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Transcript - Training Camp (Aug. 15, 2018)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 | Jack Hammett Sports Complex | Costa Mesa, Calif.


Opening Statement:

"We had about 21 guys play hooky today. The deal was, those guys' rep counts were pretty high and I wanted to give the backups more reps so we could close the gap, so we could evaluate those guys a little bit better. They worked out, but they worked at a different facility. They didn't work out here today."

On CB Brandon Facyson:

"Brandon has done an excellent job. He's getting better and better every day. He's a prototypical type corner that [Defensive Coordinator] Gus [Bradley] likes in his system. He's tall. He has a nice wingspan. He has the discipline to stay on top. He's just getting better and better. I thought he played very well last week."

On the kicking competition:

"It's a long battle. We have three more weeks of training camp, a couple more weeks to go. [K] Roberto [Aguayo] kicked well in practice, and then today [K] Caleb [Sturgis] kicked well, so we'll see how it plays out in games."

On kicking in game situations:

"Absolutely. What a player does in a game, to me, is what I evaluate the most."

On delegating work to the other coaches:

"I have a great staff. I'd be an idiot to not delegate to these guys. They're good coaches. I've been less hands on this year and more taking a step back and looking at the big picture and the direction of this football team. Sometimes that's challenging because I miss coaching. I miss being in there with the guys and coaching. It's something I have to step back and accept my role."

On the importance of the young guys getting more reps today:

"I think the most important part about them getting reps like today is when they get in games they're more comfortable. They've been in that situation, and they've done it. You hope the execution is better in the game. I want these guys to play fast and physical just like the second-team defense did last week. I'm really impressed with that second unit right now."

On the two guys added to the roster this week:

"I'm still learning those guys. We had [LB] Kyle [Coleman] last year in camp, and we let him go and brought him back. He's a good linebacker, but he has some catching up to do. The tight end [Je'Ron Hamm] that we claimed off waivers from Seattle — he's a good-looking guy. He was a receiving threat supposedly. We're still evaluating him."

On if TE Je'Ron Hamm has an opportunity to make the roster:

"Anybody in camp has a chance in my opinion. If he learns that playbook and he goes out there and lights it up on Saturday, he's going to turn a lot of heads."

On when he plans to make the kicking decision:

"I would love to make that decision sooner than later. I really would, but it's so close right now. I just can't. We have so many battles that we can focus on this training camp, but that one right there — I'm definitely not ready to pull the trigger on that one yet."

On possibly keeping two kickers:

"That's a possibility as well. No doubt."

On the repercussions of keeping two kickers:

"You're going to take a hit somewhere else, so you better be deep in another position to allow you to do that."

On how both the kickers are doing:

"Caleb [Sturgis] has been hurt, but he looked healthy today, He kicked a 54-yarder today. I think that's the longest he's kicked all camp. Roberto has been pretty consistent the whole offseason. Caleb is just now getting healthy. You're starting to see a different rotation on his ball."

On if he's concerned about K Caleb Sturgis' health:

"I'm not concerned about it because I think it's something that he should be over by now. I think we were just being really cautious with him. You know kickers — they're a little weird anyway. You get a little injury — they're not like a linebacker going back out there."

On if he thinks Sturgis is getting stronger:

"From what I'm seeing right now, yeah. The rotation on his ball, the distance he is getting — it looked good."

On if K Roberto Aguayo's consistency has been pleasing:

"Absolutely. A lot of kickers don't become good kickers in the National Football league until they get cut. When he got here, I told him 'Hell, you've been cut three times, you have nothing to lose. You're playing with house money. Turn it loose.' When he gets over that hump, he's got all the leg talent in the world. He's been very consistent and may be over that hump. I don't know, but we're going to find out."

On if Sturgis' injury is because of his hip surgery:

"No. It's just leg soreness. He hasn't kicked in so long because of the surgery, so we can't over-kick him too soon."

On using P Drew Kaser in kick off situations again:

"That's an option. He did it last year in the Cowboys game, so it's an option."


Opening statement:

"It was a really good day today for our players. I think when you take a look, most of the installation for us is in. There will be a few things here and there. I think what I'm really excited about is that the last couple of days has really been more situational football. Things that came up last year can come up this year, putting us in game-like situations. It's really been strong, competitive practices. That's what we had today, too, with the opportunity to see a lot of young guys. At times, there are going to be injuries that take place during the season, and they wake up, they find out they're a No. 1 and they have to come out and play. I thought that was a good process that we went through with those guys."

On S Derwin James:

"He's very talented with his speed and length — and you saw some plays today. I think what he is going through right now is, if he's in the classroom and the meeting room and you [ask him questions] that he can answer them. He's on it. Now, it's coming out on the field and putting it together. He's in that phase right now, but it's coming. If he makes a mistake, he knows right now. It's just that next step, which you see sometimes with young guys. You have to work not to think anymore, and he's kind of at that stage."

On the preseason game at Arizona:

"We didn't start like we wanted to with the first group. We came out there and we [allowed] two 14-yard runs. That's not exactly how we want to start, but I felt like it was really good after that. We settled down. In fact, the first group, they came off and won the other series — they were going in anyway. They came out there settled down and then we started to play good football. I thought we tackled pretty well. That has been a big emphasis. That part was good. We had a couple busts, like you would think. Really, not preparing and just playing rules football — going out there and really seeing our fundamentals — we kind of have a foundation right now of where we need to improve."

On CB Brandon Facyson:

"He's one of those guys where [see that] his length is showing up. I thought he had a pretty good game against Arizona. I think that length on the edge and now he's learning technique. Out there, you have to play with a certain sense of poise, and we're starting to see that more in practice. He's developing so we will see where that turns out."

On CB Michael Davis:

"We always knew he had speed, but I think now he has become more of a willing tackler. He has gotten stronger. I think he has more confident in his ability to tackle. He had a couple of opportunities in the game where he showed up in tackling. I think he is becoming more well-rounded. He's not just a guy that can run and play on the perimeter. That's the area that we really challenged him on."

On Derwin James' football IQ:

"I'd put it pretty high now. We're asking him to do quite a few things. He's playing down [in the box], he's playing back. We're putting a lot on his plate because, really, that safety position we're trying to find out what combination we want to go with. That means they really all have to play both positions. As a rookie, that's pretty challenging and he's picking it up. Like I said, in the classroom, he's pretty sharp. He just needs to go out on the field and do it consistently."


On his progress:

"Every day, I feel like I'm improving. They're slowing it down for me, making it make more sense to me. I feel like I'm just trying to come out here, apply it and it's working."

On playing different positions:

"It's kind of our defense, but [we can] play multiple spots."

On his comfort level:

"I did it [play different positions] in college. I played linebacker on third down in college and I was doing the same thing in college, so it's kind of the same. Just different techniques."

On adjusting:

"It's basically learning how to do it a new way — learning how to do it their way. Like I said, you have to come out here, trust what they're teaching you and apply it their way. If you don't do it their way, you're not going to play. I'm just trying to come out and get better every day."

On who has helped him learn the playbook:

"[Assistant Defensive Backs] Coach Chris [Harris], [Defensive Backs] Coach [Ron] Milus, and players like [S] Jahleel [Addae], [S Adrian] AP [Phillips]. Those guys have been a big help. They're constantly helping me every day and making sure I'm on top of my game."

On his first NFL game:

"It was exciting, finally putting that Chargers jersey on for the first time, it felt like a real moment for me. A lot of people said it wasn't a real game, but it felt like a real game to me. I just need to improve on taking that step forward."

On playing in the NFL:

"The biggest difference is just understanding the different formations because in college it was more of a spread, up-tempo. Now you have time to go to the huddle and get the play. It's really football. In college it's five seconds, 10 seconds, they're snapping the ball. It's kind of different, but it's the same. At the end of the day it's football."

On this system:

"It's simpler. He doesn't ask you to do too much. It's pretty self-explanatory what he's teaching us. It allows us to play fast You have to really do your job. It's less work, but it's more efficient work."

On playing against QB Drew Brees and QB Russell Wilson:

"I look forward to playing against everybody. I just love ball. Every week is going to be a challenge. Every week, there's going to be a good player on every team that we play. It's the NFL now. I'm just preparing, trusting what my coaches are teaching me and [need to] just keep working hard. You're competing against the best, so that pretty much tells you where you stand."

On the learning adjustment:

"It's much different. There's a lot of guys out there like you. There's not a lot of room for error. One step wrong and a guy is going the distance. You really have to hone in on what they're telling you and what you're doing. It's much different than high school where I can get away with a lot of stuff because I was more athletic than most guys. Now you have to come out here and do what you need to do."

On WR Mike Williams:

"Mike Williams is a great receiver. He has strong hands and I like what he's been doing these last two weeks. He's really coming on and I feel like he's going to be a big help to this team this year."

On the first home game:

"I'm anxious to play. I'm excited to finally get my first home game as a professional. I'm just excited and ready to go."

On the talent level in the NFL:

"I don't want to say it's much harder, but there's more attention to detail. I'm still pretty gifted. Even though it's the NFL, I still like myself. When I take the field, I consider I'm the best player on the field. I still have that same mindset. That doesn't change, but there's a lot of guys that are close in talent. There's not much room for error."

On being in the NFL:

"I just remain humble, just keep working. I haven't done anything yet. I'm still going to come out here and work. Like I said, I have a lot of goals for myself, a lot of great coaches around me and I feel like they're going to help me get there."

On training camp:

"I think I'm a lot farther now than I was in rookie minicamp. I feel like these two or three weeks have been a big help to me. Every day, I see something different in our defense that I have to hone in on. Every day is helping me — like today — I still have some plays I need to get better on, but that's why I'm here."

On the playbook:

"It's less plays, but it's more efficient. You have to be in your gap, you have to be covering your man. You have to do it or it's going to be a big play. Guys are smart. You're going to get some of the top athletes. One mistake and they see that you're the weakness on the defense."

On improvements:

"Just eliminate some of the penalties. We had a couple plays, we had them backed up on second down, third down, and I think we got a couple facemask penalties. Just taking advantage and making the plays that come to us. I think we had a dropped interception. Just the little stuff that helps change the game, playing better in situations. I feel like we'll be good."


On the value of training camp reps:

"It's night and day from last year. Just being able to come out here this camp and just be here [is different]. Just being able to participate in camp, that's the main thing. Being out here is going [to help me] figure everything [out]."

On playing against Arizona:

"The Cardinals game was pretty good. I thought I had some opportunities to make some plays. I made those plays. The time that I was in, I felt like I did well. In the next game, [hopefully] I'll get some opportunities with [QB] Philip [Rivers] and see those plays go. I'm looking forward to it."

On building confidence:

"Every day, every week I feel like I'm building a lot of confidence in the coaches and the quarterbacks. I just have to keep coming here every day and get better."

On his comfort level with QB Philip Rivers:

"This year, like I just said, it's night and day. Last year, with me missing camp and the first five-six games, [we weren't able] to get on the same page. [This year], participating in OTAs and fall camp, it's been a lot better. I'm figuring out what he likes, he's figuring out what I like. He's putting the ball right where I need to be, I just have to go up and make those plays. I'm doing that this time around."

On how this year feels different than last year:

"We kind of know what we have here. We feel like we have all the pieces to win. We feel like we ended the season pretty well last year. We just have to continue to build on that, continue to keep the same energy that played with in the last part of the season and carry it [over] into this preseason and the beginning of the regular season."

On how good this team could be:

"Oh, we could be very good. I feel like we have the leaders for that and the coaches for that, so we just have to go out there and put it on film."

On S Derwin James:

"It's been good [going against him in camp]. He's a freak. He goes out there and makes a lot of plays. He has a big body back there at safety and isn't afraid of contact. He wants to hit you. It's good to have him back there on the back end. We compete every day and we both can get better every day."

On his goals for the season:

"Just be here every game for my teammates, that's the main thing. If I'm here, you know that sky is the limit. I feel like just being out there with my teammates and being to help them every game will help us out a lot."

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