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Transcript - Training Camp Day 18 (Aug. 21, 2019)

2019 TRAINING CAMP MEDIA AVAILABILITY

Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019 | Jack Hammett Sports Complex | Costa Mesa, Calif.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR KEN WHISENHUNT

On the offense:

“Whenever you do a practice like that where we have a lot of situational work, especially when you’re doing the run and they know you’re going to run, it can be hard. It’s challenging, but it’s always good. There was a lot of competition, a lot of trash-talking and a lot of people getting angry. That’s part of camp, I guess.”

On shortening periods:

“I think it’s good that we got all the way this far without that happening. I think that’s good. It’s tough, they did a good job defensively in the run, but it’s a run period. You always think about, as an offense, if you can be halfway successful in that period, you’ve accomplished a lot because then we go out to the field and we rip off three or four big runs. It’s a good give-and-take. I think it’s great the way our defense is playing. It’s a good challenge for us to go against them. It makes us all better.”

On QB Philip Rivers:

“There’s no question with Philip. We always have a great conversation about where he and what he needs to do. I think [Head] Coach [Anthony] Lynn has said it. I’m maybe just seconding that notion, that we practiced against two pretty good football teams. We got a lot of plays in against the Rams and against the Saints. I think Philip got as many reps as anybody. We feel like, from that standpoint, he has gotten a lot. We will evaluate it and see. This is the only game that he would potentially play in. We still have a couple days. The conversation is ongoing.”

On QB Cardale Jones’ progression:

“I wish I knew the answer to that because if that was the case [that I knew the answer], I would liked to have seen that two years ago. Not anything against Cardale, I’m extremely excited about the way that he’s performed in our camp. Maybe it’s just the process of growing up a little bit. He came out young. I think, maybe it’s being in the same system for a couple of years. It has been different [this year] and that’s a credit to him. He worked hard. You could see it early in the spring. It’s nice to see him perform the way that he has on the field. He did a really nice job. Historically against the Saints, we’ve really struggled in some of our protections because of the pressures that they bring. The touchdown to [WR] Andre [Patton] was outstanding. It was an outstanding handling of that and making the throw when people were coming down on him. You really like seeing those kinds of things.”

On the touchdown being a sign of development for Jones:

“Well, yes and no because on the same drive — actually, the play before that — we had a screen called that probably would have been walked in untouched and he called it the wrong way. I think, maybe, he did that so that he could throw the touchdown pass on third down. It is a process, but we’re all really happy with the way that Cardale has progressed.”

On what the team needs to see from Jones the rest of the preseason:

“You have got to sustain it. I think, a lot of times in this league that it’s a flash — a flash-in-the-pan type of thing. You want to see sustained success or sustained ability to handle what’s coming at you. He did a nice job in the Arizona game and then followed it up with another good game last week. Now going into this week, the third preseason game against a different opponent, it’s another challenge. I think you have to measure it in total. It can’t just be one game or one half. It counts, what he has done in practice, too. Once again, I’ll say that he has done a nice job.”

On preparing the running game with different backs:

“I think that the way that we do it, all of our guys are interchangeable. Even when we’ve had guys that haven’t been available for a game, we’ve kept the same style of running game. It’s going to change from week-to-week because a lot of times it’s based off who we’re playing. They all have talent, they’ve shown that. They all have versatility, that’s what we like so much about all of our backs. It’s not going to change so much as we have all these guys that can do it and we’re really excited about that.”

On WR Andre Patton:

“For our younger receivers, it’s been kind of an uneven preseason. There have been some flashes of good and some flashes of bad. You’re really waiting — I think we talked about this a couple of weeks ago, about getting to the preseason game and that being an area where you can really find out about these guys. The ones that can do it consistently are the ones that you’re going to think about having a role on your football team. He made some plays. He did a nice job. He was good in that game. Now, the challenge comes can he do it this week. That’s really how you have to evaluate it. I think the benchmark that [WR] Keenan [Allen], [WR] Mike [Williams] and [WR] Travis [Benjamin] have all set is that they can do it over the course of time. They can play multiple positions and do that no matter what the look, no matter what the defense is and move into different spots. He has shown us a small sample that he can do some good things. Let’s see if he can do it this week again.”

On what he’s looking for in the game on Saturday:

“I think we have some young players that are really fighting for a spot on the team. You always pull for these guys because you want to see them have success. That’s what I get most excited about. Even though you don’t really scheme preseason games, you try to run certain plays for certain guys to see how they’re able to respond to that. That’s exciting. You really like it. The route that Andre [Patton] caught in the game happened exactly in practice and Travis [Benjamin] had done it — I shouldn’t say exactly, it was similar, but Andre learned from that. He got in the game and it came up, he did it right and won. That’s fun. We all enjoy that. That’s what you’re looking to see in this game — see those guys have success, get better at what we’re trying to do as an offense and go from there.”

On WR Keenan Allen:

“I think that he’s had a tremendous camp. He’s in great shape, explosive and looks really good. I think that he has played really well. In practice today, he looked good again. He rolled his ankle a little bit last week and he was back out there today. I’m really excited about Keenan, where he is and the season that he is going to have.”

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS TIGHT END SEAN CULKIN

On his confidence:

 ”Just being in year three, really comfortable with the offense, the environment, the guys. You just continue to get better every year between coaching and looking at other players that have done it before you and how they’ve had success, just learning from them. It’s been cool taking it over to the field. It’s a good feeling.”

On TE Antonio Gates:

“I think with him, he’s so savvy and how to get separation on top of the routes, especially in the red zone. He’s just very unorthodox on how he does things for the tight end position. Some of it is just — you know, it’s crazy how it works. Being able to see what he does, watch film and then talking to him, having him right there next to you in the meetings. I mean that was a dream come true, for sure.”

On Head Coach Anthony Lynn cutting run period short:

“It kind of fired us up for sure. He always preaches to us the importance of running the ball. When they know we’re running the ball, everyone knows what’s about to happen. Can we beat our man and get it done? I think we kind of came out a little slow. The defense kind of got up on us a little bit, so I think he just wanted to get us fired up. We definitely reacted in a positive way.”

On blocking in short-yardage situations:

“It’s definitely more difficult for sure, but at the same time, you’ve just got to find a way to find a way. If it’s inches, a yard, your team’s relying on you as a blocker to get your man across the ball and as a runner to find a way to move the sticks.”

On TE Hunter Henry:

“He’s looked incredible. As you guys have seen, he’s healthy. It’s awesome having him back out there. He’s worked so hard. As a friend, it’s so cool to see him out there doing what he’s doing. He’s a complete tight end. You can line him up, you can run base, power, move him off the ball, you can split him out. Obviously, he’s going to be a mismatch on whoever’s guarding him. Having a guy like that is almost like a queen [in chess]. You can do everything with him. It’s fun seeing him out there and being a player for us.”

On his role in the offense:

“I think it’s whatever they need me, man. I think I’ve shown I can split out and be a mismatch in the route game and also be a rival in [pass protection], run game, move me off the ball, fullback a little bit in the slot. It’s really whatever they need me to do to make this offense work. So that’s my goal.”

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS LINEBACKER EMEKE EGBULE

On getting work with the veterans:

“It helps out a lot. You grow from it, all the calls you get as a rookie. Just going in there with all the vets and having help from them and just preparing for that has been really great for me.”

On his versatility:

“I can rush the passer. I’ve been getting reps at that and getting better at that — you can always get better. Getting better at the overall defense at my position at OTTO right now and just being able to add value to myself and do more than one thing and be on special teams. That’s good for me.”

On playing inside linebacker:

“Not here. College, yes, and then I transitioned to outside. Hopefully, I can get back to inside.”

On if he’s more comfortable at inside or outside linebacker:

“I just have to know what I’m doing and be able to do that.”

On learning from the veterans:

“Well, from [LB] Denzel [Perryman], learned just be able to hit hard. From [LB Thomas] TD [Davis Sr.] — I’ve learned a lot from both of them, just being able to know what I’m doing and play fast because when you know what you’re doing, you play fast. They both play fast all the time. TD is just speedy and knows what he’s doing. Perryman, he’s a head hunter. He knows what he’s doing also and I can learn a lot from both of them.”

On what it’s like to see healthy rookies on the field:

“I mean it’s nice to see everybody out there. It’s a great feeling to know that everybody is healthy.”

On the differences between NFL and college:

“I would say just re-learning a new system and being able to combat that — and being in a hotel throughout camp. I’ve never had to be in a hotel this long, but yeah, just adjusting to the new. Everything new to me. Just the adjustment, that’s the toughest for me.”

On the importance of preseason games:

“Oh very important because for me, nothing’s guaranteed. So the next opportunity I get, I have to make something out of it, just like I did the first two preseason games.”

On staying in the hotel:

“It’s just a hotel. It’s not your own space, but it’s cool and nice being around all the guys. Other than that, it’s a hotel”

On what he brought to the hotel to make it feel like home:

“I brought my [PlayStation 4] so I can get on HBO, Netflix, play games — play some Fortnite when I’m not busy with football. Just to get away sometimes”

On if he has seen Hard Knocks:

“No, not really. I mean I think I’ve watched some of the first episode, probably saw it on Twitter or something.”

On the benefits of preseason games:

“I will say building off of my mistakes that I made and learning from them. I wouldn’t call it failure. Learning from the mistakes I make, I feel like that helps a lot. Being able to see it and not let it happen again. Just executing it the next time and just getting a feel for what it’s like to be in an NFL game.”

On balancing expectations:

“I really focus on my expectations for myself because when I meet that, pretty sure it’ll be evened out. I have high expectations for myself. Obviously, anybody should [for themselves].”

On if NFL feels faster than college:

“I would say, at first it felt kind of fast just because I was learning it. College, it’s different. College, everybody is just tempo, nobody’s huddling. Here, teams huddle sometimes and it’s just different. I wouldn’t say it’s faster, just now that I’m getting a hold of the defense and everything, things are starting to slow down and I can play faster. 

On his first training camp:

“I didn’t expect to feel like — because when you come from college and you’re a senior and you’re the starter and everything. Once you get to this position, you’re like a freshman again and you’re just working your way up and you’re just building a resume and all that. I kind of expected it, but i didn’t expect to feel like a freshman again.”

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