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Transcript - Training Camp (Aug. 2, 2018)

Thursday, August 2, 2018 | Jack Hammett Sports Complex | Costa Mesa, Calif.


Opening Statement:

"[S Derwin] James came in and played a little bit today. He had two-thirds of the reps on defense. He looked good. We'll work him back in slowly. [CB] Trevor [Williams] is doing fine with the ankle. He'll start rehabbing on the sides. I don't want to put a timetable on it, but I don't think it's too serious. We'll get to have him back soon. That's about it with the injuries."

On CB Trevor Williams' injury:

"It feels good because we didn't know if it was a high ankle sprain or low, and it was low. He'll be back in no time. No rush. We'll give him four or five days off and see where we'll go from there."

On if Williams will play a preseason game:

"Yes. He's definitely going to play in the preseason, but I don't mind seeing some of these younger guys. We have a good competition and a lot of depth at that position right now."

On the cornerbacks:

"They're competing. Some of those guys — they have the skill set to play man coverage and we're doing more of that right now in training camp. [We're] just taking a look at it and they look good doing it.

On S Derwin James:

"He looked comfortable today. It's one of those situations where we don't want this to linger, so we're being overly cautious. If it was up to him, he wanted to go two days ago. He probably could have."

On if anything stuck out to him about James today:

"He looks good. He looks good in his uniform. He's a good-looking safety, but it's just good seeing him back out there because he had such a good offseason. Just a minor set back at the end, but he looked good."

On the quarterback competition:

"It's been pretty even to be honest with you. I've been watching that position all summer and all spring. Those guys are so neck-and-neck. The only things that are going to separate them is what they do in games, so once we get into the preseason, we'll see who moves the ball down the field."

On K Caleb Sturgis:

"We're not happy to see a guy miss three kicks. We brought them here to make field goals. He's coming off that injury. We're giving him a chance to adjust. There's a lot more that goes into kicking field goals than just the kicker. It's the snap, it's the hold. We have to evaluate those things as well."

On what he did on his day off:

"I went up to San Francisco for a friends' funeral service — Dwight Clark's. We had to do somethings in LA. We went to go visit with some people in LA — some people in our community. We had a good time."

On if the guys feel refreshed after a day off:

"Sometimes. Sometimes the guys can come back a little sluggish the next day because of the day off. You can lose a little momentum, but I felt like our guys came back just fine. They bounced back and they're ready to go. Tomorrow we'll walk through it and be ready for Saturday."

On watching players compete:

"It's exciting. I'm excited for the guys. They have the opportunity to compete and do something special this year. I'm proud. It is fun, but I want to make it fun for them, too. It's a competition. Sometimes it can get stressful and guys start worrying about making mistakes. I don't want perfect practice. I just want perfect effort."

On guys that have impressed on film:

"For example, [C/G Cole] Toner, our backup center. He's doing some nice things on the offensive line. He's starting to understand that a little bit more."

On LB Uchenna Nwosu:

"Uchenna's playing good ball. He's a versatile athlete. He can play defensive end and stand-up linebacker. He's doing well."


On what has stood out during camp:

"Well, the thing that stands out in the first couple of weeks is the competition. It's been good. I think the defense, [Defensive Coordinator] Gus [Bradley] has done a great job with those guys. It's their second year in the system. A lot of times, they know what we're doing and we kind of know what they're doing. So, the competition gets pretty intense. When that happens, you get a chance to see the guys in competitive situations. I don't think you can ever simulate the game action, but it's pretty close to that, so you get a chance to evaluate our guys. It's been a good, whatever it is, week [or so]."

On WR Keenan Allen:

"Last year for him, it was a big season. It was a big season for us because of him, in large part. I think you can really see how motivated he was coming back. The thing that really stood out to me about Keenan is when we came back for the offseason program, which was [April 1st], he was in good shape. He was down in weight, had been working really hard and had a good spring. Now, you can see that carrying over into the season. He has had a great start to camp and we're excited about the season with him."

On WR Mike Williams:

"I think the thing with Mike is he's pretty consistent. When he gets an amount of time that he gets into a routine, he starts to get better. He's done that twice now — and both times, unfortunately, once in the spring and once last season where he starts to get better, he got nicked up a little bit. It was really nice to see him with the pads on, in practice, at full speed and make some of those contested catches, especially when he took the hit from [LB] Denzel [Perryman] and got right back up. Everybody talked about that, and rightfully so, it was nice. But, it was good to see him make a nice move on a release off the line of scrimmage, get on top of the defender and then be able to make the catch down the field. Those are the things that, when you talk about Mike, you expect to see him to be very successful with. It's easy to say he's going to be that way, but to see him do it is exciting. As he continues to grow, we're kind of finding out a little bit of where he can go and what he can do. One of the things when you asked about [WR] Keenan [Allen], is he set the standard of being able to line up in different spots and be successful. That's what we're trying to do a little bit with Mike — to create those matchups where we can use his size. Hopefully, those things can work out."

On the backup quarterback:

"No, [we don't know who it is yet]. I don't think so. Everybody wants to do that really quickly, but we're one week in. We have had a spring with these guys, but the real test will come in the preseason games because that's when you're out there and you get a chance to see how they can handle it. Let me tell you, in preseason games, you never know what's going to happen. You don't know who you're playing with after you get past the first group. You never know what the matchups are going to be like, so you find a lot about those guys, how they handle those situations and how they can manage some of the players. I think that's where you really find out about a lot."

On the backup quarterback rotation in preseason games:

"We really haven't talked about that, yet. There will be some type of plan to give them their fair share. That's the way it's been all the way through OTAs. I'm sure it will be the same in the games."

On using more three-receiver sets in training camp:

"Even without Mike [Williams] last year, we had a lot of three-receiver sets. That's part of what this league is, you have some of that. I don't think, if you look at us in the season, that we were skewed where it was always three wide receivers. We try to mix personnel and we try to do different things with different guys. You probably just notice it a little bit more because Mike is such a big guy and when he's out there, you're like, 'Hey, there's Mike.' But it really hasn't been anything significantly more than what we've done in the past from a numbers standpoint."

On players buying in to the offense:

"We're lucky because, when you have a quarterback like Philip [Rivers] — who drives a lot of that with his players because he's so competitive — and then you get an offensive line that has really gelled and meshed, [it trickles down to other players]. Last year in the back half of the season when we really played so well as an offense, it created a little bit of a chemistry with that group. Then it was easier to pick up and go this offseason because with [C Mike] Pouncey coming in, it was just one addition and most of the guys were still here. I think a lot of it was that they really believed that they could do it, so I think the flexibility of our players, and their ability to line up in different spots and do different things gives them a chance to be successful. To see them buy in with that is exciting for us as a group. When you put Keenan [Allen] in a different spot and he wins, or when you put Mike [Williams] as the z-receiver instead of the x-receiver and he runs the fade and wins on that, when you have [TE] Virgil Green lined up outside as a wide receiver and he catches the big route on third down like he did today in the two minute drill — those kinds of things are exciting because, in a nutshell, it makes us more versatile. [That] in theory, would hopefully make us harder to defend."

On if Mike Williams as a red zone threat:

"Well, I think that's probably, when drafting him, that's where you think he would be productive. I think he can help us all over the place. We've had some guys that have done pretty well for us. All different guys have contributed. We'll continue with that as we go forward, but certainly, Mike can be a weapon there."

On QB Geno Smith and QB Cardale Jones:

"I see two guys that are competing [for the backup role]. They both want it. The way they prepare and the way they're competing is what you like to see because, really, it makes both of them better. I don't think either one of them feels comfortable and that's a good thing. If you're uncomfortable, you can have real growth because you're working every day to try to get better because you don't feel like you can have a down day. It's good for us because both of these guys are competing and getting better, and that's going to help us."

On the similarities between Smith and Jones:

"I would say it's hard to compare their skillsets. They're both big, young quarterbacks. They come [here] in different ways, they've done different things in college, but how they're operating in this system, they're both doing a good job."

On Jones' accuracy:

"He's been good. Even last year, when we had him in training camp — we [traded for him] in training camp and then playing in the preseason games — you could see those things. You can see he's accurate and has a big arm. I think, where he has done really well, is understanding how to move in the pocket and be able to make throws down the field. A lot of times, in college, when you come from where he did, he was so big and so athletic that if the first guy wasn't there, sometimes you'd see him run. I have vivid memories of him in the championship game running down the field and making plays. He can still do that, but I think now you're seeing him move to the left, move to the right and make some throws down the field. Those are the things that you like seeing out of a young quarterback."


On how camp has been so far:

"I think it's going well. I'm just getting acclimated with everything. I'm pretty comfortable with the offense, just making sure I've got the details of everything down."

On what it's like playing with QB Philip Rivers:

"It's always good to have a quarterback that knows exactly what he wants. Before the coach can even get to you, he's already darting over to you to let you know how he wants things done. Having everyone on the same page like that is awesome."

On if he feels like a leader in the tight end room:

"You know, I think with the way [TE] Hunter Henry has played over the years, I see him as a leader in our room. Obviously, with how many years I've played, I see myself as a leader as well. But Hunter has a lot of great input and he knows exactly how Philip [Rivers] wants things because he's been in games with him and I've only been to a few practices. So I'm trying to learn as much from Philip as I am Hunter making sure I have everything right."

On the tight ends:

"They're hungry. They remind me a lot of myself. I was a seventh-round draft pick. When I got into the tight end room [as a rookie], I was [probably] the eighth guy on the depth chart. I was like, 'Wow, I've got a long way to go.' But I was hungry and whatever I had to do, I was going to get done. It didn't matter what obstacles I had to go through and that's what I see these guys doing."

On passing down wisdom:

"All the time. I always tell them to not care about what's going on or how things are happening. Don't focus on other people or situations too much, just focus on you. They always say get a blade of grass better each day. As long as you're doing that, you'll be in great shape."


On his first day of practice:

"It feels great. The first day back feels great, to be out here playing football."

On when he felt ready to take the field:

"I felt like I was ready on Monday, but it's an ongoing process. You never know with those soft-tissue injuries, so I'm happy they have my back and knowing what they only want what is best for me. [I'm just] taking it slow and day-by-day."

On what was injured:

"It was a middle hamstring."

On feeling comfortable taking the field:

"I felt normal and am back to 100 percent. Like I said, I'm just happy to be out here."

On the timing of the injury:

"I hurt it a week prior to camp. It was a minor strain."

On any frustrations waiting to get out onto the practice field:

"I mean, you work so hard in the offseason getting your body into the best shape and you know it's so hard to simulate practice and game reps you'll get in games. So, it was frustrating since it's my first camp and I wanted to get out there and show what I can do, but I'm happy to be out here."

On what he wants to prove on the field:

"I'm not trying to come out here and do too much. They know what I can do. They drafted me in the first round for a reason. [I] really [want] to just become a master of my craft, learning my movements and be where I'm supposed to on the field."

On playing multiple positions:

"They have me playing both safeties right now. But, it's like feeding a baby — they give me a little spoonful, wait a little bit, then [give me] some more."

On feelings about playing both safeties:

"I just take it. I take the coaching, with having a lot of great coaches with a lot of experience. There are a lot of veteran guys around that's helping me. It makes it that much easier for me."

On the impact of his teammates:

"[S] Jahleel Addae — I sit right by him in the meeting room. I try to pick his brain and he doesn't mind helping he, he's a great guy. [S] Adrian Phillips, he helps me [too]. I'd say our whole DB [defensive backs] room and the coaches we have, they are great people to build around, and they only want what's best."

On working closely with S Jahleel Addae:

"I feel like it'll make us stronger as a team. I can play strong [safety], he can play strong [safety]. I can play free [safety], he can play free [safety]. So, I feel like we're interchangeable and feel like we have a lot of guys who can play multiple positions. Sometimes, you see [CB] Desmond King back there. I feel like we have a lot of guys who can do a lot of things and I feel it's only going to help us with our defensive pressure."

On his comfort playing in the box:

"I'm very comfortable. I feel like I'm able to play in the box because I'm a much bigger guy — [bigger] than most other guys. I feel like it's fun in there. You get to move around with the big guys and like I said, anywhere on the field they need me to play, I can play there."

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