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Transcript - Training Camp (Aug. 4, 2018)

Saturday, August 4, 2018 | Jack Hammett Sports Complex | Costa Mesa, Calif.


Opening Statement:

"We wanted to make this feel more like a game situation for the players. We put them in some game situations, and it felt like it on the field. We believe, the more times we can expose them to this type of atmosphere, the better they're going to get. You're always concerned about injuries when you have a scrimmage or a live period, but they came out pretty clean. I'm very pleased with that."

On the defense:

"That's the way it's going to be. We think September 9th, so it's a good look for our offense, but also our offense is pretty sharp. Like you said, iron sharpens iron, so those guys make each other better. For a little while, my [first-team] defense only had eight reps. I think the offense picked it up and we stayed on the field a little longer."

On LB Kyzir White's growth from the first day of training camp to now:

"He's going every day. He's learning more. He's more comfortable. He's a fast kid. He changes direction at linebacker. That's what we're looking for in our scheme. We're very happy with him right now. We'll get back and look at him on tape in these last situations, and we'll see how he performed."

On what he thought about the goal line period:

"You don't want the first time you go live goal line [to be in] Week 1, so you're going to have to do it. You're going to dread it, but you're going to have to do it. You get to look at your goal line plays, your formation, your personnel, and see what you can do and you can't do. Defensively, you have to stop the run down there. That's what people are trying to do when we go live. It was a good competition today."

On the running backs and offensive line in goal line situations:

"I thought the offensive line — the running back got his pads down. We're really looking at keeping the head up to stay away from those penalties, and that's when you do it is in those goal line situations. It was a teaching point for the running backs in that drill, but I thought they competed well. I think we need to step it up a little bit on [defense]."

On FB Derek Watt:

"Derek Watt has outstanding hands. He's a fullback in this league, but he can also run and catch. We love his versatility, and we're trying to take advantage of that a little more this year. "

On if Watt will see more passes because of TE Hunter Henry's injury:

"Absolutely. You have to make up for that absence. I think [TE] Virgil Green is doing a good job right now picking up where Hunter left off. We'll spread the ball where we can have matchups. It's a match up game. If we can get Derek on a linebacker because that's a better matchup, then that's what we are going to do."

On S Rayshawn Jenkins:

"He's competing hard. He's competing well. He's playing good football. That's why we drafted him."

On WR Mike Williams:

"Those couple days have been really good. It's nice to see Mike making those catches that we saw him make when we drafted him seventh overall. I think Mike's getting more comfortable right now in our scheme because he's practicing. He's staying on the field and now you're seeing the real Mike Williams."

On Jenkins' penalties as a rookie:

"He's really aggressive, and that's what you like about Rayshawn. I think that comes with time and experience. As he gets more acclimated to the speed of this game, he'll make better decisions."

On how much trust he needs in his free safety:

"It's a lot of trust because that guy is deep and he protects our corners. You have to be patient and you can't be too anxious to get involved. Right now, we have [DB Jaylen] Watkins back there. Rayshawn [Jenkins] is back there. [CB] Desmond King has been back there. [S] Derwin James has done a good job back there. I like how the guys are looking at free safety."


On WR Mike Williams:

"He's just continuing to get better and better. Shoot, we know what Mike is capable of. It's just a matter of being out here each and every day, as he has been. He continues to make plays every day, and with those plays comes more confidence. He will be a big part of our offense."

On Mike Williams' red zone presence:

"I think just with his size, definitely [can be a presence]. If you look at his and [WR] Keenan's [Allen] size down there, definitely. I don't think only in the red zone, but he certainly can be a matchup problem down there."

On the offense:

"I thought it was alright [today]. It's kind of been like camp, I don't make more of this than any other practice or team session. I think it's been like camp — a little bit of back-and-forth, which is good. If it was really one-sided, that's when you really get nervous. It's been back-and-forth. We did some good things. There are plenty of things to work on, coach on from — correct when we watch the tape this afternoon. We're still early, shoot, it's August 4th. We still have over a month until the opener. We just have to keep heading in the right direction."

On if he is looking forward to playing against another team:

"Yeah, I think so. To me, we're about at the end of that stretch. This was always that fan-fest that we had. Once you get through this, you start to at least see an opponent and see other colored jerseys on the film that you're watching, which is nice. It'll be good. Certainly, I don't know how much we will get — I don't expect to play a ton this preseason, but you always mentally prepare each week so that you get used to that routine."

On TE Virgil Green:

"That [connection] is growing, too. That's one position — if you think about the tight end position, obviously, [TE] Hunter [Henry] came in [2016] and, shoot, we got acclimated quickly a couple of years ago. That's one position where there hasn't been a lot of turnover [historically] and we haven't had to make many adjustments there. You've always known that [TE Antonio] Gates was going to be there for, shoot, 12-straight seasons, for me. We're working through how I like things, what I'm expecting on certain routes. He's getting a feel for this offense. He was in it similarly with [former Chargers Head Coach Mike] McCoy [in Denver]. Virgil is going to be just fine. He has played a lot of football and is a good football player. Those kind of things, you'll see more of that and more plays like that."

On TE Antonio Gates:

"I'm kind of just letting that play itself out. I don't think — for me to be hounding him — that it's to that point. Like I've always said, however it ends, it'll be fine. It will be what's meant to be. We'll see what happens."

On the receivers and defensive backs:

"I think when you look at our receiving corps as a whole and you talk about the speed that [WR] Tyrell [Williams] and [WR] Travis [Benjamin] bring, among other things, Tyrell is turning into a complete, full receiver. When you look at Mike's [Williams] size and what he brings — Keenan [Allen] with his route-running and overall, how dynamic he is. The list goes on and on. They bring a lot of everything. And then our DBs, shoot, as a whole, the pass defense was [No. 3] in the league last year, I think. It's been a lot of 'good versus good.' Like I said, they understand. We're a close team, but those DBs and wide receivers get along quite well, believe it or not, even though they compete like crazy. So, they really help each other out. Keenan tells them what he saw, why he released that way — it's a lot of that. The more 'good versus good' you have, the better off you are because you can really improve day-to-day."


On competing for a starting position:

"It's a blessing. You know, I'm out there with the best quarterback [Philip Rivers] I've ever played against. With every rep, I have to make the most of it. Being out there with older [veterans] like [S] Jaheel [Addae] and [CB] Casey Hayward, I'm really learning a lot and feeling the chemistry out there."

On his offseason preparation:

"That was number one. I trained with Jahleel Addae the entire offseason and just [wanted] to pick his brain. That was the mindset from day one."

On his focus playing safety:

"If the ball breaks, I have to get it on the ground. Get the ball on the ground and fight another down. So, the plays that come with it and the interceptions that come with it — [it's about] getting the ball on the ground and being consistent back there."

On becoming comfortable in training camp:

"Extremely comfortable. In OTAs, I was getting a lot of three-deep beaters. I was getting to see tough routes in practice, so if I ever got in the game — or in a scrimmage like today — I could be able to adjust to the routes."

On the scrimmage:

"It was great in my opinion. I felt like we put a lot of good stuff on film and felt like everyone ran to the ball well. Of course, there are going to be mistakes. This is the first scrimmage. We have young guys mixed in with the older guys. So, communicating and running to the ball was big today for us, and I felt like we did that very well."

On competing against the wide receivers:

"It's crazy. They keep you on your toes, because you have speed and deep ball threats. Like, [WR] Mike Williams. You have speed in the slot, with [WR] Travis Benjamin. You have speed on the outside with [No.] 16 [WR Tyrell Williams]. You've got confidence with [No.] 13 [WR Keenan Allen]. So, just different toolboxes for different guys. They're unique."

On the competition accelerating his learning curve:

"Yeah, for sure. You're going to go against the same professionals with just different uniforms on Sunday. So, those guys are pushing you to your limit every day and are bringing the best out of you. You have to get better when you're running with the ones [starters]."

On the importance of the first preseason game:

"It's very important. Nothing is like live reps. You can sit back and take all the mental reps you want, but actually taking your craft and putting on film — that's a different story."

On rotating between both safety positions:

"It just shows my versatility. It shows I can play both safeties, as I'm not just a strong safety. I can play both positions. Lord forbid, if we ever need to switch around then that is what I'll have to do."

On playing free safety in college:

"I played half [strong safety] and half [free safety]. I was a true man-to-man safety in college. So, I was manned up on tight ends and slots [receivers] for the majority of the game."

On being comfortable lining up against tight ends:

"Oh yeah, I can go from a tight end to a slot [receiver]. It's just what I've conditioned my body to do. I feel very comfortable."


On how practice went:

"It was good. This was the first time we could come out and put everything together. We need days like that, when you're challenged with long drives. The first drive I was out there, [it] might have been 12 or 13 plays, and that was good. I think we get what we needed to [in order to get] that real game look."

On his conditioning:

"I feel good, but with football, you can never fully prepare for a 13-play drive. It is always a challenge to keep your conditioning up to get where you need to be. I feel good, but I am not where I need to be."

On his role on defense:

"[In] base, I'm playing [defensive] end and a little bit of Leo [edge rusher], depending on the situation. On third down, they are kicking me in [interior defensive line], playing three techs [technique] and I am still sometimes playing [defensive] end. So they are moving me around, which I like"

On his diet:

"When I first got here, I was around 280. In college, I got to around 295 at one point. [I] just realized that the extra weight doesn't equal better performance. So, I chose to start eating better and I have been playing base for a couple of months and I have dropped 15 pounds since reporting [for camp] last year. So, I feel better, and for me, it was seeing guys like [DE] Joey [Bosa] and [DE] Melvin [Ingram III], who weren't 290. I thought to myself, 'Why am I 290 if I'm playing behind him?' So that is the transition I had to make, mentally."

On playing with a vegan diet:

"Calorie-wise, there isn't huge fall off. People think that if you're not eating meat, you lose a lot of calories. You can supplement those calories. I have been able to maintain [my calorie intake]. I definitely have had to eat a little bit more, but it hasn't been bad."


On the scrimmage:

"It was pretty good. I feel like the offense came out here and made some plays. I got a few opportunities to go out and make some plays. I made them, so I felt like I had a pretty good day and the offense had a pretty good day."

On catching two touchdowns:

"It felt good. During practice, you don't really get these types of opportunities. You make a play, the ball goes back to where it started. But we moved the ball. I had a few opportunities to go up and make some plays and I made them. So, I made a good impression on this scrimmage."

On playing in front of fans:

"I wanted to get out in front of them and show them that I can make some plays. They were enjoying the day. I appreciate the fans coming out and supporting us."

On what team hopes to accomplish this week before the first preseason game:

"[We want to] just continue to get better every day, continue to come out here and work. We'll continue to make some plays and do 'good versus good,' and continue to have fun. [If we do that], we'll be good for the first game."

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