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Transcripts from Wednesday's press conferences

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning
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    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    Transcripts from San Diego Chargers
    Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2008

    Head Coach Norv Turner

    “It’s been 14 games ago, you’ve seen guys and the way they’ve grown and gotten better. I don’t think Denver is giving up as many big plays on defense as they did the first time we played them. They’ve got guys who have been together and played together, they’re playing better team defense and offensively they’re first or second in the league in a number of categories. They’re explosive and they’re skilled guys play with great confidence and they’re explosive players.”

    Is your team peaking?
    “Well we played extremely well against Tampa on Sunday so I think if you’re peaking, you have to do that two weeks in a row so hopefully we’ll do it Sunday night and then we’ll start talking about that.”

    What did you learn about this team after the last few weeks?
    “I think it goes back a lot further than that. We’ve had ups and downs all year and we’ve had a lot of different scenarios in terms of winning or losing close games. You asked me what I learned and I learned it last year as we went through the season and I think that experience helps you keep competing and going and making plays. Obviously the key game for us was the Kansas City game, coming back with 4:50 left being down by two scores and finding a way to win that game.”

    On the call that Hochuli made in Week 2:
    “I don’t even get involved in it because I had been involved with a number of those on different stops in my career and as I said, once it happens it’s gone and you can’t ever get it back. We’re fortunate to be in the position that we’re in and it’s going to be a heck of a game. They’re an extremely explosive team. They’ve got very good athletes in all three phases and we’re going to have to play our best.”

    Is that easier said than done, letting go of something like that?
    “Yes, I mean, if you believed me when I said that I could sell you some other things. You can’t let it go, but you have to. You have to put it behind you and you can’t let it effect what you’re doing in the future.”

    Is this defense better prepared to handle Brandon Marshall the second time around?
    “Well, we played better in the second half against their offense. Obviously the first half was really, really a struggle up there. You have to understand that those guys are awfully good and they are going to make plays. We have to contain them and if they make a big play we have to line up the next play and make sure they don’t get two in a row. They’ve made big plays in every game they’ve played so you’re not going to shut any of those guys down we just need to tame the best we can. I think tackling is going to be a big key for us as well as getting a lot of guys the ball and hopefully being able to create some turnovers.”


    Quarterback Philip Rivers

    Are there some hard feelings between you and Jay Cutler?
    “No, there really isn’t. It got a lot of attention about a year ago actually, but there’s really nothing there.”

    What’s different about the Broncos from the team you faced in Week 2?
    “Obviously they’ve had a lot of unfortunate injuries so you see a lot of different guys in the lineup. They’ve haven’t had the same 11 on the field for a long period of time. Other than that, they’re playing a lot of the same stuff. It comes down to one game, so you’ve got to prepare for anything.”

    Why do you think the rivalry between you and Cutler has drawn so much attention?
    “It’s exciting. First off, Chargers-Broncos (game) is exciting every year, especially the last couple. We’ve been battling for the division. You’re always looking for match-ups to throw things in the mix but I know one thing and I know Jay feels the same way: we’re not playing one another out there. We’ve both got tough defenses to worry about and we’re trying to help both of our teams advance into the playoffs.”

    What did you ask for for Christmas?
    “Nothing. I’ve felt like I’ve just about got everything. I feel fortunate. I don’t really have a lot of wants and needs. It’s about the kids at this point.”

    What was your favorite gift you received as a child?
    “I have a lot. You obviously always remember a bicycle I guess you got. For me, probably my favorite was I had a basketball court in the back that got paved and painted the lines on it and everything. That was probably the one that sticks out the most.”

    Is this team peaking at the right time?
    “I hope so. Again, I think we’ve played good sporadically all year long. We lost a lot of close games. I don’t think we’ve been that far off, I don’t think we’re all of the sudden there. We’re still sitting at 7-8 and have battled and won three in a row. Hopefully we’re going to continue to play better and we’ll have a chance to play better into January.”

    Has it been hard to get over the Ed Hochuli call in the Week 2 game?
    “Somewhat, but you’ve got to move on to the game next week. I think as players, thinking back to how we handled it, we can really only worry about what we could have controlled differently. There’s plays obviously as you watch that tape, individually and collectively we could have done differently that would have not caused it to come down to a call. I know much has been made about it. I’ve heard a lot about it this week. I don’t really think it’s in anybody’s minds at this point. We’re just excited to have the opportunity. We’ve got one game to win the division.”

    Do you think you feel differently about it because now it does matter?
    “Honestly, the fact that it was in Week 2, it was so long ago, we’ve had so many tough losses and close games and opportunities to get it turned around, I really don’t think anybody hung their hat on that one game and tried to blame a season on that one game. We fought and scratched and battled and got to the point we are now to give ourselves a chance.”

    What have you learned about this team in the last three weeks?
    “I think going back three weeks, remembering some of the things we were talking about here was, ‘We’ll find out.’ We talk about what a close-knit group we’ve got, a high character group with good leadership and a good group of guys. It’s easy when it’s 14-2 and you win (six) in a row last year to finish the season. That’s when it’s easy to be a good teammate and all those things, but we really got tested this year. I think all we did was prove to ourselves and hopefully to a lot people that we are who we thought we were. Now all we’ve done is put ourselves in a position. We haven’t done anything. The one thing we’ve got to understand is we’ve done nothing. We’re still 7-8. We just now have been given an opportunity to go accomplish what we set out to early in the year.”

    What does it say about a division when a 7-8 team and an 8-7 team are playing for a playoff spot?
    “I don’t know. It says the two things at the top have been inconsistent really. Denver has lost some tough games as well as we have. We’ve won some big games. You hear about how not very good the AFC West is but yet we’ve beat a lot of teams in some other conferences that are at the top of their divisions as well. You think back to New England and the Jets and some of those teams that we’ve played and won. I know it’s two teams that are capable, that’s for sure. It’ll be exciting, two teams that obviously are good enough to win the division because we’re in the position. Regardless of record I think it’s clear that we are the two best teams in the division, right there at the top and it’s good that it’s going to get to come down to being decided out there on the field.”

    Are the Broncos now a bigger rival for the Chargers than the Raiders?
    “It’s probably that way anyway. That’s no slight to Oakland, but the past couple of years, even though some of the games have been close, we’ve beat Oakland pretty consistently. Denver, it’s always a tough game every year. It seems every year us and them are going to be battling for a division. It’s turned into a good rival and it will continue to be one. There are a lot of young players on that team. They’ve struggled with injuries. They’re only going to get better in time and we feel like we’re a team that’s continuing to grow, that’s going to be hopefully battling for a division every year. I think there will be nothing but more and more exciting games and matchups with these two teams just like it will be here on Sunday.


    Linebacker Stephen Cooper

    Can you tell us about the bad blood between the two teams? Has it intensified over the last couple weeks?
    “Yes, it has intensified but that’s because they’re an AFC West opponent. We’ve been battling the last couple years in who is going to win the AFC West and it’s been a battle between us and Denver and that’s why it’s become a rivalry game. ”

    Do you think there is more of a rivalry with them than the Raiders?
    “People build it up to be like that because they have a great quarterback and we have a great quarterback. At the end of the day, it’s 11 guys going out there trying to do a great job and win the AFC West.”

    What’s different about this Denver team?
    “Well, they’re not playing at high level right now but it’s for the title. It’s to go in the playoffs. Jake Cutler is one of the best in the league. He’s going into the Pro Bowl. Brandon Marshall is one of the premier wide receivers. We’re going to go out there as a defense and prevent them from scoring. Our offense can put up points but we have to do a great job in all three aspects.”

    On if the team is on a roll:
    “I think so. I think we’re playing well. We finally put together a whole game on special teams, offense and defense. We put up 41 points. We prevented them from scoring and we did a good job on special teams. If we can carry that over, I think we will be successful.”

    What do you have to do as a defense to help ?
    “We have to play physical. We have to go out there and stop the game like we did in Tampa. Our offense gets seven points and our defense gets a three and out. We have to control the field position with our special teams.”

    On your play:
    “It has a lot to do with our defensive coordinator putting me in good position. Guys like Shaun Phillips and Antoine Applewhite getting to the quarterback. Three of my interceptions came off pressure from them. A lot of guys have been talking about that all year long to get pressure on the quarterback. We’ve been doing that as of late.”

    What are you asking for Christmas?
    “A win over Denver.”

    As kid, what was a memorable gift?
    “My first bike when I was seven years old. I remember seeing my mom bringing into the house about midnight and she said it was from Santa Claus. I believed it. I know Santa Claus is coming again and I hope he brings me a victory.”
  2. Johnny Lightning
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    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    What have you learned about this team?
    “You never give up. The guys stuck together the whole time and we play with a lot of confidence as you could see in Kansas City. We almost let one get away especially going to Arrowhead and playing in that environment. It’s tough. I think we did a good job as a team. Our offense did a good job of getting 14 points in the last four minutes.”

    On LT’s talk after the Atlanta loss:
    “When ever LT opens his mouth, it always gets our attention. He doesn’t really open up his mouth too much. He lets his play speak for himself. When LT speaks, we have to listen because he’s a leader of our team. He came in at the end of that game and he said ‘Guys we’re going to turn it around. We’re not going to give up.’ That’s what we’re doing.”

    On how Ron Rivera has affected the defense:
    “He’s doing a great job making it simple. He’s letting us go out there and play defense. We’re not worrying about checking out defenses. We’re just going out there and making plays.”


    Running Back LaDainian Tomlinson

    Why aren’t you wearing any TCU clothing?
    “We act like we’ve been there before (laughing).”

    How exciting was it to watch the Poinsettia Bowl?
    “It was pretty exciting to watch, especially with how big of a game everybody was talking about it being. It was a big game because of the hype of the game, Boise being undefeated, everybody talking about they possibly could have been in a BCS game. TCU could have been in a BCS game. It was a big game and we knew we had a lot to prove and wanted to give Boise State their first loss. It was a great win and I was happy to be there.”

    Were you the honorary coach for TCU?
    “I guess it’s a tradition now, when they come out here they always put my locker up in the coaches’ locker room. I would rather be in the players’ locker room, but the coaches’ locker room is good enough. Since I was an honorary coach, I did say something to the team before the game, so I would like to say my talk helped them out.”

    What’s different about Denver now from the team you faced in Week 2?
    “They’ve had a couple of injury problems obviously on defense. Some of their key guys have been out in the middle part of the season, but I think they’re getting back to being that team that we saw early in the year. It looks like the guys are getting back healthy. They’re going to be a tough team no matter what everybody thinks. Losing two straight, that doesn’t matter. They know they need to win one game so they’re going to come here ready to play.”

    Do you think the Chargers are peaking at the right time?
    “I think so. I really think we are peaking. We had talked about playing our best football at the end of December into January. It seems like we’re doing that.”

    When you went to Denver in Week 2 you were battling the toe injury. How much different do you feel this time around?
    “Let’s see…this is Week 17, that was Week 2; about 15 weeks better. I’m not worn down at all to be honest with you. I don’t know where my carries are. I don’t know if I have 300 carries yet, but last week I felt good. This week I feel good. I think by me feeling good right now at this time of the season, it’s perfect, especially if we win this game and get into the playoffs.”

    How much different do you feel than at this time last year?
    “Last year at this time I was still healthy. It was the playoff game where I hurt my knee. If things continue to go like they’ve been, pretty much stay healthy, I like our chances.”

    As well as you know the Broncos, what do you look for when you watch film?
    “I look at any new blitzes that they may be putting in, anything that they may try to do to kind of mix it up a little bit. That’s the thing to me that over the years their defense has been real good at, bringing corners, catching you at different times in the game to cause game-changing plays on defense, coming up with stops when they need to. I like to look at the blitzes to make sure that I’m in tune with everything they might try to do.”

    Do you think of yourself in more of a blocking mode when Denver is on the schedule?
    “No, I wouldn’t say a blocking mode. I’d just say aware. You have to make sure you’re aware of what’s going on because with some teams you don’t really have to be aware of them blitzing and the things that they’re doing. With this team, because they have so many people in the box a lot of times, you’ve got to really pay attention to where the safeties are, where the corners are lined up, where the linebackers are because if they do happen to blitz somebody, you don’t know where it’s coming from because they all are up along the line of scrimmage.”

    Have you come to the point where you now think of Denver as your main rival rather than the Raiders?
    “In terms of winning and losing games and not really dominating the series like we have with Oakland, yeah I think it would be fair to say that this is much more of a rivalry. That comes with you beating them sometimes, they beat you and you go back and forth.”

    Is there as much bad blood and extra curricular stuff between these two teams as some of the others?
    “There is kind of a little extra activity that goes on out there. I’m pretty sure there will be a lot of that going on this weekend with so much on the line and two teams that really don’t care for each other.”

    In the long run, is it fair to say that the increased emphasis on the pass has been better for you?
    “I wouldn’t say that.”

    How do you deal with it?
    “It’s part of my job to make sure that I do everything possible to help this team win and if that’s doing more in the passing game then so be it.”

    After the loss to Atlanta, you addressed the team in the locker room. What motivated you to do that?
    “I don’t know. It was something on my heart to say something to the team because at that time it looked like we were pretty much done. When that happens, I’ve been on a team before where they have tanked. They’ll say, ‘The season is over and we don’t really have anything to play for.’ At that point it was all about not quitting and staying with it, finishing strong and being prideful about finishing our work, finishing the season strong. That’s basically what it was about.”

    That’s not something you do that often, is it?
    “To me, I’m not going to get up in front of the team and talk a lot. I don’t want to do that, I don’t want to be that way. Also I think it gets kind of fake when guys hear you saying something all the time. They kind of get tired of you talking all the time. I feel like when I really need to say something, then I’ll really say something.”

    What did you learn about this group in the last three weeks?
    “It was stuff I already knew about them. This team is a never-say-die-attitude type team. It’s a really unique team from that standpoint of always believing that they’re still in it no matter how far we’re down or how many games out of first place we may be. This team to me has a knack for staying focused and really continuing to play football.”

    What are your thoughts on the Buffalo Bills?
    “God bless them.”

    Did you exchange text messages with any of their guys?
    “No. I would have if Aaron Schobel had played. I don’t know if he played or not, but that’s the guy I know well. In my mind I wanted to but I just kind of forgot about it and got to thinking about that TCU game.”

    What do you want for Christmas?
    “A win. That’s what I’m asking for. I’ve got everything I need and want except for a win on Sunday. We (TCU) beat the (Boise State) Broncos last night. It would be good to beat the Broncos on Sunday.”

    What’s your most memorable Christmas gift you’ve ever received?
    “My most memorable gift was a banana seat bicycle with the long seat. That was the first bike I had and that bike gave me a lot of trouble. It put knots on my head from running into trees and stop signs and stuff. It was my first bike and I remember it.”

    Do you think Ed Hochuli is glad that this game means something?
    “I think he’d rather be part of it, refereeing in it. But no, I think Ed, I really believe that he’s probably happy that this is a game that’s going to mean something, that whatever happened at the beginning of the year, it doesn’t mean anything now. I really believe that’s the way he feels.”

    No you guys feel that way as well, you have a chance to erase that moment?
    “Absolutely. We can’t sit here and blame Ed for that call because right now it doesn’t mean anything. We have the opportunity to make that go away and really for people to forget about it. That’s our focus.”

    Can you talk about the buzz in San Diego right now surrounding the Chargers?
    “It’s extremely exciting right now around town. At the toy drive I had yesterday, I can’t tell you how many people were talking about this game on Sunday and looking forward to it. People are really excited and I’m happy we’ve got that fever back here in San Diego. I think that’s the way it should be around here. It’s a great sports town and hopefully we can keep that going.”

    Do you feel you take more cheap shots against the Broncos than against other teams?
    “I take a fair amount of cheap shots against them and probably a couple of other guys, too. That goes right along with the chippy-ness and the extracurricular activity stuff that goes on. If that’s the way they’re going to be then we’re going to get our guys to do the same thing. That’s just the way it’s going to work.”

    Is that different from other teams you’ve played?
    “Yes. Absolutely.”

    Stephen Cooper just said there’s no animosity. You disagree?
    “Yeah, he’s being nice.”

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