Take a look at what Dolphins Head Coach Mike McDaniel, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and others said about the Bolts ahead of their Week 14 matchup:
Head Coach Mike McDaniel
On Chargers QB Justin Herbert's arm and challenges he presents:
"To answer your question, he does have an arm. I think, I believe two of them. (laughter) And it is strong. I'm not sure how much he can curl, but he can throw the ball far. And I did not meet him that particular year. I didn't get a chance, but I saw his college tape. And obviously, I've seen a lot that he can do on the NFL stage. And it keeps you honest as a defense. In the same realm as Josh Allen, if you don't have your appropriate rush lanes or you drop a coverage, he can make you pay on any part of the field. And your job is to make him execute within the confines of a traditional timing and you just have to be a little more responsible in your rush lanes because he'll make you pay or break the pocket to extend. So great challenge because he's the type of player that you play down the stretch and in elimination games that you don't have any choice but to do your best to make sure that he doesn't beat you by himself and make sure that you force the receivers and all the eligibles to get open in the regular timing of the play and you force or you allow coverage to work for the pass rush as well or coverage is tight so that he has to try to extend plays and you're consistent and your rush lane integrity is strong. So a very, very good player. A challenging player that our guys will be up for and excited for test."
Check out the best photos of the Chargers Thursday practice at Hoag Performance Center
Offensive Coordinator Frank Smith
On being back in LA after being run game coordinator and offensive line coach in 2021:
"Yeah, I love LA, man. I loved living here in Newport Beach, California. It was awesome. I was fortunate enough – Brandon (Staley) is a good friend, so is Joe (Lombardi). Very fortunate for my time there. As far as my input on stuff, I may have familiarity with the scheme and stuff like that but there's a lot of new players. So I don't know as far as my impact. It's just certain conversations I'm going to have. But overall, what we were doing last year and what they're doing this year, obviously there's some differences. So, ultimately we just have to line up and play and execute our fundamentals and techniques."
On what surprised him about Herbert in his time with the Chargers:
"Man, what surprised me about Justin? How competitive he is. So he's extremely competitive. He's one of those guys that I think whatever you do, he's trying to win because he's kind of – I wouldn't say quiet but he listens very well. So when his competitive side comes out, that was something really cool to be a part of. You get to see like when the game is on the line and how he focuses and how he's really trying to compete with his teammates. That was awesome. But what a great guy. Just fortunate to spend a year and really get to know him."
On an example of Herbert being competitive:
"Oh, just, I mean, when I raced him one time, he had to beat me. (laughter) No, I'm not racing him. He's fast. No, it's just overall like with him, just you can see his attention to detail in a walkthrough. When we were in two-minute drills, you could see he wanted to always be on it because he's always trying to learn. Just everything with him. And I heard with his teammates, he's extremely competitive, too. Just overall, he has that focus. You could just see it in his eyes when he's in that moment and that's what I enjoyed about him. But I mean, the great thing is, is that Tua has that same competitiveness, Drew (Brees) had that same competitiveness, so it's like you look at these great quarterbacks; you'd say that's kind of a common trait of them all because they just don't want to win. They want to be on all their details and make sure they can play their best all the time. I think that transcends into the rest of their life and they play cards and are trying to win."
Defensive Coordinator Josh Boyer
On how Herbert compares to their first meeting in 2020:
"The first time that we played him, he was throwing the ball quite a bit before we saw him, and I think they took a little bit more conservative approach, I would say. These guys are throwing the ball quite a bit. He's definitely getting the ball down the field. He has an extremely strong arm. I mean, he really can put the ball with pretty good accuracy on the receivers at all three levels. He makes quick decisions. (Austin) Ekeler is a phenomenal player. He's probably, in my opinion, a guy that doesn't get talked about enough. Obviously he's up there in the league stats as far as yards after catch. They targeted him a lot in the pass game. They use him a lot in the run game. He's got great contact balance. He does a phenomenal job. He's going to fight for yards and he's elusive in space. So we're going to have our hands full. And back to Herbert, he does a good job with their guys down the field. And if there's space with Ekeler, that becomes a problem too. So we're going to have our hands full defending all short, intermediate and deep parts of the field this week."
On how difficult Herbert is to take down:
"He's obviously a big guy. He's got a strong arm. He can feel and see the pocket when rush lanes aren't what they need to be. And sometimes he'll scramble to run. He's doing, I would say, he's taking less hits when he runs. He's getting down when somebody gets in the area. But he's very good at reading. Like, if you're rush lanes are egregious, he's going to make you pay on them, for sure."
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa
On if he and Herbert have relationship given they were drafted back to back picks:
"I would say I haven't communicated with Justin (Herbert). I never really knew him on a personal level. I knew of him in college. I mean, he's been a baller, and then you also look at his career thus far in the NFL and he continues to do really great things. He's a great player. You can't say anything bad about this guy. He's good. He can run, he can throw, he can throw on the run. I mean, he can do a lot of things and it's pretty remarkable. I have nothing but respect for him and his game too."
The Chargers Impact Fund and Pepsi teamed up to sponsor the renovation of the dining hall at U.S. Vets – Long Beach. The renovation included a new coat of paint, new food pantry shelves, storage cabinets, tables, chairs and a reception desk. Chargers' Salute to Service Award nominee and DE, Morgan Fox, and OT, Austen Pleasants, joined for a special ribbon cutting ceremony for the re-opening of the dining hall.
Linebacker Jaelen Phillips
On how hard it is to get Herbert down:
"Yeah, I think that, Justin's (Herbert) a really athletic guy. Crazy strong arm and he has kind of deceptive speed, too, especially once he gets out into the open field. He's 6'5, so he's really got the stride. So it's going to be important for us to keep our rush lane integrity and rush as a team and really like I said, play complementary football. I think there's so many layers to complementary football. It's not just about the offense and the defense and the special teams being complementary; but it's also the linebackers and the d-line playing complementary, the d-line and the back end playing complementary and even within the rush, the four of us or five of us if it's rushing, like we all have to be on the same page. And so I think it's going to be important to do that. But yeah, like I said, he's extremely talented so it's going to be a fun one."
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