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Transcript - Training Camp Day 9 (Aug. 4, 2019)

2019 TRAINING CAMP MEDIA AVAILABILITY

Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019 | Jack Hammett Sports Complex | Costa Mesa, Calif.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR KEN WHISENHUNT

On what he hopes to see from the running backs:

“Probably more of the same of what we’ve seen in camp. [it has been] of different things and they’ve run it well. It was good especially going up against the Rams because you’re going against somebody different. We had some nice runs in that practice, too. So they’re doing a good job hitting the holes, seeing the holes — I’d just like to see more of that. I think one of the things that really stands out for those guys has been the protection. Especially when we’re going into practice against our guys, it’s a blitz period and they’re really giving you multiple looks, they’ve done a nice job. To go against a different team who brought some pressure, they did a nice job of it — sorting out the protections and matching up on their techniques. It was really good.”

On the offensive line:

“There are a lot of new old guys. We’ve got some young guys that we want to see. I mean, obviously, it’s been great to see [G] Forrest Lamp get some reps in. He had good work against the Rams. Now, I think, the next step is to see how we can progress into a game. You know, it’s a little bit different. It’s a preseason game, little bit different tempo. You’re going against some good players. We do have a lot of young guys. We’ve been flipping the [offensive] tackles — you know, it’d be good to see them in-game action just to see it. We know about [T] Sam [Tevi], we know about [T] Trent [Scott]. They’ve both played for us, but it would be good to see [T] Trey [Pipkins III] — a young guy who has looked really good in practice — and some of our other guys because that’s such an important area for you. Just to get some game reps would be good.”

On T Trey Pipkins III:

“That’s kind of what you would expect from a rookie. You think about where he came from. When you talk about the level that he played on in college and where he is now — going against [DE] Joey Bosa, going against [DE] Melvin Ingram [III], some pretty good rushers — its been really good work. Now, he hasn’t been matched up on them every play. There have been times when that’s come up, but it is good. That’s what you need. That’s what you’ve got to see. You never know. The preseason games will be a great test to see if they can take that from the practice field to the game field.”

On G Forrest Lamp getting some reps at tackle:

“Well, it just depends on how everything progresses through the preseason. If you’re a guy that’s the starter, then you’re probably going to play that position. If you’re a guy that’s the sixth guy or the seventh guy, then you have to be able to play other positions. Forrest is getting a lot of work in different spots. He’s getting a number of reps with the first team and also in the rotation. He’s doing a nice job.”

On Lamp’s reps at tackle:

“Well, [T Trent Scott and T Sam Tevi] have played tackle. Forrest has been working at guard since he has gotten here.”

On Lamp’s experience at tackle in college:

“The thing that factors in from his college experience is that he’s a good football player. When you get to this level, it’s not unusual for players to play different spots. A lot of times, it’s what fits best for them. I think that’s part of the process with Forrest. First of all, he hasn’t played a lot, so he has to get comfortable at a position. He’s starting at guard, it doesn’t mean that he can’t play tackle in the future. For right now, he’s working through a number of different positions.”

On the value of joint practices:

“It’s great because, once again, it’s always good when you change up and you’re not practicing against the same guys every day. For us, offensively, if you look at their defensive line and look at the talent that they have on that line, it’s great work for us. They’re good football players. For us to be able to match up and get it on tape and see how our guys can hold up — plus the way they practice. They’re very professional about it. It was good work. I thought it was tremendous.”

On the wide receivers:

“The preseason games will be a real test. In practice, a lot of times you can get information, get corrections while it’s going on because everybody is around and people are yelling at you. When you go out there in the preseason game and you’re on the field by yourself, that’s a whole different animal. That’s the real test. The guys that can show up and make some of those plays in the preseason — the ones that can separate on their routes and know their assignments. Those are the ones that will make in-roads to playing in games and being on the team.”

On the tight ends:

“You know, those young guys — all of them — have shown flashes. That’s another thing, too, is when you get to see these guys in the game and they get in there, not being coached before the play, they don’t see the script and know what’s going on — to see how they progress. That was a position that we, obviously, felt like we wanted to have some guys progress or show up. [TE Sean] Culkin has done a nice job. I think that’s one of the things that has been a pleasant surprise. He has been in the system for a couple of years and he has done really well. We’ll see if he can continue with that. Then, we have had a couple of younger guys behind him that are doing a nice job and have flashed. It’s early. You still can’t judge it until we get into some games — probably after the first couple of games, we’ll have a better feel for that.”

On standouts during joint practice:

“I thought our receivers did a nice job early, at times — Keenan [Allen], Mike [Williams] and we got to see Travis [Benjamin]. Travis made a tremendous catch in the back of the end zone in our first practice on Thursday. I think the guys up front did a pretty good job. In the first practice against them, we had some really nice runs. That was because those guys did a good job. Obviously, I thought [QB] Philip [Rivers played well]. [QB] Tyrod [Taylor] is still learning our system a little bit, but he made some good throws in there. It’s hard to say. Everybody had some good plays. Everybody had a couple of plays that they’d like to have back. That’s what happens in those practices. I thought the running backs looked good. I’ve said pretty much the whole team, so I guess they all did pretty well.”

On the development of the team:

“I think it’s probably still early to say what you’re most happy about for the development of the team. I think it’s still a process. I think the thing that I’m most happy about, or I guess pleased to see, is the chemistry of our guys. To me, that’s what makes a team really good. We have some parts, we have some really good players, but their ability to communicate, their ability to play together — That’s what really makes them good. I think that we’re fortunate with this team because we have veterans that work really hard at helping bring along the younger guys. That really helps because remember where Mike Williams was two years ago and where he is now. That’s because of guys like Keenan, like Travis and even like [Raiders WR] Tyrell Williams, who was here, that helped progress Mike. That’s what we’re getting from the line, from the tight ends. It’s really a good atmosphere.”

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR GUS BRADLEY

Opening statement:

“If you take a look at the last couple of days, they’ve been very good days for us. Thursday, we had a good day of practice and then yesterday [too]. Just to go against somebody different. I thought that on Thursday that we played okay. We did some things. Yesterday, we came back and I think we showed a lot of illustrations on tape of where we improved. It was a good practice for us. We came out with the intensity that we were looking for in practice to improve. Now, it’s to focus on some of the corrections today. It was a good day.”

On DT Jerry Tillery:

“What we’re going off of is what we’ve seen in individual — his hands, the strength of his hands, his pass-rush moves. You can kind of get a feel, but you’re still waiting until he gets out there and does a team situation. What he can do, just talking with [Defensive Line Coach] Giff [Smith], he has been pretty impressed with [Tillery]. I think we kind of want to see it on tape now and see when he comes back and gets that opportunity.”

On if Tillery will play Thursday:

“We haven’t talked about that. I’m sure tomorrow when we get together as a staff that we’ll have a better idea where he is.”

On the linebackers:

“We’re trying to be a faster and physical group. I think that’s important. I think the physicality, you’re starting to see it with some of those guys — playing with their hands, the ability to strike and shed — what linebackers look like when you watch them, and the speed. Here’s Thomas Davis [Sr.], he had a really good day yesterday for us. He made some big plays. I give him credit. Here he is, 15 years in the league — probably has been in a few systems, but mainly one for the most part — and then coming and learning a whole new system, which is challenging, and to play fast like he’s doing. He has been impressive. He’s really a good model for all of our guys to watch [how to be] a true pro.”

On LB Thomas Davis Sr.:

“He just brings so much to our group — the leadership, the presence that he has. The more that he understands the package, I imagine that we’re going to feel him even more. Where he is right now, man, what a great acquisition for us.”

On CB Michael Davis:

“He’s doing well. He has always had the speed, but I think his technique is catching up to his speed. He’s starting to do it and having success with it, so it breeds confidence with him. He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now.”

On the linebacker rotation:

“I’m sure we’ll be rotating and trying to figure it out through preseason, just the combination of linebackers and how we’re going to use them. Last year, we had multiple personnel groupings. We’ll try to utilize their strengths, put them in position where they can get on the field. They deserve it, they play well in practice, so we’ll try to get them on the field somehow.”

On the value of joint practices:

“It’s good just because you go against our offense, they have certain plays and certain things that they do, and then to see another completely different style — I just think it’s very good. The more that you can see, we appreciate going against the Rams and Saints in the preseason. The big thing is coming out healthy when you have practices like that. Knock on wood, so far it has been good for us. We’ll continue it. I think both teams really handled the whole situation pretty well. When you can get as much out of it as we did, that’s a good thing.”

On differences between the joint practices:

“I did [notice differences]. I thought that yesterday was a little bit better, but I think probably for both sides. They’re probably saying the same thing. You get a chance to see it another time, you go up there and practice and you have little bit of an idea to expect. We’re still in our ‘rules ball’ type of mentality. We go out there and we just follow our rules and play. We’re not really in a game-plan situation. We’re testing things out and will see how they work. You just see it against different speeds for the receiver spots, running backs, the offensive line and the quarterbacks. I thought that part was a good change-up.”

On S Derwin James Jr.:

“I think there are areas, definitely, where [he can improve]. I think understanding the defense. There’s always that element that we want him to play faster. I think, with a guy like Derwin, your job is to try to get him around the ball somehow. I think we just keep learning him — what skillset he has, what he can do, what he can do well and still be effective. I think he’s still in that stage, trying some different things that we’re asking him to do.”

On James:

“I think when he’s around the ball, he makes plays. It seems like it. I think just to continue to make sure that when he’s really technically and fundamentally sound along with his talent — he plays at a high level. [Defensive Backs] Coach [Ron] Milus and [Assistant Defensive Backs Coach] Chris Harris, they do a great job with him just keeping him on those fundamental things, and then just letting his ability shine.”

On James’ maturity:

“He practiced yesterday and sometimes when there are guys out there and they’re trying to prove something, you see some late hits, some cheap hits. He really practiced like a pro. He doesn’t appear to be 23. He has kind of taken that step, too. We just continue to watch him grow every day. He has a lot of humility. After practice, he said, ‘I messed up on a couple of things that I have to get right.’ We always say what are the three most dangerous words — ‘I got it.’ He doesn’t believe that. He never ‘has’ it. When you have someone like that who identifies their weaknesses, they have a chance to get even better.”

On what he looks at in each practice:

“Just their mentality and how they go about it. Any challenge that you put in front of them, you know they’re going to take that to heart, come on the field and try to take it to another level. If they’re not doing it, we probably didn’t present the challenge enough for them. They’re self-motivated and they work at their craft, but putting objectives out for every practice that we can accomplish — they’re a team that is really focused at doing that. Just to come out to practice and see that development each day — right now, they’re really focused on just improvement.”

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS DEFENSIVE TACKLE JUSTIN JONES

On the difference between last year and this year:

“Last year I came in OTAs at 316 [pounds]. In college, you’ve got to be the biggest guy on the field, one of the fastest guys on the field. In the NFL, you know it’s just about being fast and how fast you can get to the ball? How fast can you get the technique done and make the plays you want to make. So for me, the biggest change is that I stopped eating beef, I stopped eating pork. I started eating a lot better, eating a lot of vegetables. I started working out differently. I dropped like 20 pounds. So now I’m out here playing like 290, 295. It’s a big difference. I feel great. I feel really good and it’s showing up in my play. I’m really comfortable. I’ve learned the playbook and I know what my job is on the defense and my part on the defensive line. I feel like I’m coming on really well.”

On his progression this season:

“I started in the playoffs. [The team] allowing me to do that just showed that they have faith in me. For that, taking that role leading into my offseason, I was like, ‘Okay, now I know I can take that next step and become that player they know I can be.’ That was my goal this offseason, to become the player that they know I can be and I know I can be. That was my motivation this offseason.”

On his workout routine: 

“I boxed maybe a month-and-a-half to two months. Trust me, it was really hard. It was fun though. Definitely a change-up, working on stamina, working on your faster hands and stuff like that. Just learning a new sport in general, that was the best part about it. I never knew that I’d like boxing. Boxing is actually pretty interesting, especially when you know how to do it.”

On what he eats during training camp:

“Well, so, [it depends] on what kind of practice we have. If it’s like a shell practice like today, I’ll eat like pineapples and watermelon in the morning. I’m not a morning guy, but I’ve still got to eat something. If we have pads in the morning, I’ll get some eggs, hash browns or whatever and I’ll call it a day. After practice, I’ll rotate days between chicken and fish. I’ll get some turkey, stuff like that. I had a Beyond Burger the other day. Amazing. Crazy. It tastes like a burger, but you’re not full and sluggish like you ate a burger. So that was pretty cool. A salmon burger, that’s pretty good, too. There are a lot of alternatives out there if you look for it. There’s a lot of good food out there that you can eat that’s actually good for you.”

On DT Jerry Tillery: 

“Jerry’s a smart player. He’s picking up things really, really quick. For him, the biggest thing I told him, ‘The faster you pick up the playbook and the faster it’ll become second nature, the better player you’ll be and the better player you’ll be early on in your career.’ Once you can align yourself up without even thinking about it and you’re spending your time thinking about what they’re going to do and how they’re going to attack you rather than what you have to do, it’ll open up the game so much for you. That’s what it started to do for me. As a second-year player, being able to give him that knowledge right there, I feel like was priceless.”

On NT Brandon Mebane:

“Brandon has taught me a lot. Tough love, all that. He’s a great guy and just having him in the room another year — who knows the kind of player I’ll be in year three? With him, I take it day-by-day. Whatever he says, I listen to because obviously I’m trying to be where he is. I’m trying to do what he’s done. I’m just trying to be the guy that he was and better. For him, it’s just a test to his work ethic. I see that. So when I come to practice, I know I need to work just as hard or harder than Brandon Mebane because at the same time, he got to where he’s at because of his hard work. I want to be there.”

On motivating each other: 

“I mean, I haven’t done anything yet. I guess the biggest thing for me is to keep my head down and keep working. Like I said, I’m coming to work knowing he’s going to work hard, he’s coming to work knowing I’m going to work hard. We’ll just see where we can take this season.”

On the preseason: 

“Preseason is important. You’re going against different players. Training camp, fall camp in college you’re going against the same players throughout the month. I’m not saying it gets boring but you’re like, ‘I want something different.’ I feel like that’s where preseason comes into play, where joint practices come into play. You’re seeing different things, you’re reacting to different things, you move differently. The tempo is different — sometimes it’s slow, sometimes it’s fast. Sometimes you’re going against a really big guy, sometimes you’re going against a really quick guy. The fact that you switch between those teams throughout the preseason and get adjusted and know how you’re going to play those blocks on the fly, that’ll make you a better player in the long run. That’s what I believe.”

On if the joint practices feel like preseason games:

“If you look at it that way, it can seem that way, but if you just take it as we’re going to practice and what do you practice for? You practice to become a better player, you practice to work on something. If you go out to the joint practice and say, ‘I’m going to work on something,’ it doesn’t seem like a game. Yeah at the end of it, it feels like I played 50 reps, but at the end of the day, with those 50 reps, you accomplished what you wanted to that day. So that’s how I kind of how I see it.”

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