Chargers Official Site | Los Angeles Chargers -

Transcript - Practice (Dec. 18, 2018)

Tuesday, December 18, 2018 | Hoag Performance Center | Costa Mesa, Calif.


Opening Statement:

"All right, [NT] Brandon Mebane's back in practice today. [RB] Melvin Gordon [III] practiced full speed today. [WR] Keenan Allen and [RB] Austin Ekeler did not practice, but they're both getting better. Maybe sometime this week we'll get those guys in but they're getting better. [TE] Sean Culkin did not practice today. Other than that, it was a pretty good practice. The scout teams did an outstanding job showing us the looks we're going to get on Saturday. Any questions?"

On who is simulating Ravens QB Lamar Jackson in practice:

"Well, [QB] Geno Smith, who ran the wildcat offense in college at West Virginia. [QB] Cardale [Jones] — I almost said Kordell Stewart — that was a long time ago. Not Kordell."

On simulating the speed of the Baltimore offense:

"That was what was so good about practice today was the speed was excellent. I think having an extra day of giving these guys a chance to look at the tape and go out and execute for offense and defense. They really had to because that was outstanding today. It was the speed of the scout teams."

On how the offense compares to Lamar Jackson's college system:

"What they're doing now is a lot different than what he did in college. I know he ran around in college, but a lot of that was off the drop-back. Right now, they're lining up and almost a bone offense and running the read-option. So you never know where the ball is going to go. They're balanced on both sides. They can go right, go left. You can't just put a guy in the middle and say spot the quarterback. So our guys got to play disciplined football."

On if the read-option offense is similar to what Ravens QB Robert Griffin III ran as a rookie:

"It's the same stuff. I wouldn't say it's more advanced. They're just doing more of it. I haven't seen a quarterback run like this since Tim Tebow in Denver in 2011 when he took them to the playoffs, and I think they're running it even more."

On the morale of the locker room:

"It's good. It's been good though, win or lose. We talk the same. Our morale is always good. These guys bounce back for us in the next week and try to get the job done."

On having NT Brandon Mebane back:

"It's going to be critical for all of our interior guys on the backside, the guys playing on the backside just to build the wall and try to close those holes so we can protect the perimeter. They're doing a good job right now of attacking the perimeter, which is making the inside so much softer. So now that we've got Mebane in there with that type of experience, it really helps."

On Ravens RB Gus Edwards:

"He's a power runner, man. He's creating yards after contact. Very decisive hitting the hole. He's a very good football player."

On TE Hunter Henry:

"Hunter did some individual today and I thought he looked good. He's not there yet, but he's getting better and better."

On the team coming back from deficits:

"We just have to focus on the execution early and often, so we can get the lead and play from the lead. I like it when we play from the lead. If we do get behind, we always feel like we can come back, and I think that's a good thing, but you don't want to do that too often because at some point it's going to bite you in the butt. We've got to play from the lead, and we've got to execute early and often."

On preparing for Ravens QB Lamar Jackson:

"Yeah, it's difficult. It's a lot of stuff to prepare for, but having the extra day, I believe it helped. Our guys are locked in. They're focused. I thought we had a good practice today, and we'll see what happens."

On WR Mike Williams:

"He's very confident right now and he's healthy. He knows. He believes in his skill set and what he can do. We believe in Mike. Mike's been doing this all season. We watch him every day in practice, so none of this is a surprise to us, but he is playing with a lot of confidence right now."

On if Mike Williams' big game in Kansas City can spur similar performances:

"I hope so."

On where Mike Williams has improved the most this season:

"Route running. In college with his size and speed, he could just outmuscle people, outjump people — but in this league, you have to be very precise with your depth and how you run your routes. Mike's improved in that area."

On Mike Williams' 19-yard touchdown run:

"We've given the ball to Mike earlier in the season, also with rounds and reverses and things like that. So he's not just got good ball skills, but running skills. It's a nice move he made last week."

On the Ravens defense:

"Baltimore's defense, they're physical. They're No. 1 in the league at getting you behind the sticks early in downs. Their offense sometimes is their defense as well. They're fresh. They play 45, 50 snaps a game. So we have to do a better job on the offensive side of the ball staying on the field, and special teams winning the hidden yards and we've got to slow them down on defense. So it's a team effort by them, but their defense is really good."

On if he can shed light on the upcoming playoffs:

"Not even a little light. Not even a little, no. I never would disrespect the game with two games left. That's our focus right now is Baltimore, and then it will be the next one."

On the offense waiting deep into the play clock before snapping the ball:

"Some of that is — and when I first got here I wanted to go a little faster because I'm a tempo guy — but our quarterback can dissect that defense and get us in the right play at the last second and if it's a nice play, I'm open to that. [QB Philip] Phil [Rivers] does a nice job of that."

On if he is feeling more love from Los Angeles with recent success:

"I've always felt love from the city, so I know they appreciate a winner, but the love has been pretty consistent."


On Ravens S Eric Weddle

"Yeah, he was a great teammate, great player and great friend. He and I still keep in touch throughout the year, in the offseason, our boys played ball together, so there was obviously a lot of great years together. We've had quite a bit of competition on the practice field, just when score wasn't involved. So it will be a heck of a challenge, both he leading that defense, and just that defense in general, it's a heck of a defense. So we definitely have our work cut out for us on Saturday."

On familiarity with Weddle:

"Yeah, I think both of us know each other very well — we've had a lot of conversations about football. You know, about things we liked, things we didn't like — things we see, things we didn't see. Yeah, some of the things he does, and he's still doing some of the things that I've seen forever, but at the end of the day, the ball gets snapped, and you have to play. He's going to do his job and do all he can to help get his guys in the best position possible. Like you said, it's a heck of a defense over there. It's not just him. It's a heck of a defense. Then, he's got to know things I like and different things we do, and we're just going to go out there and execute them. At some point you've got to go play, and you prepare all week, and then we'll go."

On following up a big win:

"Playing on Thursday, we've had quite a few days. I think it was a good, long weekend — an enjoyable weekend to be able to relax and watch games this weekend after a big win like we had — but you look at this opponent, and you look at all that's still out there, we know the challenge that we have in the Ravens and then all that's at stake. So it's not hard. Especially this time of the year, to move on to the next opponent."

On WR Mike Williams' season:

"I think there was a little bit of that. Certainly, he wanted to bounce back and have a great year, but again, we saw spurts of it on the practice field. He was injured last year, so I think that was the biggest thing last year was he was injured. When he got healthy, it was mid-to-late season, and it's just hard to get back into groove. So I thought it was big for him, as I said, to have a full offseason and full training camp — and he didn't miss a day. He didn't miss one day. I think that was big for him. He made those kinds of contested, high catches or on the boundary, or spectacular kind of plays. He made about one a day it seemed like, all offseason, all training camp. Obviously, he's had a heck of a year for us. He hasn't had the 60, 70 catches this season, but he's had a ton of big ones. Obviously, anytime you get in the end zone, all those are big. It's been great to kind of see him come on. I still think the best is yet to come for him as far as a career. He's going to have a heck of a career."

On Mike Williams' improved route running:

"Yeah, I think, just again it's the college and pro game. Everything's different. He came from a great program at Clemson, which what [Clemson Head Coach] Dabo [Swinney] and them have done there is awesome. He came in catching a lot of balls, and all of that, and knowing football. It wasn't like he didn't understand football and know things. It's just a progression of how just little, little details that we all grew as players from the college game to the pro game. Again, he's going to continue to improve in that regard, recognizing how they're playing him in certain coverages, how to run certain routes and continue to progress — but when you have that kind of size, that kind of speed, and that type of range and ball skills, you can work on the other stuff, no question."

On waving to the Kansas City crowd amid boos:

"Yeah, it felt pretty good, finally, after a long stretch of being booed, and having to tuck my head and trot off, but we just have to move past that one in a hurry — because as exciting as that was, we've got to move on to this week, and we have. I think games like that, times like that, those are emotional. It's emotional wins and you enjoy those as best you can."

On the Baltimore defense:

"They were good last year too. This defense, they built a culture there defensively over the last two — longer than a decade, way longer than that of just playing a certain physical style and aggressive, get after it, we're going to blitz from all over the place. Then we're just going to lineup and play sound defense. They really keep you off-balance, and they just fly to the football. You know, [Ravens OLB Terrell] Suggs has been there forever, and he was a part of the old Ravens way back, way back when. He's been there ahead of 14, 15, short of years. Had a heck of a career, doing it at a high level. A lot of those guys, the secondary, are high draft picks that can cover you, [and there's the] linebacker that can really run. You've got big boys on the interior that can stop the run and penetrate. So it's a top defense in the league for a reason. You know, I just say we have our work cut out for us."

On how Weddle fits into the defense:

"As he was here, he's the quarterback of the defense. He's the one calling the plays. He's the one with the green dot, at least it seems that way. They all look to him to do a lot of the communicating, and all of them are. 57 [ILB C.J. Mosely] is there, and so, he's obviously been there playing for that defense. Even though schemes get tweaked, being there that long he knows what's going on for sure. All those guys do. It seems like the group that's on the same page but you see Eric directing a lot of that, as you'd expect, that's what he's done here. That's what he's great at, and he's a heck of a player after the snap. It's some of the pre-snap things that he does that really separates him from a lot of other safeties."

On being the No. 5 seed in the AFC despite 11 wins:

"I think that's an easy answer. I mean, yeah, shoot. It's what it is. We're a heck of a division. The Chiefs have had a heck of a season. I do think though with two games to go, the fact that you're in is exciting, but obviously there is a lot at stake. We can find a way to win a heck of a game, a heck of a challenge against the Ravens and find a way to win the next Sunday, and still be the fifth seed. So I think we can control what we can control, and that is this opponent in front of us who has a ton to play for. They're still in the thick of winning their division. They can end up being a four — this team that they're playing — they're also getting in as the six. So playoff football has begun. We can't wait around until January. Heck of an opponent to have this Saturday."

On if he and Weddle will be able to tell each other's signals:

"I'll find out. We'll find out early on. We'll find out early on how much of that will go on. I mean, that would go on about every day, multiple times a day on the practice field, you know? Of course, you could hear a little bit then, it's just us on the practice field. I think, again, I don't want to make too much of it. I don't imagine he's going to overanalyze everything he hears. He knows that I know that he knows, you know what I mean? And vice versa. Different things. I mean, he and I used to always talk about things. I saw you do this or I saw you tell him something. So he knows. You almost know too much, and you almost paralyze yourself, I thought he was doing this, and it looks like he's doing that. You forget about the rest of the play. So I think it's going to be about execution as it is. It's not me versus him. It's our offense against an awesome defense. He happens to be one of the key components and a guy that is as smart as any safety, you know, you play against. So I think there is a challenge there, and I don't think we should overstate the fact."

On if audible terms are different now that in years past:

"Yeah, and some of the words they're saying, we could make them something different. So I don't think — nobody's panicking in here about what he may know, and I don't think he's panicking about what I may know about stuff from him. I think it adds a little spice to it, but at the end of the day, we've got to find a way to get first downs and score points. It's a heck of an opponent to try to do that to."

From Our Partners: