Wednesday, December 19, 2018 | Hoag Performance Center | Costa Mesa, Calif.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR KEN WHISENHUNT
On how QB Philip Rivers' play differs from previous seasons:
"No, not really. I mean, I think that obviously being in contention for something this year is different for our whole team than it has been, maybe. Last year we were in it too, we were right up until the end. I mean, in 2013 when we were in a similar situation, although we hadn't clinched, he's been consistent as far as what you're asking if he for the whole time. Nothing ever changes about his work ethic, his preparation, no matter what. Even in 2016 when we were not having a great season, nothing has changed from that standpoint."
On Rivers' confidence:
"He loves to play the game. I think if you talk about a true pro, somebody that is diligent in his preparation and cares about his teammates, I think that's what he does. It's not independent of anything else. Now, obviously, after last Thursday night we were all really excited because that's what you do it for, to put yourself in a position like that. To have success is tremendous, but I don't see any difference. He's very consistent. Constantly trying to get better and working hard at it."
On Rivers throwing less interceptions than in years past:
"Well, you know, I think maybe a lot of it, maybe a lot of it is situational. Some of those, we've had some injuries here in the past where we've been depleted with some guys, and he's fought like he had to potentially try to carry the team. When that happens, you always try to do a little more. Maybe that has led to that, but I think we, as a team, have been much better focused on taking care of the football, and that's helped us. I certainly think Philip has always been that way to me. I think when you're a quarterback, it's so hard in this league to never throw it in tight windows, especially when you've got guys all around you coming after you, pressures, sometimes you have to try to fit it in in certain places — but I couldn't say there is anything different. I could just say he's had a tremendous year, and it's been really fun to watch."
On the offensive line:
"I think we had this talk back in the start of training camp and about how important the chemistry is with that group. I think [T] Russell [Okung] missed a game in there at one point, didn't he? Other than that, those guys have been together. I think a lot of times, we've played in some pretty tough environments and big games in Kansas City, certainly in Pittsburgh. When you get into those type of things, the communication between those guys is so important. Not maybe so much the verbal communication is as the non-verbal communication. Understanding where that guy's going to be, how you can work together on stunts, how you can work your techniques. It develops the chemistry that's so important with those guys. You know, give them a lot of credit, that group has worked very hard to be good at what they do. They have taken it upon themselves, and it's good to see them have a little bit of success this year. Especially, I think a lot of times lines are judged by two things, protection, obviously, and then how you run the football. In a sense we've done a little better with that this year. It's good that they get some recognition with that."
On how the offensive line chemistry compares to that he had as the head coach in Arizona:
"I do [see similarities], and I think when you get into the situation that we're in, where you're playing big games and you've got a group that's playing together — especially guys that are veterans, like [C Mike] Pouncey and Russell [Okung] — it helps you going forward because it's not too big for them. I think that's kind of filtered in through the whole group. It's a good room, that group of guys and that worked hard. Let me tell you something, it's funny, because we go over to Jack Hammett Sports Complex where we have training camp, and it's kind of like deja vu, because it was almost four months ago that we were over there practicing. You think about where we are now and where we were then, and how much has happened in between there, and how those guys have been consistent since it started there to where they are. Now where we are now about how they work, how they prepare, and just their attitude. It's been really a big part of the reason I think offensively we've done some decent things this year."
On the team having seven Pro Bowlers:
"I'm excited for them. That's awesome for those guys. This recognition for all the hard work they've done. I think it speaks volumes to the way those guys have worked, and you couldn't be happier for them."
On the importance of getting a lead against Baltimore:
"I would say it's important to jump out to the lead against anybody in this league, but this is a good defense. You know, you can't go in with that type of mentality saying we've got to do something. I think you have to go in and say we've got to play our game. How do we do that? We've had times where we've started fast and played well. We've had times where we maybe haven't and have been able to make some plays later in the game. So they're a good squad. They're disciplined. They've got good football players. They play a difficult scheme, but we know it's a challenge. So we're looking forward to Saturday night to see how that goes."
On the Baltimore defense:
"Well, like I said, they've got a lot of talented players, and they play a scheme where they're versatile. They do a lot of different things. They're an aggressive group, and they've played great, solid defense. There's not a lot of holes in what you see when you watch tape. So it's certainly a challenge. I guess that's why they're the number one defense in the league."
On if Ravens S Eric Weddle can provide insight into the offensive scheme:
"I think you always think about those kinds of things, you know, but it's also been a couple of years. We've changed things a little bit. I was here with Eric in 2013. He was a tremendous player for us, but the whole thing where he left, I wasn't here. We've come back, and we've changed a few things since then about how we do it, especially with [Head] Coach [Anthony] Lynn coming in, there's always naturally going to be some changes. I'm sure there will be some things that he can recognize and some that he won't. He's like Philip [Rivers]. He's a dedicated football player that really studies the game and does a great job. So it's always a challenge when you go against guys like that."
On frustration of playing against offenses that stay on the field:
"That's part of it, you know. We've had games this year where we've been out there for a long time, and it certainly is fun when you do that — but [Baltimore has] done a good job of that. That would probably be better questions for me. For us, we can control what we can control. So when we get our opportunity to get on the field, we hopefully can take advantage of that."
On the Baltimore mid-season change in offensive strategy:
"I think sometimes you adjust your scheme to your players, which maybe that's what they've done. I'm certainly not an expert on that, but whenever you have a change like that at quarterback, sometimes you have to do some things differently. It seems like they must have been pretty effective. I haven't really looked at them from an offensive perspective."
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR GUS BRADLEY
"Okay, starting off we had an extra day on Monday, as far as practice, and we appreciate that day with this offense [we're facing this week]. They're a challenging offense. Some very good things scheme-wise, utilizing their personnel. Obviously, they're committed to the run game, but their passing game is effective as well. So they're playing at a high level right now."
On DE Melvin Ingram III:
"I think he's played very well. I know as a coaching staff we've asked our players to do some different things, different techniques maybe than they have in the past. I mean, he's bought into it, done it, so he's invaluable for us. All the things that we've asked him to do, he's flipped sides on our defense, especially with the injury to [DE] Joey [Bosa], you know. So ultimate team player. Then playing at a high level. I know you said his sack numbers aren't there, but as a coaching staff, what he's done for us to allow us to play like we have has been good."
On Ingram's impact when DE Joey Bosa was out:
"He gave us some flexibility, you know, as far as moving him around. Especially when Joey was out, we kind of schemed it where we wanted him, how we wanted him to be, and what we asked of him. At times, he played like a defensive tackle or a big hit in some of our defenses. So that's not ideal for him. You might scratch your head looking at some of the positions he played, but it was something that we had to do he is particularly early in the season. So once we got him on the edge, Joey's back. Then you saw his pressures last week."
On the scout team quarterbacks giving looks as Ravens QB Lamar Jackson:
"You know, it's hard because the things that he does. You know, we have [QB] Geno [Smith] and [QB] Cardale [Jones]. They do a good job, but the speed of the game. You'd like to have it so fast during practice that it appears to slow down on game day, but I don't know if we can get that done. I think we'll have to adjust as the game goes on."
On if the team considered using a wide receiver as Jackson on the scout team:
"We looked at that. We talked about it as a defensive staff, but Geno [Smith] is fast. He's given us a good look with him. The thing about their offense is, it is the dive, the inside zone, their running backs. I think you can get all caught up in the quarterback and what he can do — and he can make some big plays — but if you don't stop the dives first you're in trouble. It's kind of like facing Navy, you better stop the dive first and then go on from there. As far as the comparison, I just think their offense, they give you so many different looks, so many different ways how they attack defenses through formation and motions and scheme. You know, it's very challenging."
On Baltimore's offense:
"At times, you know, there's three options for him. I mean, he can give it, he can keep it. There are times when he's pitched it on the perimeter. It forces you to be very assignment sound — very assignment sound. Then the ability to bring pressures and how that dictates it, and to give them some different looks. So I think that's the part that's challenging. Then he can just drop back and their boot game and roll passes and things like that that they do. So it's, like I said, as far as the whole package, it appears to us, very complicated, very challenging."
On if there are similarities to the Baltimore offense and San Francisco's when playing QB Colin Kaepernick:
"I think there is some similarities, but the NFL has evolved. Now back then, there wasn't as many jet-motions and things like that. Now you're seeing these run plays incorporated with jet-motion, so I think they've taken it to another level."
On S Adrian Phillips making the Pro Bowl:
"You know, his story is unbelievable. We always talked in terms of when you give, you know, the basic premise you receive twofold. You know, that's what he did. When [S] Derwin James came in, he was one of those guys that went into the film room when we met with him and spent hours with him going through some things. Here's a guy at times they were playing the same position. So for AP [Phillips] to give that much time to help a younger player his first year in the league, and then to see this happen, I mean, what a great story for us to say, 'See? That's how it works. When you give with no intent to receive, it comes back two-fold.' That's why I think the story is so cool for AP. He's an unbelievable teammate. Unbelievable as far as the guy that you'd love to coach, and he's been very effective and a very good player for us."
On CB Desmond King II not being named to the Pro Bowl:
"He is unique because that's what he plays for us, the nickel. I know the big thing for Des, is he a great member of our unit, and people appreciate him in our building. I think yeah, outside he would appreciate that part, but for in-house, we know how valuable he is to us.
On Ravens RB Gus Edwards:
"Both of their backs are bigger backs and physical. So the yards after contact, as far as making people miss, they're always leaning forward. A two-yard gain turns into a five-yard gain. So in the scheme, you can see why they're piling up yards. This team is averaging 235 yards over the last five games. That's what I say. With those guys running the ball, the running backs, boy, we have to have a keen eye where they are and how much they're getting the ball because that can really demoralize a defense with just that inside zone play can affect you."