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Transcript - Training Camp (Aug. 13, 2018)

Monday, August 13, 2018 | Jack Hammett Sports Complex | Costa Mesa, Calif.


Opening Statement:

"I'll tell you what after watching the film — you look at the stats after a game — and I know that game-wise we dominated in most of the categories and the stats except for turnovers and penalties. If you eliminate those two, there was a lot of positives. Unfortunately, the lesson we have to learn from something like this — and I'm glad that we can learn it now and not during the season — is that you can dominate and lose because of penalties, turnovers and just making dumb plays. There were some positives. That second team defense, I thought on every level — the line, the linebackers, the secondary — I thought they dominated. I thought they played well. It's good to see those rookies run around and make some plays."

On if the second-team defense is a testament to the depth they've built:

"I think so. When I look at that, I say, 'I didn't see that last year.' I like the depth, and some of those guys may not be depth. If they keep playing the way they're playing, they may find themselves in that starting lineup because I wasn't particularly pleased with the starting lineup to be honest with you."

On if he talked to the starting lineup about not being pleased:

"Yes. We had that conversation."

On how the tight ends performed:

"I thought Sean Culkin did some nice things. I thought Virgil [Green performed well] in the running game. He can be physical in that way. Overall, we dropped to many balls at the tight end position. We have to make some of those catches."

On G Forrest Lamp:

"The plan hasn't changed. He's just working him back into individual [drills]. We hope to get him back in the third week, but like I said, I don't like to put timetables on a player's injuries. When he's ready to go, we'll get him back in the lineup."

On Lamp practicing:

"Oh, it's huge. It's been a long time for Forrest. He's champing at the bit, man. We're trying to hold him back right now."

On the number of penalties:

"You can say a lot of it is [because it's the] preseason and you can look at where the penalties came from. It was a lot of new guys, but that's no excuse. When you put the Charger uniform on, there's an expectation. We expect everyone to play to it."

On if Lamp will get rotated in if he doesn't get the starting job:

"When he's ready to go, we're definitely going to get him in the rotation. If he's not the starter, Forrest played tackle in college and played guard for us last year [before his injury]. He's a versatile guy. We're definitely going to use him."

On expectations for RB Austin Ekeler:

"To just keep doing what he's doing, to take it to the next level. So far, he's had an outstanding training camp, and I thought he showed well in the preseason game the other day."

On how he plans to use Ekeler this year:

"He's a versatile back. He has excellent hands. We can use him out of the backfield. We can create matchups with Austin on safeties and linebackers, and we can use him that way to take some of the pressure off of [RB] Melvin [Gordon III]."

On encouraging him to go back to school this summer to get his degree:

"He was two weeks away. There's no way I was going to let him show up without getting that degree."

On also going back to get his degree:

"Yeah, [I did]. It just took me 29 years."

On how the kickers performed against the Arizona Cardinals:

"Not good enough. We had two kicks, and we went 50 percent. You get paid to make kicks. Make them."

On if he wants K Roberto Aguayo to get in-game situations:

"Absolutely. It's a preseason game. We're trying to evaluate everybody. We're trying to put together the best 53 [final roster], but if there are situations where I can kick the football, so I can evaluate these kickers, I'm probably going to do it because we need to know."

On if DE Joey Bosa will be back soon:

"He's doing great. He's on track. His foot is feeling a lot better. We're just being careful with him."

On Bosa's injury:

"It's just sore. That covers it all."

On LB James Onawualu's injury:

"He's having some groin issues. He dealt with that a little bit last year. We're getting him checked out."


On S Derwin James:

"I think he's been doing a lot better since he's been out there. The first week is all about trying to learn technique and just trying to learn the defense. I feel like he's getting a grasp of the defense now and he's playing a lot faster. I think today definitely showed that and in the game [against Arizona on Saturday] as well."

On the preseason game against Arizona:

"I think we did pretty well, especially on the defensive side of the ball. I pay attention more to that side of the ball, but going into the fourth quarter I think [Arizona] had 102 yards. So we were playing pretty good besides that first drive of the game. I think we played pretty well. [On] third downs, I think we were 0-for-11, or 11-for-11 for us, so that's a good day for us — 100 percent. You normally don't lose those games, but we lost that one in the preseason."

On his goals this season:

"The main goal is to win — win the division. I feel like I'll probably be playing at a high level, which means I'll be helping this defense and this team win a lot of games. We know the division, maybe the last few years, has been going through Kansas City. We have them the first game, so it will be a test right away to see how the division will shake out from the beginning."

On watching preseason tape:

"For myself and my teammates, [I'm] seeing if you're playing the right techniques and if you're doing the right assignments. The coaches grade those things from veterans to rookies. You have to do the right thing and that's what it's about. In the preseason, you just have to sharpen your skills and sharpen your technique going into the season."

On the game against Seattle:

"[I expect to play] however much the coach puts me out there. I'm not sure. The same amount everybody else plays."

On sitting guys in the preseason:

"I think it's smart for the quarterback, especially for the ones that are solidified — like [QB Philip Rivers] and those guys that are elite. For myself and other guys, probably just play as much as you can, especially if you're healthy. If you're healthy, play as much as you can, unless [it's not what the coach decides]. If the coach sits me down, I'm going to complain."

On if he's solidified in the lineup:

"Maybe, but at the same time, I need to sharpen my skills as well. That's why I try to practice every day as much as I can because you can sharpen them at practice as well. It's always good to go against another team and [we have] Seattle this week — so hopefully, as a team we'll be sharp going into this game."

On matching up with WR Keenan Allen at practice:

"[I try to] as much as I can, especially one-on-ones and things like that, but in practice, it's more random. If he's on my side, yes, but one-on-ones, I go against him every time. Whenever he's up, I go. No matter if he's on the left or right side. I go against him every time."

On CB Michael Davis:

"I feel like he's been playing at a high level, especially in practice and you can feel that he has more confidence. It's a big jump from your rookie year to your second year, so I think he'll make a big jump going into his second year. He was already one of the better special teams players and now he's trying to make that transition to being a really good player on defense, and I think he's got a chance to be."

On how playing special teams helps playing cornerback:

"Probably aggression. Other than that, I don't know. You have to run fast on special teams and defense. Hopefully I don't have to play special teams as much anymore. If they ask me to some special teams, I'll be ready to go."

On CB Desmond King:

"I definitely expect a jump [from last season]. I think from the first four games and on, you could see a jump in Desmond's play. He was getting familiar with the defense, familiar with what the coaches wanted him to be and I feel like he was learning how to become a pro. I feel [in] his second year, you can see it. You don't have to coach him up as much. He's in the right spots, doing the right things. I feel like this will be a special year for him and just for this defense as a whole."

On his rookie season:

"Rookie year was so long ago for me. It wasn't that long ago. [It probably takes] a couple games [to get used to everything]. The preseason helps. I count the preseason as a couple games, maybe like two games. You'll be alright."

On the nickname 'Jack Boys':

"I think one of the guys — I think maybe from their school — they used to call themselves the Jack Boys. I guess we kind of stole it. I think we stole it from one of the schools or something like that and we try to be thieves with the ball. That's what it's about, trying to go and get the ball, so we just call ourselves the 'Jack Boys'. If we can get the ball as much as we can and be thieves, we're doing a good job. Hopefully you'll say that a lot about us."

On if there's an expectation with the nickname:

"For sure, you need the ball. The expectation is going to [be there], no matter what the name is, so it just kind of goes with what we want to do as a unit anyway. So 'Jack Boys,' let's get the ball regardless of whatever our name is. We'll make plays, but we need to get the ball. That's the key to this game. Get the ball. Get the offense the ball as much as possible."


On returning to action:

"It was great. It was great to be back out here and not with the training staff — back with the teammates and a little camaraderie, so it was nice."

On if it felt like the first day of school:

"I haven't done, technically, football stuff in a year. It's like the first day of school, but it's like riding a bike. It comes back pretty quickly."

On the rehab process:

"You always have to have a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter what you're doing in life. You always have to have a goal, [both] short-term [and] long-term. My goal was just to get back out here as soon as I could. Today was my first day of working back into individual and it felt great."

On not participating in team periods:

"Yeah, it's hard [not playing in team periods yet]. You want to do everything, but I have to trust in the training staff and trust in [Head] Coach [Anthony] Lynn. They have a plan for me to work back in slowly. It's hard. You want to jump right back in, but I know that I have to work back in slowly."

On participating in position meetings:

"I'm in all of the meetings. I'm a full-go in camp. The only thing that I'm not doing is team [periods] and things like that — which you guys know I've been working on the side, and today I worked back into [individual]. Other than that, I'm in all of the meetings and at the hotel."

On how he feels:

"I feel good. I'm pretty excited."

On the difficulty of gradually progressing back into action:

"It's just trust. I trust the training staff. Like I said, I trust Coach Lynn. I trust [Offensive Line] Coach [Pat] Meyer. Just having the trust with those guys. I know they have my best interest at heart. Slowly working back in, I trust them with that."

On if he can have an impact on the offensive line:

"That's my goal. That's everybody's goal whether you're drafted, a free agent or coming back from an injury, everybody wants to play. That's my ultimate goal."

On the possibility of returning earlier in camp:

"No, I have just stuck to the plan. I have felt good for quite a while — but you feel good, then have a bad day, then you feel good. It's just like anything else in life. I just stick to the plan they give me. Like I said, I have trust in the training staff and Coach Lynn."

On last season:

"I felt like part of the team. When I got hurt, I was surprised because I had only been here [a short time]. You get drafted in April and you show up in May, so you're only here for two months during OTAs and minicamp. In that short period of time, you gain a lot of friends, which you didn't think you would. When I got hurt, a bunch of the guys texted me. I was around and I was in meetings, so I still felt like part of the team. They did a good job of including me in things."

On his second procedure in May:

"Yeah, you're always concerned [it will affect your return] because you want to get back out there as soon as you can, but it's just something you have to do. It was something I had to do for myself. The training staff thought it was best as well. Whether it was going to set me back or not, it had to happen."

On if he was feeling discomfort before his May procedure:

"I was in a little bit of pain — everyone is in a little bit of pain after ACL surgery. [It was] just precautionary. We got an MRI and I just needed that second surgery."

On the May procedure:

"It was just a clean-up, scope. Just to go in and take care of some things."

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