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CHARGERS: A Lot of Confidence in Philip Rivers

Posted Dec 19, 2012

Transcripts of conference calls from San Diego's Norv Turner and Antonio Gates with Jets beat reporters Wednesday afternoon:

CHARGERS HEAD COACH NORV TURNER

On the last couple of weeks…

We played well in Pittsburgh and obviously it was an important game to them. I thought our guys handled being on the road and playing against a good team. I thought we played a complete game in all three phases, so I thought that was good. Last week we did not. I thought Carolina played awfully well. We had a tough time with some of the matchups, particularly with some of the situations we had with the offensive line. We had a lot of backups to backups playing on the offensive line. It was a tough matchup for us.

On if he has been with a team that has suffered as many injuries at key positions…

It’s tough because we have. What happens when you have the injuries early and particularly with [Jared] Gaither at left tackle, that was a critical spot for us. We really needed him to come through. When you lose guys early for the season, then when you have your normal number of injuries as you go through, as I said, you’re not replacing a guy with a backup. You’re replacing a guy with a third guy or as we did with Reggie Wells. We signed him on Tuesday, started him and he played 60 plays against the Pittsburgh Steelers. So that’s a challenge.

On Mark Sanchez

I’m not there on a day-to-day basis, so it’s really not fair for me to give my opinion. I just think the position, you depend on a lot of people around you. We’ve gone through it and it seemed when we protect Philip [Rivers], we play at a high level around him. He plays a lot better than when we don’t. We’ve gone through this two years in a row, the constant change in the offensive line. It’s really difficult on our quarterback situation. Ultimately, a guy has to stand up and play on his own. I think how the people play around him has an impact on that position.

On if Rivers is capable of turning things around…

There’s no question in my mind. I think I understand what Philip’s strengths are and I know what he is capable of doing. He’s not a guy that’s going to outrun a lot of people, he’s not a guy that’s going to run around back there and keep plays alive, so there’s a premium on protecting him. When we had all of our playmakers, last year I think we were fifth in the league in offense. We averaged almost 400 yards a game. We went through a period of time last year where he didn’t have protection. I have a lot of confidence in Philip, and I think get some things fixed around him and he’s proven he can play at a high level.

On the report of a coaching change…

I haven’t been told that. The report was actually, I guess it was last week. It seems like it was a couple of weeks ago. There’s so many things reported now in this day and age because anything that goes on a Website can be repeated or written. I don’t put a lot of thought into what’s reported or re-reported or transferred from one article to another national website. Our guys have done a really good job of responding. Our coaches have done a great job at getting our guys ready. Like I said, we had a setback last week in terms of the way we played. I thought in Pittsburgh right after all of this came out, we played as well as we played all year.

On if he would take a job as an offensive coordinator…

I think people that know me know that I’m a coach. I like coaching. I want to coach. I think you get to a point where there are things that are important to you. If I continue to coach, I want to be in a good situation, a place where you have an opportunity to win, and be in a situation that there are coaches I’ve worked with and been around.

On his coaching career after this year…

I think in today’s world I feel like I’m still a fairly young guy. I’d love to continue to coach, no question.

On if he would take a year off of coaching…

I think it’s just, all of this is premature, but like I said, I’m 60 years old. I don’t know that taking a year off at this point is in anyone’s best interest. We’ll get through these next couple of weeks and then I’m going to see what’s going on like you do in this situation. If there’s something that is exciting, you’d consider it.

On if losing Vincent Jackson had an impact…

First of all, you’re assuming I didn’t think it would have a major impact. We played against [Mike] Tolbert last week and I knew we’d miss him. That’s Michael Tolbert for Carolina. We played against Darren Sproles early in the season when we played New Orleans. I knew that would have an impact. When you lose those guys, people assume you’re just going to replace them. Some of those guys are difficult to replace and are guys that have obviously shown, by their production, that they’re outstanding players.

Again, the guy who has probably been more affected than anyone, and you’re talking to me, it’s our quarterback. You create chemistry and you work with those guys. You develop something that’s pretty good. You don’t just replace that overnight.

On his interaction with Rex Ryan about the San Diego media…

Sometimes I think at different times we’re all misunderstood. I think Rex and I had a little tongue-in-cheek thing going on there. We’ve seen each other since and laughed about it. I think Rex knows the respect I have for him. I know the way his teams play. They’re extremely physical, they’re extremely competitive and extremely well-coached. I know defensively this is going to be a real challenge for our guys.

On if he considered making a quarterback change…

For our team and for our situation, a change was never a consideration because the things that were keeping us from getting done what we needed to get done had a lot more to do with other spots. I know ultimately the quarterback gets a lot of the credit or blame, but it just wasn’t the issue with our team as we went through our season.

CHARGERS TE ANTONIO GATES

On if he has followed the Jets quarterback situation…

Yeah, there’s always one of those things where there’s an outside perception and then there’s the perception in the locker room. The team understands who is prepared and who is not. The coaches make that decision. So me playing in the National Football League, I really understand that the fans have their own input and then the people who are there every single day working with you day in and day out really know what’s going on and what’s best for the team.

On the Chargers' season so far…

It’s been difficult, in terms of offensively. I can only speak for my side of the ball and what I’m able to contribute. Not playing up to our expectations and not playing up to the level that we’ve set and the standard of what we set for ourselves. Sometimes it’s frustrating because you do everything the right way. You prepare and you work hard. Our offseason conditioning and program was phenomenal. Camp was phenomenal. Not being able to capitalize on the season, it’s been tough, it’s been difficult.

Preseason Live: New York Jets

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