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Transcript - Practice (Oct. 2, 2019)

WEEK 5 — PODIUM AVAILABILITY

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 | Hoag Performance Center | Costa Mesa, Calif.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS HEAD COACH ANTHONY LYNN

Opening statement:

“As you guys know, we have a few injuries. I want to get that out of the way right off the bat, here. We did sign a kicker yesterday, Chase [McLaughlin]. [P] Ty [Long], his plant leg was getting a little sore. We didn’t want to risk any further injury with that plant leg, so we brought in Chase for insurance. There’s a good chance that he may be up and kicking this week. [K] Michael Badgley will not practice today. [WR] Mike Williams is feeling a lot better. We may work him in some today. We’ll see how he feels after individual [periods]. [DE] Melvin Ingram [III] will not practice today. [TE] Hunter Henry is getting better. We’ll see where he is at the end of the week. We brought up [TE] Stephen Anderson from our practice squad, a tight end. He has been working with us every single day the last three weeks. He knows our system and what we’re doing. He has done a good job. I expect him to do the same on Sunday. [TE] Virgil Green, he’ll be back. We’re working him in slowly. [WR] Travis Benjamin and [RB] Justin Jackson, both of those guys will be limited at best today in practice. That’s about all with the injuries.

“Now, onto Denver — looking at this team, this team could very easily be 2-2. They’ve lost a couple of close games in the last minute. You look at them on the offensive side of the ball, they have a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. In the backfield, a Pro Bowl runner. They have two studs out at wide receiver. They can strike from anywhere on the football field. They’re very dangerous. We have to figure out a way to limit their explosive plays. Then, on the defensive side of the ball, they have one of the best game-wreckers in the game in [Broncos OLB] Von Miller. We have to figure out a way to contain him. I’ll tell you, that secondary on the back end is very impressive. They had five sacks last week, so the pass rush has picked up in Denver. The first three weeks they had no sacks and limited pressure, and that secondary was playing outstanding. They have good veteran leadership back there with [Broncos CB] Chris Harris [Jr.], [Broncos S Justin] Simmons and [Broncos S Kareem] Jackson — those guys. We have quite the challenge cut out for us this week. This team is 0-4. We’ve been there before. We know how we felt at 0-4. They’re going to be hungry, they’re going to be desperate. We have to be ready for any and everything.”

On if P Ty Long would ideally punt and kick on Sunday:

“No, he will not kick. He will punt on Sunday.

“I won’t say under any circumstances, no. I like the way he has been kicking. We want to pull him off the kicking duties to give his plant foot some time to heal, but you never know.

“No, he will no kickoff, for sure.”

On the kicking position if K Chase McLaughlin performed well:

“That would be a good problem to have, right there.

“Chase is here for insurance. Michael [Badgley] is our kicker, but he’s not ready to go. I’d love to see Chase step up and do what I think he’s going to do. Then, yeah there’s competition. There is competition at every position. It’s just the way this league is.”

On reports that DE Melvin Ingram III could miss games:

“No one told Melvin Ingram that. He’s in my ear every day, telling me how he wants to play this weekend. We’ll take it day-by-day.”

On WR Dontrelle Inman:

“It’s something that came up. We had to put him on IR to get a spot for Chase, our new kicker.”

On the plan if Long had gotten injured in Sunday’s game:

“Well, we have emergency punters. We have kicking-situation things that we can do to make up for that. We would go for it more on fourth down, as well.”

On adding a player to handle kickoffs:

“We can’t have a roster full of specialists. [Long] has to go out there and do his job. If something happens, we do have contingency plans, but I wouldn’t bring in another punter just for that, no.”

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS QUARTERBACK PHILIP RIVERS

On facing the Broncos:

“I think it’s just that division game. Division game and having gone against a handful of those guys for many years — [Broncos CB] Chris Harris [Jr.], [Broncos OLB] Von Miller, [Broncos DE Derek] Wolfe along with some other guys, too. Guys that you’ve played against, shoot, double-digit times. You know what you’re going to get. It’s going to be a division football game. They very easily could be 2-2. Obviously, they lost two games on field goals as time expired, they went to Green Bay and it was a one-score game. We know what we’re getting. We’re getting a tough opponent in a division game. We’ll be prepared.”

On last year’s home game against Denver:

“Certainly, that was probably one of our worst losses last year. I say that because of the situation that we were in. We had it all but wrapped up and we mishandled things, offensively, then they went 70 yards and kicked a field goal and beat us, obviously. We had a lot on the line. I don’t know that we draw on that at all. I think we all remember it, but I don’t know if there’s anything there that gives us any more drive or has any effect on this one.”

On chemistry with new players:

“There’s not a lot of time to draw on it. I think you just go. We were in this boat — me, personally, over the years — we’ve had these kinds of things happen. I think you don’t give yourself time to think about, ‘What if,’ or, ‘I haven’t thrown a lot of balls to this guy or that guy.’ You just go. The biggest thing is, whatever 11 [players] are in that huddle, we believe that we’re going to get it done. Thankfully, we have some guys that have gotten it done in this league. You think about [TE] Lance Kendricks, who’s been here 10 days now. It’s probably longer than that, but it just seems like it was yesterday that he walked in here, and he’s catching the first ball of the game the other day, and caught another big third down. There were probably a couple other opportunities that I could have, and probably should have. You’re thankful that a guy like that has been here with some experience to step in there. [WR] Andre Patton showed up last week and made some plays, and will probably be asked to even more now. I think you just say, ‘Shoot, let’s go. Who do we have? Who’s up? Let’s go find a way.’ That’s just kind of how we’ve always been. It’s been crazy just seeing them pile up, the injuries. Hopefully, we’re getting them all out of the way. You feel bad for the guys that have gone down. Hopefully, we heal up. The guys that can come back, heal up, and then guys that we have can be steady and find a way to get it done along the way.”

On film study of opposing defense:

“It’s not only, I think, the preparation part. It’s also just each game, the experience. The more games that you play each and every week, you can improve, get better and learn something. I don’t think you ever have it by any means. Certainly, the game is a lot slower — I’m just using that term, slower — than it was 15 years ago. There’s no question that you’re still trying to find ways to get better and there are teams that do things that get you. No doubt. You’re never comfortable.”

On RB Melvin Gordon III:

“It is exciting. I know he’s excited. I don’t know what [Head] Coach [Anthony] Lynn said and I don’t know the exact plan as we move forward this week. I imagine he’d certainly be suited up and be out there, unlike last week. You know, [RB] Austin [Ekeler] still has to be a big part of what we’re doing — as he was in previous years, but obviously, the start that he’s off to, it’s been awesome. Both out of the backfield catching it and running it. I think you saw him and [RB Troymaine] Pope both in the game together last week quite a bit, as he was doing with [RB Justin] JJ [Jackson] as well. I’m excited to have Melvin back there, though. This will be a big week, to me, practice-wise. I’ve always talked about the reps for him, getting him in there and going, running, seeing it, making all of those cuts and moves. Like I said last week, he looks good. It will be a good week for him.”

On the Denver defense compared to previous years:

“Yeah, it’s different. It is different. Again, there are only so many coverages that you can play and there are only so many blitzes you can run. There is a lot of crossover in every defense every week. Certainly, there are things that teams lean on more than the others — just like, offensively, there are only so many route combinations that you can run. All of us run the same thing. There are different tweaks, styles, things you like, nuances off of things. It is different, you mentioned that. We went up against, pretty much, the exact same scheme for a long time in Denver. Again, when [Rams Defensive Coordinator] Wade [Phillips] left, it was almost exactly the same. It is different. It is a little different preparing for them this week. It’s the same guys in a lot of spots, but a different scheme. It’s a good defense. They’ll challenge the heck out of us. The secondary is playing really well. I know everybody points to the lack of sacks, even though they did get quite a few last week, but they pressure. They have a good front and we all know what [Broncos OLB] Von Miller can do. He’s as good as there is, every down. What he does in the run game, as well. He’s an awesome player.”

On banter with Broncos defenders:

“No, not necessarily [anything unique]. Again, Von [Miller] doesn’t say a word. Never really has. [Broncos CB] Chris Harris [Jr.], I have great respect for. We’ve played against each other, again, a lot of times. He has made his fair share of plays and we’ve made some as well. No, there’s nothing unique. It’s a division game. I think, again, it’s a team you play twice a year. Some of these guys you’ve played over 12 or 14 times. It’s the same way with Oakland and Kansas City. It’s always a heck of a game. Between the lines, all you have is three hours and change, and then it’s nothing but respect afterwards.”

On Gordon returning to the offense:

“Well, it’s not new. That’s the good thing. It’s the same offensive scheme he has been in his whole career. That’s the good part. It’s probably a better question for him. Again, I think one thing that he has done — at least I can tell early on — is that he didn’t mentally check out and now [saying], ‘Oh, I’ll turn it on.’ He has been trying to stay in it as much as he can without being here.”

On Broncos OLB Von Miller:

“I mean, his ability, again, both to stop the run and the pass. His quickness with power is awesome. That’s why he is one of the best [defensive] end/outside linebackers ever.”

On RB Austin Ekeler’s touchdown catch on Sunday: 

“The pocket opened, so I was just like, ‘I better climb up in here, just in case nothing shows and then I’ll go get six and slide,’ and as I was kind of going through the progression, he flashed and did a nice job getting into the end zone.”

On Ekeler as a receiver:

“Obviously he can catch the football. All of our backs have great hands. He does such a great job in the open field, as you saw in the game. Very rarely, even when you hand it to him, does the first guy to make the tackle — but especially when you get him out in the open field, anytime you throw a check-down to him, it’s very rare that the first guy gets him. Those are the guys you want to get the ball to.”

On WR Keenan Allen:

“Well, to me, I think he has picked up where he left off. In the last two years, he’s had awesome seasons and I think he’s just picked up where he’s left off. Obviously, the numbers are up there, higher maybe than that he’s ever had in the first four weeks, but I think again, the way he works at it, the way he practices, all camp, all offseason and then just his ability to separate, get open and make plays.”

On extending plays with his feet on both touchdown passes on Sunday:

“Yeah, those were the plays that I made in the backyard in Decatur, Ala., when I was about 10-years-old. Those were the ones that you always dreamed of making, but yet you know those aren’t as realistic when you get to the level when they are all bigger, faster, stronger and you feel very uncomfortable out there in the open. I was surprised. I was really getting ready to throw it away and I was surprised [RB Troymaine Pope] came off of [his block] at the last minute. You talk about not having a lot of reps and time spent with a guy like Pope, and I’m wondering, ‘Is he going to continue to try and block him here, or is he going to say, ‘Let me go and be available.’’ I was happy we were on the same page and he made himself available right there, and then got in the end zone.” 

On completing a high percentage of his passes:

“I think you just want to be efficient. I don’t know if it’s more satisfying. I think it was great to see that many guys catch the football and spread it around. I thought it was big for us to do that and in a game where it was getting spread around to guys that hadn’t had a lot of catches. You are letting [WR] Geremy [Davis] have his two catches, Andre [Patton] and Lance [Kendricks]. Unfortunate for [TE] Sean [Culkin] going down but having that catch right down there on the goal line. I mentioned [Tryomaine] Pope and [Austin] Ekeler and obviously Keenan [Allen] and [WR] Dontrelle [Inman], the games they had. I don’t know if it’s more satisfying. You want to be efficient and I think the biggest thing about Sunday was, there was just no crazy misses. We overcame some penalties, but it was just efficient. Again, make them tackle Ekeler, make them tackle these guys and then when they’re are open and separate [from coverage], be accurate and keep getting first downs. Our best drive probably didn’t end in a touchdown. There were about 16 plays that went 10-and-a-half minutes, which was probably our best drive after we were backed up. That does a lot for a defense after a stop, a punt and then we held it for 10-and-a-half minutes. That kept our [defense] rolling and fresh, and it can take its toll on the defense you’re going against when we’re out there a long time.”

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