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Transcript - Training Camp (July 30, 2018)

Monday, July 30, 2018 | Jack Hammett Sports Complex | Costa Mesa, Calif.


Opening Statement:

"Today was the first day of padded practice. I don't think we had any injuries on the field. We cut back just a little bit. Guys haven't been in pads since December 31st I believe, so we cut back a little bit, and I think it paid off. Guys looked pretty sharp, and like I said, no injuries. That's always a plus on the first day of pads."

On WR Travis Benjamin:

"Travis is doing fine. He'll probably be out running around doing a little bit more tomorrow. He may be in a red jersey just so the guys don't make any contact with him."

On Benjamin's injury:

"Just a sore shoulder. Made one hell of a catch and fell down."

On the run defense:

"I was pleased with the run defense today. Our run defense usually on that first, second, or third help pass are always ahead of the offense because you go all offseason passing the ball. You never get a chance running the ball until you get to training camp, so offense has some catching up to do in that area, but I was pleased with the run defense."

On if the defensive guys were excited to be able to make contact today:

"No doubt. There was a lot of excitement. That's kind of why you have to hold them back a little bit because you don't want the excitement to go too far, but I thought they handled that very well today."

On who stood out on defense:

"Those young guys. I expect so much from our veteran guys. It's hard for them to jump out to me because there's some pretty good players over there. Some of those young guys, I thought did a good job. [LB] Kyzir [White], he's been impressive since day one, and even [DL] Justin [Jones] in the pass rush. I thought he controlled a little something inside, so we'll see."

On S Derwin James:

"He could have played day one, but we're trying to be careful with him because when you have those soft tissue injuries, you don't want to come back too soon because then it lingers all camp and maybe during the season. He's doing good."

On K Caleb Sturgis and K Roberto Aguayo:

"We brought in a veteran kicker [Sturgis], and so we brought him in to be our kicker. We also brought Roberto [Aguayo] in to compete with him, and you never know how that's going to turn out. Roberto has been kicking outstanding this whole offseason, but we'll see."

On placing emphasis on a kicker's performance in a game situation versus practice:

"Absolutely. In practice, you can try to [simulate] game situations, but it's just not the real deal. When you get them underneath the lights and in the stadium, then you can tell."

On WR Nelson Spruce:

"He's doing fine. He's in a deep receiver group right now, but he's holding his own, and you can see his natural ball skills. I think he's going to compete. Special teams will be big for him, I can tell you that."

On RB Justin Jackson:

"That guy has eyes on the side of his head. He has really good instincts, and there's no wonder he has so many yards over his career because he can find the soft spot in a defense, and I like that about him. I think he can win his one-on-ones. We'll see though."

On transitioning safeties to linebacker:

"With that Will linebacker position and in our defensive scheme, we would like to have an athletic Will. We have one in J.B. [LB Jatavis Brown], and [LB] Kyzir [White] just adds to that depth."

On S Rayshawn Jenkins:

"He's been steady. He's doing a good job in the back end at free safety, but we're rotating a lot of guys back there. You'll see [Derwin] James back there. You'll see [CB] Desmond King back there. You'll see [S Jaylen] Watkins back there. We're just looking at a lot of guys at free safety right now."

On DL Justin Jones:

"He's very athletic. He has a plethora of pass rush moves. So far, so good."

On TE Virgil Green being known for blocking:

"It's very rare because college really doesn't produce blocking tight ends anymore, so you have to just get a guy and train them to get them to do that because we don't play the college game. He's doing an excellent job blocking and receiving. Don't sleep on his receiving because he can catch the ball. As a matter of fact, he caught a seam route right in front of me on the sidelines, so I know he can catch."

On the tight ends:

"They're all working hard. Sean Culkin, he's working hard. He's pretty consistent. Maybe of one the most consistent [guys] right now. [He's] in the system for a second season. [Braedon] Bowman, he's more of a receiving threat tight end. We have to get him in there and see what he can do in the blocking game, but they're all competing well.

On the perks of having a tight end the can block and receive:

"No doubt because you can cheat some protections. You can slide to people's dominant pass rushers and sometimes you can leave him one-on-one with a defensive end, which is rare.


On the first day in pads:

"It was a lot of guys flying around and a lot of contact today. All offseason, OTAs and first two days of camp are just shorts and tee shirts, so you know football is different. We have to get used to carrying the pads again and getting that physical side of things going, but all in all it was good."

On WR Mike Williams:

"He's big, physical, fast and looks healthy. Last year, he battled injury, but now he looks healthy and fluid. He looks good. We're just going to continue to work. We have to continue to compete with him, press him and bring the best out of him.

On his history playing multiple positions:

"My whole life I played running back actually. I switched to safety my redshirt freshman year in college, so this is probably my tenth year playing the position [in my life]."

On college safeties transitioning to linebackers in the NFL:

"I can see how it is because safeties also play in the box, they're physical and its similar to what linebackers do. But then we have the athletic linebackers where they're not really safeties or linebackers, they're just athletes. When you have guys like [Chiefs TE] Travis Kelce or [Patriots TE Rob] Gronk [Gronkowski], you need athletic linebackers coming downhill to fill the gaps on the run, but [have the ability] to jump back when it's a pass and play man-to-man.


On wearing pads:

"The first day of pads is always a fun day, trying to get back to playing low and get back to hitting somebody. I felt like we had a really good day as a football team on both sides of the football. We can only get better from here."

On his relationship with QB Philip Rivers:

"I think it's awesome. We've been working hand-in-hand this whole time since OTAs started. He's an awesome guy to work with. Each and every day, he comes in with the right mindset. He's a very smart football player. He sets the front for us on each and every play. [I'm] just excited to play with a quarterback like that."

On what he likes about Rivers:

"I just like that he knows everything that's going on in each and every play. When we go up, he's the guy that points out theMike [linebacker]. He knows when blitzes are coming, so he puts us in the right protections and he gets in and out of plays when there are bad looks there. And we don't want to run that play, he'll switch the play. But it's awesome to have a guy that's going to be a Hall of Fame guy when he's done playing and I'm just excited to be out here playing with him."

On the defensive line:

"These guys are awesome. I've competed against these guys a long time in the league, just playing against them throughout the years. Just coming out and seeing the way they do it in practice, you see why they're so good in football games because of the way they practice. [NT Brandon] Mebane is a great nose guard. He gives me a tough time throughout practice. To have [DT] Corey [Liuget], [DL Darius] Philon and then when [DE] Joey [Bosa] and [DE] Melvin [Ingram III] get going, I believe our defense is going to be a really good football team."

On if Rivers' flexibility:

"I mean, whatever Philip says, that's what goes. He's the leader of our football team. Whatever he calls out there, that's what we're going to roll with."

On working with a veteran quarterback:

"It's awesome. Like I said before, he's a great quarterback. He's proven to be a really good football player in this league and to be able to play with him, I don't take it for granted. I feel like this is something that I kind of lucked up into and I'm going to take full advantage of it."

On working with the backup quarterbacks:

"We work with all three of them [Cardale Jones, Nic Shimonek and Geno Smith]. We work with all the guys. I think all of them do a really good job. I'm not the guy that says who's the backup or not, but I think the guys that are competing for it are doing a really good job."

On joining the team:

"[It] just lit that fire again in me. I never thought I'd play with anybody but the [Miami] Dolphins, but once they released me, it made me want to be an even better football player. It made me want to prove everybody wrong. I'm excited to be here. I can't wait to help this run game out, help this football team do something special."

On if he wants to win more as he gets older:

"Every year in the league, I've always wanted to win. That's the goal every year you go into training camp, to try to win something and win the Super Bowl. For me now, at this point in my career, I'm excited to be on a football team that has a chance. This football team's a really good football team. We finished in the top of the league in the offense last year and our defense is unbelievable, so I feel like with me coming here, it can only help the football team."


On his first training camp:

"It has been pretty good. Coming out day one not being able to participate last year [and now] being able to come out here and showcase my talents has been good."

On adjusting to full pads:

"It is the same for us. We are still out there running around and having fun. It is pretty much the same, just add pads and a little more intensity to it."

On his main focus during the offseason:

"Chemistry with the quarterbacks that is the main thing. Go out there and get the routes down, get the chemistry going with all quarterbacks. Any particular time, any quarterback can be in the game. Getting the timing down with all of the quarterbacks is probably the main thing."

On his confidence:

"Confidence comes with making plays. Playing football, I have made a lot of plays [in my life]. I just have to come out here every day and continue to make plays. The confidence will come from that."

On missing last year:

"It was kind of fast, but now that I'm in the groove, it has slowed down a lot. I'm just [coming] out here, having fun and making plays."

On lessons learned from last season:

"How to run routes. [It's great] seeing how [WR] Keenan [Allen] runs his routes. He sets defenders up so well. It is just good for me to come out here, learn from a guy like him and take a lot from his game."

On his offseason training program:

"I was running and lifting every day. I was doing yoga. I was always able to run, lift and do all of those things."

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