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Transcript - Postgame vs. New Orleans Saints (Aug. 18, 2019)



Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019 | ROKiT Field at Dignity Health Sports Park | Carson, Calif.


Opening statement:

"For three quarters, I thought it was pretty good complementary football. The fourth quarter, [Saints QB] Taysom Hill took it over and they completely outplayed us in the fourth quarter. Early on I saw some good things once the offensive line settled down from the two holding calls early. I thought they did some really good things. [QB] Cardale Jones, I thought he had his best game as a Charger. I liked the way he handled offense going up and down the field for 98 yards. [We had] a nice punt return from [RB Troymaine] Pope. It didn't surprise us. He's been flashing at camp, so he's coming on, but I was disappointed that we couldn't finish the game in the fourth quarter. As I said, Taysom Hill, I take my hat off to him. He's a heck of an athlete, he's a heck of aquarterback. He just took that game over."

On QB Cardale Jones:

"It's nice to see a player work as hard as he's worked at it and get better. Last week, he had one play that was taken back, but I thought he played decent last week as well. He's been doing it at practice. He's been calling extra meetings with young players. He is working at it, he's doing things that good quarterbacks do in this league. They work their tail off, they hold everyone else accountable and they help the players around him."

On what's been the difference with Jones:

"I think maturity, to be honest with you. It's, I think, the first time in his life he's been in the same system for consecutive seasons. It's made a big difference.

"I think he is understanding that if you want to be good at this league and take your game to the next level, you definitely have to outwork and work as hard as anyone with no sympathy. Not saying that he wasn't a hard worker, but the things that I see now, all the extra effort that he's doing, I didn't see before."

On the running game:

"I thought at times we ran the ball well. We had a couple runs early on where it wasn't so good. I give the Saints defense credit, those linebackers came downhill. I don't like the fact that on fourth-and-one — a little bit longer than a yard — we don't get that. I put us in those situations in preseason to see how we respond. It was a scenario where we did not respond the way I thought we would today."

On RB Justin Jackson:

"I think he's a solid runner. He's a good back. He's done some good things for us. He's had a good camp."

On DT Jerry Tillery's sack:

"You know, it looks like Jerry played pretty well. I've got to watch the tape to see how he played every down, but I like the fact that he got the sack and he wasn't even close. He did some good things out there tonight."

On WR Andre Patton:

"Andre, I thought he did some good things this evening. He stepped up. He made some plays. He's been doing the same thing in practice. There are some position battles going on at the wide receiver position. We're looking for someone to step up to separate and Andre made a move tonight."

On RB Troymaine Pope:

"You know his instincts, his quickness. His first-step explosion is as good as a lot of backs I've been around. I saw that last year with him on the scout team. We gave him more opportunities this year and he's taken advantage of it."

On LB Denzel Perryman:

"You know, Denzel coming off that injury and is a little rusty. Just trying to get him more reps, get him caught up so that he can get back to being Denzel."

On LB Uchenna Nwosu:

"Yeah, not sure what's going on with that yet, but I did see him walk off the field. He was playing pretty good ball before that."

On the defense:

"You know that's the way our defense has always been. They bend, but they don't break. They protect every inch. A lot of times they get in those situations and they make a play. I don't think we can count on that, but that's kind of where we've been. So, red zone defense — I thought it was pretty good today."

On S Derwin James Jr.:

"He's planning on having his surgery. When we know more, we'll let you know.

"I can't put a timetable on that."

On S Jaylen Watkins:

"It's good to see him healthy and back on the field. He's a versatile athlete. He can play corner, he can play nickel, he can play safety and he does some things on special teams. He's competing with some young kids — [S] Roderic Teamer. He's had a good camp, so we'll see how that works out."

On QB Easton Stick's fourth quarter:

"You know, he had some penalties that put him behind the eight-ball. He started inside the 10 a couple of times and then he had a critical first down called back. So, his drives really got stalled by penalties and he never really got going, but Easton's doing well."


On his touchdown catch:

"It was just something we had seen throughout the week with the joint practice and from just watching film. It was a perfect play at the right time."

On his preseason:

"So far, so good. I wasn't able to play the first game and I think that definitely gave me a little more juice this game."

On his comfort with the offense:

"I feel comfortable. With my first two years being my developmental years and this year really having a chance to go out there and make those plays, it's exciting."

On his chemistry with QB Cardale Jones:

"We have definitely built a relationship the last three years. We were both on the practice squad. Before the home games we would always work out and run routes. You can see in practice that our chemistry is there."


On the punt return touchdown:

"I just wanted to make sure I caught the ball. Once I caught the ball, I just let my natural ability take over. My cover team did a good job. I have to give all credit to them."

On the blocking for the touchdown:

"I saw the hole and made the first man miss. After the great block. It was a straight shot from there. I just used my speed to get into the end zone."

On his mindset for this preseason:

"I just want to focus on finishing right now. I'm not worried on what I did in the past."

On his special teams opportunities:

"The opportunities I'm having right now, I'm really trying to make the most of it. They're giving me a chance, I have to capitalize on it."


On how he felt:

"I felt great. No issues with my body. It felt good to be out there."

On the teams defensive presence:

"I think we were able to watch what they have done in practice and also their last game against Minnesota. That's a part of the game, scouting your opponent and having a plan going up against them."

On his sack:

"It was good to get out there and do what I've been working on in training camp. These are things we work on every day and we were able to get the right looks in the game. That's what we work and train for, and that's what we want to happen as a defensive line. It just worked today."


On the team playing without S Derwin James Jr.:

"Now it's just about finding the right people to piece together out there and communicate the best together. We'll be fine. We've got to pick it up as a group. Not one player can replace Derwin. It's going to take all of us all four or five out there to pick up the slack."

On the opportunity to play more:

"We're always waiting for an opportunity. When our guy went down — he's our guy — but at the same time, it's an opportunity for other guys on special times to maybe get on the field. You never know you need."

On his first game since last preseason:

"It was cool to make a play, get some guys on the ground."

On the red zone defense:

"We are preparing for the season — that is from the bottom half of the roster to the top. Everybody thinks they have a shot to make this team and everyone wants to perform at a high level. We know what [Head] Coach [Anthony] Lynn expects from us. [Defensive Coordinator] Gus [Bradley] talks about getting tips and overthrows. It's something we talk about every day."


Opening statement:

"I told our players after that game, it felt like there was obviously two different halves. A lot of things that were frustrating, discouraging. Things that we're going to have to clean up when we watch the tape tomorrow. Then, there were some things that were more encouraging in the second half. By no means is it a game you come away from and feel like you're ready for the regular season. We have a lot of work still to do. I thought we played pretty good defense early in the game. I thought offensively, we were awful."

On how much stock QB Taysom Hill gets for leading the Saints to a victory:

"It's always been a game of emotion and momentum, and I thought he did a really good job of that. That's real. So quite a bit of stock."

On if today was an example of how many things Hill can do well:

"Yeah. I was encouraged. I think he had a good camp. He and [QB] Teddy [Bridgewater] both, I feel like, have progressed. I've seen it day to day out in practice. Teddy was sick and I probably should have got him out of the game earlier, but we weren't going to play [QB] Drew [Brees]. Then Taysom came in and did a really good job."

On if he calls plays differently depending on which QB is playing:

"I think it's easier to do when they're in as a starter for a game. It's a little more challenging as you put a plan together. I thought [OC] Pete [Carmichael] did a good job of utilizing some of the things that those guys do differently than Drew [Brees]. You're trying to maybe highlight some things that they do specifically well. Now, some of them were just scrambles and he's pretty good when he's running."

On WR Deonte Harris:

"He should have caught the one that landed on the ground. That bothered me. It's a little bit of you don't know what you're going to get, yet you see some good signs. I'm encouraged, but just some of the details he has to work on. He's certainly confident and you see his quickness."

On if Teddy Bridgewater's sickness played a role on his performance today:

"Well, he didn't get a lot of help. There were a lot of dirty hands in those drives early on, offensively. We got the ball inside the 50 and just didn't pull the job. That's why I felt like it was really two different halves when you watch the game."

On if some of Bridgewater's incompletions were because he was rushed:

"I'd want to see the film before I evaluate each one."

On having two turnovers inside the 10 yard-line:

"Make no mistake about it, I said in the beginning, there's some things that just eat at you a little bit. You can't do [that] as a team and expect to win against good teams. Those are the things that we have to get correct."

On DE Trey Hendrickson:

"He's had a good camp. I like where his weight is at. He plays with great energy and effort. I'm anxious to watch and give the grades, but I thought he was active as well."

On what has been holding DE Hendrickson back the past few years:

"Well, it's his third year. Last year, I thought his weight got a little light. This year, he's playing a little stronger and a little heavier."


Opening statement:

"What an exciting finish to a football game. It's great to see the guys be able to fight for four quarters and come out with the victory. It was a game of momentum — momentum shifts — and our guys did a great job of taking over the momentum the second half and keeping it. We came out with the victory, get to head back to New Orleans and prepare for New York."

On being sick for today's game:

"I came down with something about two days ago, but I owe it to those guys to be out there. We practice together. We give our all when we're out there. I think I just have to do a better job fighting through difficult situations and things like that. Our guys are still out there competing at a high level, and I have to be out there. If I'm out there with those guys I have to continue to elevate my game, and today was just one of those days where things weren't clicking the way I hope they would."

On how he would evaluate his performance today:

"It was a poor game. Missed a couple throws. The energy wasn't there on my behalf. I have to do a better job. Like I said, when I'm dealing with things — just still being able to provide energy. Those guys feed off my energy. When I walk into that huddle guys like to see confidence, a guy who they believe in and today I just didn't give those guys the energy that we deserve."

On his interception that was intended for RB Dwayne Washington:

"It's something that came up back in the spring, and coach mentioned it to me. Sometimes when I get off my progression, I get to the check down, and sometimes I get to it too fast. It was one of those things that happened. I got off the guy. We ran a pattern. They covered it well, and I was going through progression, getting to the back and just have to throw a better ball — a catchable ball. Those guys — they're not wide receivers, but I guess I just have to throw them a better pass and avoid turning the ball over in that situation."

On the fumbled snap:

"That was some miscommunication. That's something we've been taking pride in all training camp. We haven't had that many errors like that around camp, so I'm pretty sure we'll make the corrections tomorrow. Tomorrow's a 'Tell the Truth Monday,' and you have to continue to try to get better and move forward and not let the same things happen again."


On if the second half was fun:

"Absolutely. We talk about it all the time, and sometimes you're in Training Camp and you have long days and you forget, and you oftentimes have to remind yourself a reason to play this game. This isn't work and it's a lot of fun and it's a lot of fun to have the opportunity that people give to you. Having the opportunity to get on the field and play is a great opportunity."

On if today was an example of all the things he can do well as a QB:

"Yeah, I think so. I haven't seen all the numbers. I have to go back and watch it. I felt like we were able to move the ball. Things broke down and we were able to avoid negative plays. We had a sack but we were able to come back from that and convert on third down. I think having the ability to make plays and things like that, it just makes us more difficult to stop and avoid making negative plays."

On his scramble in the third quarter:

"I was trying to get the ball over there and see if we broke free. I felt pressure and I had to avoid, and unfortunately I had to avoid away from the route and the concept that we had going. At that point, I was just trying to avoid a negative play. I felt like I could get the edge rather than throwing the ball away and try to get some yards, and we were able to do that. I tried to get what I could, avoid the hit and get down."

On if his coaches tell him to get down more than he does:

"I've never had a specific conversation of, 'Hey, you need to protect yourself.' I think it's kind of an unwritten rule. I try to do that, I tell them all the time, but I feel like I can break a tackle, so it's hard to bring myself up. I think there are opportunities where you can go down and protect yourself. I felt like today, I can't think of one unnecessary hit I took. I got sacked but that's the only one that comes to mind."

On how much he takes responsibility for keeping the team focused:

"Everything starts with us [quarterbacks]. We touch the ball every play and after a play, you try to create a mindset that, 'Hey, on to the next.' I would say the only thing that's really frustrating for me, and sometimes as a quarterback, you have to check yourself, but you can't let the previous play dictate what's going to happen next play. Look, everyone on the team wants to go out and be really successful and they're going to go out and do the best that they can every play. Stuff happens. The only frustrating thing is that guys let that linger. I didn't think that happened tonight. We had a couple turnovers and we bounced back. I thought that was a really good thing coming out of the game."

On QB Teddy Bridgewater being sick today:

"It's a tough game and it's a tough position to play if you're not able to give it 100 percent. It really is demanding and requires 100 percent of your energy and focus. It makes it difficult."

On if he could tell Bridgewater was sick:

"Yeah, I mean I think he was a little down energy-wise today. He was feeling crumby throughout the week. We knew that. We tried to help him out when we could and allow him to get some rest throughout the week when the opportunity presented itself."

On how he brings as much energy as he can to each game:

"I think we've all been there. We've played the game for long enough that you're not going to feel 100 percent. This game is very important to be 100 percent as you go into a game. I think you just try to focus even more. I think there are a lot of distractions throughout the week and throughout the season. Certainly, being sick and having something nagging at you adds to that. I think you just have to be conscious of staying in the moment and it requires you to stay focused even harder. You just do the best you can."

On how much he focuses on winning the game:

"That is the objective. In halftime, Coach [Sean Payton] obviously wasn't too happy with the way we were playing offensively. We had great opportunities and our defense played really well. We slaughtered a few opportunities there. Coach let us know that he was not happy with the way we were going. Again, as a Quarterback and a guy that is calling plays, controlling the huddle, touching the ball every play, it came down to me. When I had the opportunity to play the second half, I felt like we needed some energy. The thing that I kept reiterating in the huddle was, we're going to have the opportunity to win this football game. I know it's a preseason game, but this is what it's all about. If we came out here to not win, then we're wrong. That was the objective."

On the pass he threw to WR Austin Carr:

"We were at a four-by-one formation which sometimes can be difficult for defenses and most defenses will have some checks. I saw the defender go out underneath it, but then I saw him turn back to me into a running back. The second I saw his body language come back to the halfback, I confirmed that the corner was with our outside receiver and I knew he was going to be open. I just threw him the ball."

On joint practices with the Los Angeles Chargers:

"It certainly helped us prepare. You get a couple days seeing their defenses so you kind of know what you're going to see on game day. You know what their bread and butter is. Certainly, some of the pressures that you can expect. From that standpoint, it makes it easier on the quarterback when you've seen all these looks before, actually against them. That was helpful. I think overall, just practicing with the Chargers, it's kind of hard when you go through training camp, you have two weeks and you're just practicing with each other. It really creates an opportunity to kind of see where you're at, at the beginning, and evaluate yourself and as a team, as a whole. I thought it was a great opportunity for us."


On QB Taysom Hill's performance in the second half:

"We've seen it for two years now — every time he has the ball in his hands, he controls the offense and does his job. He made some good plays, had some great runs, and gave us some life in the second half."

On QB Teddy Bridgewater's sickness and how it impacted his performance:

"I knew he was sick and it's tough to compete and do well at your job on the field when you're sick. Hopefully he gets better soon."

On WR/RS Deonte Harris' performance as a returner today:

"He's doing well. I think he has a good neck for it and he looks natural. He just has to lock in a little bit more and catch every ball. every ball has to be caught, it's just different now. We are playing a game of fielding positions and I think he understands that. He had a couple good returns and it's only his second week back there fielding those punts; So, he's learning."

On how the team will move forward after injuries to offensive linemen:

"We will be fine and we still have some time. It really comes down to the next man stepping up. Hopefully, those guys can get healthy. I'm not sure what the actual injuries are, but my prayers to them so that they can bounce back. However, there are guys in that room ready to play and that's our next man mentality."


On his interception:

"I was basically in the right place at the right time. I didn't do anything special, the ball was tipped. We had pressure on the quarterback and forced a bad throw. So right place, right time — I didn't do anything extraordinary."

On first-team defense being locked in:

"I think, coming off of last week, we were a little bit disappointed with a few big plays that we gave up, some explosive plays. Coming back, we wanted to be able to stop the run game and obviously get off the field on third downs. I think we did that, so that's a step forward. But second and third groups, obviously we still have things to improve on. [We had] some self-inflicted wounds, personal fouls, but I think we came out in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter and definitely turned the momentum back in our favor. And obviously, the interception to seal the game, too."

On DE Trey Hendrickson:

"I think Trey has been overlooked these past few years. Obviously, he's starting to find his niche in this defense. He had a great week of practice. He was very disruptive both days. He is definitely coming out strong for us, and he's a situational pass rusher for us, as well as a guy who can play team. I know he wishes he would've had that sack that he got close on, but all that matters is that he's getting into the quarterback's face."

On Hendrickson's progression:

"I think he's got a great understanding of the defense. He really understands fronts, alignments, and he's become a student of the game. [He has also] worked on his technique, and that goes to [Defensive Line] Coach Ryan [Nielson] and the defensive line working with these guys. He came in a little heavier this year, which is good for him and I think it's definitely paying off."

On Hendrickson not being talkative:

"No, Trey is very reserved as far as he really keeps to himself. Obviously, he can be fiery on the field, which we like as long as we keep him in check. I think he definitely brings a lot of positives to this football team and I think he'll be a force to reckon with once the regular season comes."

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