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Transcript - Practice (Nov. 14, 2018)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018 | Hoag Performance Center | Costa Mesa, Calif.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS HEAD COACH ANTHONY LYNN

Opening Statement:

"Good afternoon. Just studying a Denver Bronco team that's 3-6. It kind of reminds me of where we were last year, 3-6. This team has lost four of the six games to division leaders, and they were close games. So this is a good football team. Outstanding on defense, they have four of the better pass-rushers we've seen all year and one of the better rushing attacks right now in the NFL. So, you know, I think it's a matter of time that this team gets going on a streak, but we're just trying to prevent that from being this week."

On DE Joey Bosa:

"Joey will do some things individually, and we may get him some team reps today."

On his emotions of Bosa practicing:

"Oh, yeah. Very excited. He's been around the whole time. He's been working, but it's going to be nice to see him out there with his teammates in team drills, but we'll see if he progresses that way in practice today. We'll see."

On if Bosa could play this week:

"He hasn't played football in 13 or 14 weeks, whatever it is. So we have to be careful putting him back in. We have to get him back in slowly. If he does well in drills, maybe get some team reps, it is possible he could play some snaps."

On how RB Melvin Gordon III's health is affected by catching more passes this season:

"It can definitely help keep a back fresh, but their touches are just like carries to him. Check downs, swing passes, those are just extended runs. We're doing a good job of finding him and [RB] Austin [Ekeler] in those situations. It paid off last week pretty big."

On how Gordon takes less hits when catching more than compared to running the ball:

"Yeah, you take the run between the tackles, and you're still going to get hits. Last week he didn't get hits because he ran for 50, 60 yards, whatever it was. It takes less off your body, the pounding between the tackles, yes, it does in that way."

On TE Hunter Henry:

"You know, we'll see how Hunter progresses, you know. He's looking good. I think he's right on schedule, so we'll see, you know. I don't want to count on Hunter Henry coming back at the end of the season. It was an ACL surgery, so we'll see how he progresses."

On the possibility of LB Kyzir White returning from injured reserve:

"All those guys are an option. They're rehabbing and trying their butts off to get back as fast as they can, whether it's this year or next year in offseason. They're all trying to get back."

On Broncos OLBs Bradley Chubb and Von Miller:

"Yeah, those two have 17 sacks between the two of them. I think they're the No. 1 tandem in the league right now. They get you behind the sticks. They're forcing three-and-outs a lot. So if they put you in a situation where you have to pass the football to beat them, it could be a long day because their pass rush is excellent."

On being in the thick of a division race:

"I didn't even know the Chiefs were playing the Rams this week, but we are chasing the Chiefs. I mean, they're ahead of us right now. They're leading our division. We need to stay close."

On CB Michael Davis:

"Yeah, it was probably sometime in OTAs. You see a long kid with speed like that and you wonder why didn't he get drafted, you know? You start working on those weaknesses. I think Michael did a heck of a job attacking those weaknesses."

On Davis being more polished:

"Well, his coach is a heck of a coach. Teaching fundamentals and technique. He's way more polished now, but he has a ways to go. Don't get me wrong, Michael's playing some good football right now. That's what we like about it."

On the Denver running game:

"They complement each other well. They're all good runners. Averaging 5.2 per rush attempt right now, I think that's No. 1 or 2 in the league. So they have good runners and offensive line is doing a heck of a job with the zone run scheme."

On playing with the lead:

"That's something that we put an emphasis on. We want to play from ahead. Last year we played from behind a lot. We're trying to start with more urgency this year, playing from ahead. It can benefit your pass rush, I can tell you that. You force teams in obvious situations where you've got to pass the football, our guys get a chance to come off the ball and tee off a little bit."

On how playing with the lead helps cause turnovers:

"Sure. Creating turnovers and things like that, absolutely. Tipped balls, interceptions. The more you throw it, the more bad things can happen over the course of a game. You have to throw it a lot."

On the rushing defense:

"We're still improving in that area. I tell you, it's going to be more challenging now without [LB] Denzel [Perryman]. So everyone's going to have to step up a notch. We talked about that this morning. We have the guys to do it, but I feel like the rush defense has gotten better."

On how the rush defense has improved:

"Just we've played the Browns, they were the No. 1 rushing attack of the game. We held them under a hundred yards. Someone else, San Francisco, when they came in here, they had the No. 2 rushing attack and he was running the ball very well, and we held them under 100 yards. When our defense had to step up and stop the run, I feel like they have."

On Broncos QB Case Keenum:

"Well, right now, he's got 10-plus passes over 40 yards. That's second in the league. So I mean, he's able to manage the offense, create explosive plays down the field. I think he's doing a decent job."

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS QUARTERBACK PHILIP RIVERS

On the Denver defense:

"Sure is a good defense. Gosh, a lot of players we've competed against for many years, many games. A good group. Similar scheme to what they've played for a long time. Much like we say about teams — teams that have been in a scheme they're comfortable with and they keep some of the same guys together, add a few pieces — those are the teams that usually play their scheme the best. So it will be a heck of a challenge. They'll be coming off a bye and division game at home, and it will be a heck of a challenge."

On Broncos OLB Von Miller:

"Obviously T there is a lot of his — physically, how fast he is off the ball and many things that I'd probably short him if I try to be too descriptive. I think to me he's an every-down player. He's a heck of a defensive football player. He's not just a pass-rusher. He plays the run, he plays — he's a smart player. He sees things and plays things. He's been blocked and double team so many different times. So he's an all-around player that can ruin the game. I mean, we've seen him ruin games before, and it's a big challenge for us to make sure we do all we can, to not allow him to do that this week."

On Broncos OLB Bradley Chubb:

"Yeah, he's having a heck of a year too. He's had eight sacks, something like that. Von [Miller] gets a lot of the attention, as he should, but they've always had, you know, somebody on the other side. I don't like to call them that other guy, but they've always had somebody, whether it was [former OLB DeMarcus] Ware who was there with him for a while, and really now with Chubb as a high pick, a heck of a player. You look at [OLB Shane] Ray and [OLB Shaquil] Barrett, who I'm sure many teams would love to have them be their every down guys, too. So those are four really good pass-rushers on the outside. Not to mention some of the guys they have inside doing a nice job as well."

On his mentality when trailing in losses earlier in the season:

"I can recall a lot of things. I don't remember exactly when that was. I think just in general, it wasn't exactly that play. It was more we're down two scores and we've got to will something to happen. We've got to come back and win the game. It was let's not do that, it's going to be a 28-point game if you try to push things that aren't there. So I think it's more so that thought process. Even last week, you know, gosh, we wanted to get that thing — 17- 3, 17-6, we wanted to get it to 31. They just didn't give us opportunities for those chunks. And we just had to stay with it, stay within ourself, and again, lean on the defense who was playing great and has been playing great. So it was just kind of that back and forth. So it's week to week, depending on the situation kind of how aggressive in how you attack. 

On the matchup between Kansas City and the L.A. Rams:

"It's one week at a time. We'll worry about the Broncos. We've still got seven games to go, so it's a long way to go. In our mind, it's about the Broncos. Also in our mind, we control what happens. I mean, we're not — thankfully, in the situation we were last year at this point, and watching and seeing who needed to do what. We've just got to worry about us. We know it's a week-to-week league. It's the division game against a good opponent, and a team that had the Rams right there in a one-score game, 23-20. To me, they had the Chiefs beat at home that game. It got away from them late. You know, they lose them the last — that's a good team. You don't have to convince anybody of that in there. We know what it's like when we play the Broncos. Every time we have to make sure we're prepared."

On being a veteran leader for the team:

"Yeah, I don't know about that. I think we have a nice mix. I think it's a nice dynamic. I do think there is a lot of game experience that I've had that I can hopefully share and help and be a little bit of that steadiness. I know I played with passion, and I get fired up myself. To be a little bit of that steadiness for our group, but we have a lot of guys that played a lot of games. You think about some of the guys up front in [C Mike] Pouncey and [T] Russell [Okung], and shoot, [TE Antonio] Gates, and [TE] Virgil Green's been in a while now, and [WR] Keenan [Allen] on the outside. I can go on and on, defensively as well. So I think we just have a nice mix. There's a level of respect, I think, that we all have for one another, and we all know where we are in our careers and different places. I think there's just that true respect for one another. That's the best I can say. We enjoy working with one another. We know what it takes, and there is a lot of that player-to-player accountability that we keep each other in line week-to-week, game-to-game, play-to-play. 

On the six-game winning streak:

"Yeah, it's good. It's been good. It's been a heck of a run. We haven't run six in a row in a while, but it can be a one-game losing streak just like that. So I think, again, it's week-to-week. Just resetting every week. [Head] Coach [Anthony] Lynn talks about that, just resetting every week and knowing that we have a new challenge this week. The teams that I have been on over the years that have continued that streak and won 11 in a row and done those things, we did it. We just reset every week, and we found a way that week to win, however we had to. If it was 31-30, if it was 7-6, if it was ugly or pretty, who cares. Just find a way. I think this team has developed that maturity. We've won some close games now this year already, those two. Turns out that that Titans win might have been better than everybody thought. You know, Seattle, go on the road up there and win, so we've won some tough games in some tough environments under some tough circumstances as far as being on the road. Again, now we've reset and get ready for the Broncos on Sunday."

On the end of the long road stretch:

"Yeah, it will be really nice not to get on a plane this weekend. It was good. I think it was good for us in a way. We embraced that challenge. We were around each other a bunch obviously on the ten-day trip to Cleveland and London, but it will be good now. I think there is a sense of togetherness that even increased a little bit of an accomplishment in the sense of we were gone with four weeks with a bye in between and can we win them all, and we did. I think it's good for those things to build some confidence. It can add to some energy and all that stuff, but then I think it's also understand each week is a new task."

On how last year's slow start helps the team reset each week:

"Yeah, for me, it's almost more important when it's going well. It's making yourself begin again, and remind yourself to begin again because that's when you tend to relax sometimes. So I don't sense that being an issue with this group, but there is no question. Again, it's that reset button. It's to begin again this week. This practice, this Wednesday. Not falling into that trap that, 'Oh, we're pretty good now,' because we know how quick it can turn. We've got to make sure we stay on it."

On the team buying into resetting each week:

"Yeah, it's been great. It's not something that I felt like we had to have a lot of chatter about. It's just you kind of have gauge it amongst ourselves and see how everybody's working and improving. I think the thing is, just like when you can lose a handful in a row and have some rough years, that tends to be the trend. You can't figure out how to get out of it. I think when you win, you heard winning is contagious. I think it is. And then you're hungry for more of it. I just think we know the road ahead. We know each week in this league how hard it is, and I think we've seen the different ways we've won and how many guys have contributed that we understand how much the preparation part of it, the process part of it is impacting, and how we're getting it done on Sunday. We know we're not just trotting out there and winning games easily. We know how hard it is. And I think guys appreciate that, so then that makes them even more eager and focused on the new week. 

On how he hits the reset button:

"Well, it's something I've heard a long time ago when I was a rookie, and then I got to see it with [Saints QB] Drew [Brees] those first two years. I've been able to live it through 14-2 seasons, 4-8 seasons that we've come back [to make the playoffs] and 5-11 [finishes]. I think it's just a matter of each week, win or lose, play good, play bad, you make those corrections and whatever you normally do on Wednesday, do it again. So I think that's more than anything, just be where you are. Just being in the present moment. We've got a Wednesday walk through, let's be right there, and not worry about the chatter on the outside or what's to come or who is doing what. You just become so caught up in that routine, that you look up and it's week 11. I feel like it was just the other day we were talking about preseason getting started and how excited we were and here we are now more than halfway through the year. So just kind of the boring, keep your head down, and one day at a time."

On what teams that can't hit the reset button look like:

"They look like they don't win very much. So I mean, I think it's a challenge, but I think you've got to be able to do it. I shouldn't say you don't win very much. Some teams may hit it and they're just not winning. I felt like we scratched and clawed like crazy during those tough seasons when we had four or five wins, but we just didn't get it done. I think if you've got the right veterans mixed with the youth that we have and all the different position groups, guys would know if you need to reign it in a little bit. I think Coach Lynn does a great job of it and his staff, but I think his players kind of keep everybody on track together. It's not one group or one guy. We're all in this thing together."

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