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Transcript - Training Camp (Aug. 3, 2018)

Friday, August 3, 2018 | Jack Hammett Sports Complex | Costa Mesa, Calif.


Opening Statement:

"The tempo was a little slow today. We put them in some shorts. Worked on some situational football. A lot of good teaching points came out of this practice today, and that's what you have training camp for. Learned how to execute and play smart football."

On having a lighter practice before the scrimmage tomorrow:

"Absolutely, [we're] trying to rest their legs a little bit. We'll be a little quicker this afternoon when we walk through. Just getting them off their feet so they can go out tomorrow. We have our Blue-White scrimmage. We're trying to see who can make plays. No more installing right now. Just seeing who can line up, who can execute and try to make it like [as much of a] game day as possible."

On what he's hoping to see tomorrow from the team:

"I want to see who's going to make plays. I want to see who's going to execute. Sometimes, in practice you have your coach back there and you have your script. You can look at your script and you know what the play is, but I want to simulate the game. Call it from the sideline. Guys will have to hear in the huddle, go up to the line of scrimmage, and they'll have seven seconds to make decisions. That's really football."

On of they will be playing four quarters tomorrow:

"It will be ones against ones, twos against twos, threes against threes, and we might switch up — ones against twos, twos against ones, and threes against threes. We'll throw some special teams in there and we'll have one live segment and just go at it. That's the only part of our scrimmage that's going to be live."

On the emphasis of the scrimmage:

"I've always done it. Last year, there were so many changes, I just wanted to get through camp the best we could, install our offense and our new defense. This year, I feel a little more comfortable. I'm going to put the guys in game situations."

On how this scrimmage will set the mood for the rest of training camp:

"It's a warmup for the first game to be honest with you. We'll go through our warm-up routine, the whole thing, just like it's game day. So, when the guys take the field the following week in Arizona, they've done it."

On if the kickers will participate in the scrimmage tomorrow:

"Absolutely. They will have opportunities. If the offense drives the ball and we get in field goal range, they will have an opportunity to kick field goals tomorrow and we will have a kicking period at the end."

On G Forrest Lamp:

"I'm excited to see him out here every day running around getting better. I know last year, before he got hurt, he was really looking good. It's going to take some time getting him back where he was, but he's on track. I don't like putting a timetable on players, but Forrest is looking really good right now, and I'm excited for him."

On Lamp's impact on the offensive line:

"We did a really good job against the pass rush teams we played last year. We have a lot of good pass rushers in this league. Our quarterback [Philip Rivers] does a good job of getting rid of the ball and just knowing where it's supposed to go. So, it's not just [offensive line], it's everybody — wide receivers running routes at the right depth so that the quarterback can get it to him quickly. It's everybody and I think we even have a chance to take it to another level, but we also need to improve that run offense."

On WR Dylan Cantrell:

"I think he's going to be okay. I really don't know yet. I just saw him limp off at the end."

On the offense taking shots down the field:

"It was looking good and it was looking bad. We teach back-back, stay on top, and we just had some guys who kind of underestimated [WR] Travis Benjamin's speed. Travis is an extremely fast man. If he gets on your toes, it's probably too late."

On depth in the secondary:

"We have a lot of guys we're rotating in the secondary right now. We have a lot of good depth back there right now. The guys are doing well."

On DB Jaylen Watkins:

"He's very steady. He's a captain back there in the back end. I think he has a chance to help our football team."

On when he's finalizing roles in the secondary:

"Probably around that third preseason game when we start to figure out our lineup. Before our last game, we won't play our starters very much — if at all. Probably somewhere in there."


Opening Statement:

"It was a big situation in practice today. I think you can tell [it was] with our team. [It was] a lot of installs and then, on top of that, I think we did four or five different situations today. [It was] very good work. We're not where we need to be, obviously, especially today. You saw some things take place, but [there were] great teaching moments and guys getting a lot of reps. That evaluation part of it is different when you have pads on. I know today that we didn't have them on, but [we did] the last couple of days. We're right on track where we need to be, but you still sense that this will be good tape for us to watch."

On the importance of teaching moments in camp:

"We need this. We had some balls that went deep on us. We need to test our safeties back there and see how they're playing. We haven't had as much of that throughout camp, and then today, it came up. We'll be able to put them on tape and they'll understand, it will be a clearer picture why our philosophy is the way it is. I think it's very good — and they were talking about the sideline about it — until you really experience that, it's hard to keep harping on it."

On if he has told QB Philip Rivers to keep testing the defense deep:

"Yeah, I just go by him and I say, 'We love that!' We need that. He's going to do what he has to do, but I know we appreciate anytime they do some things like that."

On defending the deep pass last year:

"Yeah, [I thought we did that well last year]. That's really our philosophy, to try and limit explosive plays. I think it's a stat proven in the league that if you can limit explosive plays, it has a direct correlation with the points. It's an important part of our defense, so to have some today, like I said, it will be a good, teachable moment."

On S Jahleel Addae getting reps at free safety:

"When I first got here, I watched him on tape and saw him play free safety. Kind of envisioning what we would ask him to do — you can see that on tape. He's playing really well right now at strong safety for us, too. I think, right now, you'll see that guys are playing multiple positions. The more that they can do gives us better flexibility, and you know that there are going to be injuries that take place. We want to make sure, at this time, that we really improve our depth."

On DB Jaylen Watkins:

"He has really good speed. [He's] that guy that can run from sideline-to-sideline, play Quarters and do some different things like that. I think he has the ability with his instincts and experience to understand, now it's just putting it together. I figured he was a guy that we would see gradually get better and better every day, and that's kind of what we have seen. [He's] pretty consistent."

On Watkins playing multiple positions:

"He has been playing strong [safety]. We are going to give him some reps at cornerback. I think he can be a nickel [cornerback] in a pinch. Again, he's one of those guys that we're moving around quite a bit."

On traits to look for in a free safety:

"I think you have to be a really good open-field tackler. The ball comes through there and if, for some reason, it squeaks through there, [you need] a guy that the rest of the defense trusts that can make that play. And then, the ability to really cover some ground. [He] really needs to be able to read the quarterback and feel like he has a good process back there. He also has a big job in our defense to eliminate, or at least limit, some of those explosive plays."

On S Derwin James:

"Right now, we have him closer [to the line of scrimmage] in the box just to see how he is down there. We have had him for a day, but I think, eventually, we'll try to see where his flexibility is as well."

On if he knows who the team's free safety will be:

"We really don't. There's really strong competition. I think that's what we're trying to figure out. How do we get our best 11 guys on the field? That's pretty open right now."

On CB Jason Verrett:

"As a coach, you train so that, after a loss, it's your job to get over it quickly. It's hard, it takes time, and you just train yourself. Okay, the team is kind of counting on you to pick yourself up, get going and go into that meeting, but I don't have very good practice at that one. That's really hard. It was heavy on a lot of people's hearts. Not so much as a team, we'll rally and guys will step up, but it's way too early for that phrase, 'Next man up.' To see him work and how he goes about it, he is a true professional. You pull for guys [to succeed]. I know for me, you pulled for him and then to see something like that happen, it just takes your heart away. He's strong and I think we'll all rally around his strength."

On CB Trevor Williams:

"Players will step up. Trevor will go out there and do a great job for us as well as [CB] Casey [Hayward], and we have some younger guys that are doing well. When you take that part out of it, yeah, we'll be fine. It just pulls on your heart for [Verrett].

On what he's looking forward to this season:

"The improvement that we make [from last year]. I think [our] whole objective is that we want to play fast. Having a year under our belt and really understanding our principles, [the question is], can we play faster? Obviously, I think we're going to have more speed on the field — so that will help — but there is more to it than that. It's understanding the defense. We have some young players that have been pretty impressive, like a [LB] Kyzir White, Derwin [James], [DL] Justin Jones and guys like that who will maybe get a chance to get on the field and play some. How fast can they play? We know they're pretty fast as far as their timed 40s [40-yard dashes], but there is that game-speed you're looking [for]. I think that will be the most interesting thing, how fast can we become as a defense and can we stop the run?"

On the young cornerbacks:

"I think we're starting to see [CB] Michael Davis' length. We always knew he had speed, but I think he's using his length more. I think [CB] Craig Mager is a guy that has really caught our eye because he has really taken to the coaching as far as using the techniques. We're seeing him use his hands more and staying on top. He's having a much better training camp than he did last year."

On the Blue-White scrimmage on Saturday:

"I think we're going to pare down what we do defensively and really just see how fast we can play. I think that's the thing. We have to get better at tackling. We have some leverage issues we have to work on. We'll really have it be more of a fundamental scrimmage for us."


On what he's looking forward to during the scrimmage:

"I'm really excited about it. It's like gameday for me. It's nothing live, but I think [there are] short-yard and goal line [situations]. It's an opportunity for everyone to go out there and make plays. I'm pretty sure that's what coaches are wanting to see and what I want to see, too, so we figure out who can make the plays. "

On the rookie linebackers:

"[They have] a lot of speed, a lot of explosiveness. Those guys are going to be keys to this defense and special teams. Overall, it seems like they were great picks."

On what he worked on this offseason:

"I'll say my pass coverage — getting back into my drops. I'm not saying I was bad at it last year, but it's one of those things that I need to work on a little bit. I'm just focusing on my technique"

On if he's happy with his weight:

"I am, but sometimes I overdo it with the rice and chicken. I'm 240 right now."

On if there's a downside to losing weight:

"No, not at all. Someone actually told me I look like I way about 220 the other day and I took it as a compliment."

On how good he thinks the defense could be:

"All I'm going to say is stayed tuned. Come out here tomorrow and you'll see."

On improvements of run defense:

"I mean, just the way we're practicing right now, with the 'thud' up thing, we're getting a lot of good shots. Occasionally, our defensive nature makes us bring down somebody, but we're just learning how to practice, getting ready to go into game mode. If you're watching how we're doing it now, game days will be 10 times better"

On getting into game mode for the scrimmage:

"Tomorrow, I may bring a couple people down, coaches are going to be a little bit mad at me tomorrow. I hope he sees this — he's going to be a little ticked off — but I'm already in game mode right now, so it's going to happen tomorrow."

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