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Transcript - Training Camp (Aug. 22, 2018)

Wednesday, August 22, 2018 | Jack Hammett Sports Complex | Costa Mesa, Calif.


On the progress he's seen from the new guys:

"It's night-and-day from day one. All of those guys have gotten better and they continue to get better every week. Come September 9, we'll see where they are. Some of those guys, you might find them in the starting lineup."

On the offensive line being more stable this year:

"It does. Being around this personnel a year longer, knowing how to use those guys a little better and what they can do well and what not, it all helps."

On G Forrest Lamp:

"Forrest is a good football player. When he gets back and he's healthy, he can play guard and he can play tackle. I'm sure he'll pick up where he left off."

On Lamp being a possible swing player:

"When he's back healthy, he's going to compete for a starting job. We liked him in the starting lineup last year and we look forward to seeing him back in there again."

On what he liked about today's joint practice:

"I love seeing the guys competing. [We] put them in red zone, third down situations, third-and-long situations. I love seeing guys compete and make plays. I thought we had that today. We had some miscommunication as well. The tempo sped up at practice and that's good for us. That's going to help us on game day."

On the benefits of having a joint practice:

"You really just like to break up the monotony of camp and go against someone else. This last week of training camp is going to go by a lot faster because the Saints are here. We're going to get some good, quality work done. We get to evaluate our players against another team's players, just to see to see where we are."

On CB Casey Hayward:

"Just a little sore in the hamstring."

On LB Uchenna Nwosu:

"He's strong. He's a strong, big, fast man. The more comfortable he gets with [Defensive Coordinator] Gus' [Bradley] scheme, the faster and [more] physical he plays. We like him as a rush [defensive] end and we like him as an outside linebacker. He's doing a lot of things for a rookie, but he's doing them well right now."

On Assistant Athletic Trainer/Physical Therapist Allison Miner:

"I was about to say Allison is the man, but she's a woman. She's awesome. She's a professional. She knows how to handle herself around the guys. She doesn't take any crap. She gets her job done and that's why she's here. If she couldn't do that, she wouldn't be here."

On G Michael Schoefield III:

"Michael is doing good. [He was] last year's quality depth for us at the tackle and the swing guard, but he stepped in at that right guard and he's doing well. As long as we do what they do best, I think that's going to help all those guys up front. [C] Mike Pouncey has been the biggest difference. He's been a nice fit for that offensive line, just the whole mindset [he brings]."

On what difference he's seen in the offensive line:

"Everything. Run blocking, pass protection, communication. You have a veteran center in there, so that helps a lot. That center is like the quarterback of the offensive line."


Opening statement:

"[It was] a really good practice for us as far as practice tempo. we got used to their speed. I thought they came out and did a great job. I mean, to go against that level of offense is a great challenge for us. [There were] different schemes, different things that they're going to do to attack us, so I thought it was great timing, too. I think this week was excellent to have this team come in and be able to go against them"

On LB Uchenna Nwosu:

"He's a guy that as we watched during training camp. He would have flashes, but when he got into games, those flashes have appeared to happen more often. He picked it up more in games. Hopefully, that carries over into practice to where his level just keeps improving. He's learning multiple positions for us. He lines up as an outside linebacker. He lines up as a rusher. So he's really got a lot on his plate, but to see him using the technique things we asked him to do [is good]. He's never really dropped [into coverage] a lot before, so we're asking him to do more of that and he has seemed to pick that up a little quicker than we anticipated."

On LB Kyzir White:

"We're still in that phase where we're mixing-and-matching guys, seeing how they adjust to playing with the ones and playing with the twos. He's a guy who has really good speed. He was a safety in college and moved to linebacker for us. He's got good length and he's heavy-handed, so [he has some of the traits that we're looking for at linebacker. Today, he made a play. He's a guy that we're trying to speed up his learning curve a little bit. He also is playing multiple positions, so we're seeing how much he can handle strain-wise."

On younger guys getting snaps with the starters:

"We always try and take those younger guys and put them with the first group to see how they will respond. Today was one of those days where you put them all together and see how they respond. They've really done a good job. They've got a lot on their plate, but I think, somewhat, it's slowing down for them so we can see their actual game speed. I know they would probably say that they've got a long way to go — which they do — but the progress that they're making at this point, we just need to keep pushing them because they do some good things. Uchenna [Nwosu] is a guy that shows up and has shown up the last two games on game day, so I think that's what we need to start to see more in practice and hopefully, it starts to carry over at an even higher level."


On the quarterback competition with Saints QB Drew Brees:

"It's always fun. Shoot, the practices against another team is fun. We did the Rams last year and the Saints last year. Now, the Saints again this year. It's good work. Obviously, it raises the energy a little bit and, shoot, that's a good team with a lot of good players. To me, you still have two more preseason games without being completely live, which can be really valuable to learn from off the tape, improve and get better. Shoot, there was plenty of that today that we can watch the tape and improve on."

On his relationship with Brees:

"I think it's just unique because of how the whole thing played out. Obviously, being [brought in] here to be the guy and then, shoot, Drew deserves credit for the way that he bounced back. I felt early on as a rookie, 'Shoot, this guy is pretty dang good.' I just remember going, 'I don't believe that 4-12 was all on him,' the previous year. Then, he got hot and, shoot, has been hot for another 15 years. [That's] a credit to him, obviously. In those first two years, I enjoyed working with him and competing, then it worked out. It worked out well for him. Shoot, he has had one heck of a run in New Orleans and won a championship. I've been able to have some longevity here with the Chargers. It is unique. Drew and I have always kept in touch. I have always pulled for him from afar."

On seeing Brees outside of the NFL:

"Yeah, one year we set up a little inter-squad game with his son's flag [football] team and ours just at a park in Forest Ranch. That was pretty cool — that was pretty awesome. We keep in touch. It's not much more than that. Shoot, we both have big families. He goes back-and-forth from New Orleans. We go back to the South quite a bit during our downtime, but we have always kept in touch and — I know I can speak from my standpoint — I have had a great respect for him as a man and as a player for what he has been able to do in this league. Shoot, he's probably going to go down as the all-time leading passer in the history of the game. That's pretty awesome."

On the timing of joint practices in training camp:

"Well, it's not [earlier in camp this year]. That's what I tell him [WR Keenan Allen], well it's not. It's here and we have it, so we roll with it."

On the quarterback competition:

"We [the Chargers quarterbacks] had a bad day today. We had a bad day. I didn't touch one target, to be honest with you. They're off to a good start, so they won today and they have a little lead on us in the overall, but there is always tomorrow."

On who won the competition last year:

"We did. We won the overall last year. I think we split days and I can't remember how it went down. We had a couple of different side games going with the overall point total and individual scores as well."

On what the prize is for the quarterback competition:

"I'm not sure. They had those YETI coolers over there today and the Ramblers. That was the prize today, so they took those home. I guess we have some homework to do because we're responsible for the game tomorrow. They set the bar pretty high."

On the offensive line:

"I thought last year it was pretty stable and we had a heck of a year with the guys up front, but yeah I feel good about the guys up front [this year]. The key to me is that six, seven, eight or nine — or however it plays out — that you get to this point and you feel pretty good where you are with that depth of who goes where if something goes awry. We'll see how it all plays out, but I feel good about the guys up front."

On G Forrest Lamp:

"He hasn't played a lot. He's still a rookie [by experience]. He needs reps, reps, reps. I'm just excited to see him back out on the field and let him keep getting better every day."

On S Derwin James, LB Uchenna Nwosu and LB Kyzir White:

"They all seem to have great instincts. I can't speak to their performance like [Defensive Coordinator] Gus [Bradley] can or [Head] Coach [Anthony] Lynn, but they all have great instincts. You can tell that, and they really can accelerate and attack the football. With [Nwosu], [White] and [James], you see those guys flash quite a bit in practice and in the games. That's exciting to see."

On Assistant Athletic Trainer/Physical Therapist Allison Miner:

"Shoot, she's a pro. Any interaction I have had with her and I know that the guys have had — thankfully I don't spend much time in the training room, I hope I can keep it that way. She's a pro. She's really good at what she does. She takes great pride in what she does. Female or not, she is doing her job. I think she takes great pride in that. Shoot, she does great for us."

On WR Mike Williams:

"I think I said, probably when we kicked off training camp, 'For Mike, it is going to be day-in and day-out. How consistent can he be? We've seen the flashes and the big plays, but can he do it every day?' He's pretty much shown us that. He's out here every day and you just see him working and pushing through. I'm sure he's tired and sore like all of those guys are. He's working through that and every day you see him make a play. It's exciting. It does a lot [for our chemistry]. It's just like, for instance, the play to [TE] Virgil [Green] today. It wasn't an unbelievable play, but Virgil and I hadn't made that play [before]. You know what I mean? To me, it was a huge deal because now I know, shoot, when we get in the game and that happens, I have the confidence to throw it. Those kind of plays, when you're with guys that you haven't been with a lot or had a lot of reps with, that are a big deal to me. The interception in two-minute [situation], is that a big deal when it counts? Yeah, it is a really big deal, but that's Keenan [Allen] and I a little bit not on the same page. It doesn't make me lose sleep. Virgil and I communicating and making that play makes me get really fired up. It's all of those little things that you gain from days like that today."

On how much he expects to play on Saturday:

"I have no idea. It's Wednesday. We'll know later in the week."

On how joint practices raises the competition:

"I think it's good for all of the guys, but just speaking from a quarterback standpoint, I have a red jersey on, but I get every look — live, different coverages. Today, the Saints played a few things that we hadn't seen one snap of all training camp, but it's what they play. We've seen them play it [before], so that was good. It was good to have some of those route concepts and those things so you're not just going against the team that you know so well. For me, shoot, I'm in a red jersey and I get 40 snaps today. It's the best of both worlds. I get all work and then I know they're not going to tee off if they were to get back there."

On if any advice from Brees sticks with him from when they were teammates:

"No, again, we were competing. Drew, at that time, — what, he was the [2001] draft? It was just his fourth year, so he was still young and on his ascension. I don't remember anything that he said, I just remember the way that he went about his work. He was unbelievable with his preparation. He was very [consistent]. Week-to-week, it didn't matter. If we won, if we lost, if he threw the game-winner or if he threw the pick to lose the game, he was the same guy all week long. That was good for me to see another guy do it because it's a long season. You're going to have a turnover. You're going to make some bad plays. You're going to win some big-time games coming from behind. On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, you have to be the same no matter what. He didn't tell me that, but I saw that every day those two years."

On C Mike Pouncey:

"It's very important [to have a good relationship]. There is a great deal of communication with the center and all of the offensive line. It's been great from day one. His football intelligence and just his pure instincts and presence in the huddle have been great. He definitely brings a good energy and good play with him."


On WR Mike Williams:

"It's awesome [to have him healthy]. Last year, [he was] dealing with his injury and [we've seen] him grow as a player from spring ball up until now. Even the other night against Seattle [Seahawks], when he plucked the ball off the defensive back's head. It is awesome to see and something we are going to need during the season."

On joint practices:

"I get a different look. When you go against your offense, you figure out their tendencies and what not. Going against a different team, they give us different looks. Different speed, a little faster than practice, but not quite a game. A little more up-tempo to finish up camp against a good opponent."

On game planning during the preseason:

Yeah, because you are getting the experience. These are the guys we go against and this is what they run. You get a feel of what we are going to go against on Saturday at a fast tempo. It was good work today and all-in-all, it was a plus.

On Saints CB Patrick Robinson:

"He is a sound player. He's fast, explosive and smart. A wily vet. I talked to him today and he said he was going into his 10th year. That is extraordinary for him and I'm happy for him. He has been around the block a couple of times with some different teams and seen some good contracts. It couldn't happen to a better person than P-Rob."

On LB Uchenna Nwosu:

"He can rush, he can drop and cover. He can slide behind the defensive line and stack the backers, stack the defensive line and play linebacker. As you guys have seen in the first two preseason games, he has been flashing. Every time he is on the field, you see that 58 flash across the screen. Obviously, he is going to continue to work [hard], but he has a lot of promise."

On Nwosu's impact:

"It's big. That is why see why we went out and got him in the second round. Upstairs saw something in him and you guys are seeing it between those white lines."

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