no problem. He walks into this building and immediately is one of our strongest leaders. He's done a great job. I think we're all grateful that he's here."

On the days following the playoffs loss:

"I think you're supposed to say, as a coach, that we're past that and we've moved on from it — but it did sting. Just because you work so hard, you get close like that and you have an opportunity in front of you. We just didn't feel like we capitalized on it. We got behind right away early and we were spinning a little bit. We re-grouped and came back, but we just didn't have enough. I think that part — lost opportunities like that. Give credit to them, they're a really good team. You have to play at a high level each play when you're playing a team like that, and we just didn't do that."

On the health of the linebackers:

"Yeah, and hopefully we'll keep getting more guys back like that. I think everybody is energized and ready to get this opportunity going. It will be fun once we get to OTAs, but we have this phase right now that we're working on. You can see guys — this group is unique. I've said that. There are a lot of good guys and a lot of good players in the NFL, but how this group really cares and pulls for one another, that part of it is a little bit unique. They've picked up right where they left off."


On how comfortable he is in the defense:

"I feel really comfortable, actually. Where I think I started is just getting to know your teammates better, getting to know who you're playing for and who you're around. The guys on my team are great guys. Just in general, great guys, even before on the field. I'm getting to know guys' families, like [LB] Denzel Perryman's family, [NT] Brandon Mebane's family. Just meeting everybody's family, finding out who they are off the field. That helps out a lot when you're playing for them because you know who you're playing for and you know what type of guys you're playing with. It makes your comfort-level skyrocket."

On NT Brandon Mebane:

"It's very rare that you get a vet back like that. For me this year, I want to take advantage of the knowledge he has and everything. He taught me a lot last year, but I could imagine [how much] in my second year because that's when you're supposed to make the biggest jump in your career — from the first year to the second year. Just having a guy like that in our room, I can just imagine the [projection] from now until the end of the season."

On if he feels he's ready to take the next step:

"I feel like I'm able to make that next step. I feel I am going to make that next step. I put in a lot of work this offseason. I put in a lot of extra work with the guys after workouts and everything. Just getting my mind right, studying film. Taking the areas that I needed to improve on, just making those things better and just helping the guys out in my room just like they're helping me."

On what he has done this offseason:

"Oh, just little things. Maybe instead of mindlessly watching film, focus on maybe a step or focus on maybe a hand placement, focus on maybe a head turn. When we're out doing the drill, focus on maybe a toe point rather than just placing it down. Focus on the hand position rather than just tracking it. Just the little things like that. The small details can take you a long way."

On what changed over the course of his first season:

"I know towards the end of the season, the game slowed down tremendously just for the simple fact that I started to have a lot more fun. Now, I'm comfortable, I know what I'm doing and everybody knows what I can do. Now, I'm comfortable and it's slowed down for me ten-fold. Now that I'm going into my next season, I do feel like the game will slow down even more. Like I said, just from the work that we put in and the film that we watch."

On the team camaraderie:

"I feel like my college team is the only thing that I can really say that is similar [to here], but it's different when you're in college. The guys are forced to be there with you. You're forced to live with them. It's almost like you have no choice but to be brothers. Here, guys have the opportunity to hang out with each other, they have the option to hang out with each other and they choose to rather than go home by themselves. That's what makes it different. Like I said, in college, they're forced. Out here, they choose to be a team and be close together. They want to get to know your family and where you're from. That's what I think pays off when it comes to playoff time and it comes to the tight games where we need to dig deeper. You wouldn't mind digging deeper for the guys that actually know you."

On being part of a crowded position last year:

"You wait for your turn. It's different when the guys that are in front of you don't talk to you and don't want to teach you anything, don't want to let you know anything. When you have a guy like Corey Liuget, [who isn't here], who tells you everything you're doing wrong and keeps reminding you that you're going to be a good player in the next couple of years. You're going to be doing big things, keep the course and keep your eyes on the prize. It's the stuff like that. Throughout the season, it's a long year your rookie year. It's easy to get distracted and it's easy to start looking for other things to do. For you to stay focused, that's how you go from good to great."

On what he changed in his training this offseason:

"I changed my diet. I eat a lot more vegetables. I stopped eating red meat. I watch a little more film. I started going to the sauna because I heard that's pretty good for you. This offseason, I tried a bunch of different things. Instead of training in football, I went to do boxing. I went and did field work, but I did a little bit of swimming. I rode a bike — I don't ride bikes, but I rode a bike this time. Stuff like that, just keeping things different. Still getting the workout in, but having fun while you're doing it with something that you normally wouldn't do."

On the motivation to switch up the training:

"You think between OTAs, training camp, workouts and the season, that's a lot of football going on. The chance you have to get away from football, I think you may want to do that. [Head] Coach [Anthony] Lynn actually said that in a team meeting once, just to get away from it. He said, 'If you have a bike, go ride a bike.' I haven't rode a bike since I was in seventh or eighth grade, but I rode a bike. It's just different. I have a whole new respect for boxers because I went a round-and-a-half to two rounds sparring and I about died. They go 12 rounds. They make it look easy. It's stuff like that, trying different things. Who knows? Maybe when football is over, you might have a love for a different thing that you never knew you had, but it took that offseason for you to find out."

On if it was hard to give up red meat:

"I mean, you can get a turkey burger. You can season that right and it tastes the same. I do like chicken. I do like fish — salmon, tilapia. I had swordfish for the first time, it was pretty good. [Giving up] red meat is hard, but what you realize is that there's a lot more things that you can do with other meats just to fill that void. I do feel a lot better. I feel a lot lighter, I feel a lot faster just because it's not sitting on me all the time."

On if he weighs less due to the change in diet:

"A couple pounds lighter, but I definitely feel lighter. That's the important part."

On the signing of LB Thomas Davis Sr.:

"He's new, like you said, but what happens when a guy like that walks in the room and you already know his resume, so you obviously give him the utmost respect that you can give. He comes in, he doesn't have to speak, but you know he's a leader. He's one of those guys that, when you walk into the room, you kind of just look and wait for him to say something because you know how much knowledge he has. 15 years in the league, that's a long time. That's a lot of games played, that's a lot of situations that you had to make the best out of and handle those adverse times. For a guy like me who is going into year two, I would rather know how you overcame those adverse times so that when I hit those times, I know how to proceed."

On his pre-draft process last year:

"It was [nerve-wrecking]. Like I've said, I was bowling. Obviously, you don't want to look and say, 'Oh, I know I'm better than that guy,' but they told me I had a second or third-round grade. I was thinking I'll probably go at the end of the second somewhere, early in the third — somewhere in there. When the guys started going off the board, I was like, 'Man, I may not even get drafted today.' We were bowling, like I said, and [I had to go home]. I didn't want to be there. Everybody was just looking at me — every time a defensive tackle got tackled, they looked at me. It's cool. It worked out in my favor. I couldn't see myself with a different team other than the Chargers just because, again, the team, the chemistry, the coaches. The coaches love the players, the players love the coaches and the players love each other. You can't find that everywhere. From what I've heard throughout the league, most of the players don't talk to each other like that."

On how he ranks as a bowler on the roster:

"I do think I'm probably one of the best bowlers on the team. I bowl a lot with [G/T] Trent Scott and he's pretty good. I think we've played 20 times and I've beat him five. My mentality is, if Muhammad Ali fights 100 fights and a regular Joe Schmo comes in here and knocks him out — for the rest of that Joe Schmo's career, they're going to know him for knocking out Muhammad Ali. Beating Trent five times, it's like I knocked out Muhammad Ali. You can win 20 more games, but I already beat you [a handful], so it doesn't even matter. Simple math, right?"

On his average bowling score:

"Man, average? Like 110 to 120. It's alright. 120 is a really good day. I think the worst I've bowled is like a 50. That's a regular-sized ball, though. When I get my custom ball, I'm going to be really knocking those pins down."


On the offseason:

"It's been pretty good. I got a chance to get my body back healthy. I worked on the things that I need to work on as far as getting better at my game."

On being healthy again this offseason:

"Coming out, I was a little banged up with the back issue. Coming out my second year going into my third year, I'm a lot more comfortable and ready to go."

On building on last season:

"I just want to keep getting better. In this league, you have to keep getting better year by year. I feel like I haven't reached my peak yet. I just have to continue to get better every day I come out here and just keep it going."

On WR Tyrell Williams signing with Oakland:

"Tyrell was a big part of this offense. He left and so the other receivers and I have to step up. We have to take on that role. We're out here getting a lot of balls in right now. We just have to step up and make plays."

On the depth at wide receiver:

"Everybody on this team knows what those guys are capable of. [WR Artavis] Tay [Scott] came out last year and had a great camp. [WR Geremy] Germ [Davis] came out, he's reliable in our offense and knows every position. [WR Andre] Dre [Patton] and [WR] Justice [Liggins] are young players making plays. [WR] Dylan [Cantrell] also, he has a big body and can go up to make contested catches. We're looking to having him here also."

On relationships in the wide receivers room:

"Oh, it's good. Everybody is here. Nobody is missing. We don't have any new guys or new faces. We're just going in there and engaging in meetings, then coming out here and having fun."

On his pre-draft process:

"I didn't [know where I'd be drafted] at all. I didn't speak to any of the Chargers people. I ended up here and I'm grateful."

On if he has reached out to former teammates who are entering the draft this year:

"Oh yeah, for sure. I actually caught up with those guys at the spring game. All of the guys that are coming out, they're in great spirits and just enjoying the moment."

On if he'd want any Clemson teammates in Los Angeles:

"Oh yeah, for sure. I feel like any of those guys could help us and this team. It would be good to add some more Clemson guys."

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