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Transcript - Practice (Nov. 22, 2018)

Thursday, November 22, 2018 | Hoag Performance Center | Costa Mesa, Calif.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR KEN WHISENHUNT

On TE Antonio Gates:

"I don't quite know how to answer that. He's worked well in the games earlier in the year. He's made a couple plays, things just haven't gone to him. It sure was nice to see the way he responded in that game. He played really well."

On defending Gates:

"He's been bracketed this year as well. A couple times. Different teams do it. Especially in the red zone, people do it. We've had that discussion ourselves about, 'Are they going to do that?' I can't say it's as much as they used to do it, but they have done it this year."

On Gates' role in the offense:

"He handles it with class. One of the things about Antonio I think we all appreciate the most is what a leader he is. He really does a great job with these young guys in talking to them, mentoring them and I think that's part of it. The biggest thing is we have a lot of good guys and he's seen a lot of these guys like [WR] Keenan [Allen] and [RB] Melvin [Gordon III] grow up and now he's seeing these guys play well. So, I'm sure he's invested in that as well, which is really neat. He's been great. I understand it. He's very competitive. He's one of the best tight ends to ever play this game and when you're not doing it every snap, it's tough. I think he is realistic enough to understand too that he probably couldn't take every snap right now. It's been great having him and I think we were all really excited to see some of the things he did last week."

On playing close attention to RB Melvin Gordon III's touches:

"No, not really. The thing about Melvin is, last year and even back in 2016, he got a lot of carries and he got stronger and stronger as they went. Obviously, you don't want to give him too many. I think some of it's good because [RB] Austin [Ekeler] has been able to come there in and help with that and that's made a little bit of a difference. As long as he's healthy, which he's been, and running he seems to get stronger as the game goes on. He's doing a great job."

On if it helps that Gordon is getting the ball in space:

"He gets hit in space. I would say that's probably part of it. There are times in space where he doesn't get the hits where he does in line where he's getting multiple hits like he is when he's carrying the football. Does that help? I don't know, maybe. He had a lot of carries last year and he was very durable. It's a credit to him and the way he works in the offseason and preparing for it. He's just a tremendous competitor."

On the late third-and-seven play on Sunday:

"We had a check on that particular play to go to it. Whenever you're in that situation, you have to go based off of what you think you're potentially going to see. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don't get it right. Obviously, they didn't do what we anticipated they were doing and it wasn't good. I think the natural inclination in that is just to make sure that you get it in the ground, but in that particular situation that's a different thing. It just happened. He does a great job of managing those and whenever something like that happens you have a tendency to focus on that and you don't think about some of the plays that were tremendous that were made. Those were overlooked because they're not talked about. When you talk about a balance between those things, he's a tremendous player and one of the best in the league and makes it easy. Sometimes things are not going to go exactly the way you want so keep going. It's not a big deal. You understand it and we keep going. I think we've had a really balance of how in those plays and how we've been able to get in to things and get out of things. Just because we had one that didn't quite work out the way we wanted to we move on."

On T Joe Barksdale and T Sam Tevi splitting time at RT:

"Some of it has been a little bit of injury that's been affecting that with Joe [Barksdale] and with Sam [Tevi]. It is going to be what it is I think. They're both good players. Sam has come on as young player and Joe was playing well before he got hurt. I think there's going to be a mix. I can't say that it's always going to be an even split like it was last week, but both of those guys have played well for us."

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR GUS BRADLEY

On replacing DT Corey Liuget:

"I think with [NT] Damion [Square], he'll be playing a lot more inside now with [DE] Joey [Bosa] back. We'll look at rotations with those guys. Just like always how fast we rotate those guys. He has the flexibility to play in a lot of different positions. [DT Darius] Philon, Square all those guys will get a chance."

On NT Damion Square:

"He's such a good technician. I think that's what allows him to successful and play multiple positions. If we do choose to put him inside more, he'll have to use his technique."

On DT Justin Jones' opportunities:

"It is a good opportunity. He's a guy that's played three technique and nose. We like him at three. He's been able to spell, [[NT] Brandon [Mebane] at nose. I think you'll be seeing him play both those spots. In training camp and preseason, when he was on the edge, he got some rush room so hopefully when he gets that opportunity, he provides that again."

On LB Jatavis Brown:

"The last two weeks he played really well. Last week, there were a couple plays in there but that's with everybody on the defensive side. You can pick out plays here and there. Overall, his play, he's really jumped out at us. Not only with run fits and understanding the defense, but also understanding the pass concepts." 

On Brown evolving from the first year to second year in the system:

"I think for him it's a comfort level. I think he understands it. He's the type of player that wants to know what everybody's doing on the field and when he knows what everybody's doing, it seems like it elevates his play. Some guys, they just know their position and you see that come a little bit faster — but for him it's because of great benefit. He's made a couple plays for us in third down situations just because he knew what everybody else was doing. I think that awareness is the difference between this year and last year."

On DE Joey Bosa:

"I think each day that he practices, you see his comfort level where he's coming back. His ability to rush in practice. I think he's getting that comfort level back as well."

On time frame for Bosa to get back to full speed:

"Everybody's different. Each position is different. For Joey, that position he's played so long and has a really good understanding of that position — so I think for him the battle is just getting 100 percent confident that he can go and make the moves and the turns and redirects and things like that, that he feels complete confidence. I think that's what we're starting to see out on the practice field."

On the Cardinals offense with RB David Johnson:

"I think there are some subtle differences and the commitment to him and the run game. You see it in the stats on third down they jumped up 12-13 percent in the last three games. The run game, the last couple games, now the rushing yards and their rushing averages have jumped up. That commitment to the run game. They're going to try to get him the ball as much as possible whether it's in the pass game, run game or screens because he is such a dynamic player." 

On stopping Johnson:

"I think just as the game goes on, he can really wear on you. He's an elite back. He can run in between the tackles and also get him out on the perimeter and in space on the screens he catches or check downs. It creates an issue. I think we have to have great awareness. Some people talk about tight ends and with them you have to have great awareness, well this week it's the back. You have to have great awareness of where he is."

On the linebacker rotation:

"I think the more and more they play, especially with [LB] Kyle [Emanuel] because he was an outside linebacker and now to play behind the ball, we saw him grow as the game went on. The more and more playing time he gets at that position, I think his play will be elevated. We're trying to everybody, seven linebackers or so, and a lot of them are getting reps just to keep guys in tune with it and keep him fresh. They'll be a rotation there with our base and nickel package and you might see even more rotation taking place."

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