Chargers' Conference Calls

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Transcripts of conference calls by San Diego's Norv Turner and Philip Rivers with reporters Wednesday afternoon:

HEAD COACH NORV TURNER

On how difficult it is to face Darrelle Revis and the Jets defense…

There's no question that Revis is very impressive when you watch him on tape. He's as good as I've seen in a long time. They do a great job of scheming to use his strengths. It's a team defense. I'm really impressed with how the defensive line goes about doing their job and doing the things they have to do to be successful. Both outside backers are playing at a real high level and we know about the inside linebackers. I just think the whole group as a whole has bought in to what Rex [Ryan] is doing and they understand the defense. What happens to you is you don't get many easy plays. You have to earn everything you get and that's a challenge for an offense.

On how effective Antonio Gates and Darren Sproles can be…

We've had good balance. We do get a lot of attention because of those plays up the field people like to see and they replay those plays on ESPN on Sunday nights. I think we have a balanced passing attack and I think our guys underneath do a good job. It's a matchup game and you have to win some of those matchups. We've got guys that are capable of doing it and certainly they've been so successful because they have guys who play the defense extremely well.

On if Ron Rivera has brought over a mentality of forcing turnovers…

It's a big part of what we do. If you're going to force turnovers, it's got to be a team mentality. It's usually not the first guy there that creates the turnover. It's the second or third guy that gets in there and pulls the ball loose or makes that play. We've had a lot of guy play defense for us and Ron's done a great job of getting all those guys on the same page.

On the Chargers' run defense…

I'm real concerned about their running game. They've run the ball against everyone they've played, so you know they're going to get yards rushing. We want to minimize the damage and not give up long runs. We went through a stretch where we were really scrambling to get guys in here. The first five weeks of the season, we lost our nose man in week one. We had a couple of other guys hurt for training camp. The guys who are playing for us now were actually not with us in August. They're playing well. We're playing our six-man rotation. Our run defense has improved through the second half of the season, so those stats are a little misleading. When you're playing the number one rush offense, it's a concern and we have to do a great job.

On Philip Rivers' reputation as a trash talker…

Once it [the reputation] starts, it's hard to get that thing to change. I think a lot of that comes from the incident we had with [Jay] Cutler three seasons ago and then the Indy game where he hurt his knee and people were yelling at him, he yelled back. I think he's handled himself awfully well over the last two seasons. He's an emotional guy. He gets excited, but I really don't think there's been a big deal with players of other teams we're playing more than what goes on.

On the week off and if there are any injury concerns going into the game…

There's a couple of things we used the bye for and that was to really look hard at ourselves and see what the things were that were giving us problems. We had about six guys that if we had played last Sunday, I don't know if they would have played or if they played, they would have played less than 100 percent. [Shawne] Merriman is in there. Jacob Hester is in that group. Vincent Jackson is in that group. Right now, I believe everybody is going to be healthy and playing. We practice here in about an hour and we'll see how we do from that standpoint. I believe that week off got us some guys healthy that wouldn't have.

On if they use Rex Ryan's playoff schedule as motivation…

I don't know. I think it's good for all the talk shows. The biggest thing is, everyone's going to do what they feel is best for their football team and that's what Rex is doing. We're doing what we believe is best for our team. All of that stuff is great and it does help your team zero in and focus and help them get ready. I've been doing this too long and I know that when that ball is kicked off at 1:30 [Pacific time], the game is going to be decided between 1:30 and 4:30 our time and that's the great thing about this game.

On if Coach Ryan reminds him of his father, Buddy Ryan…

Here's what I'll tell you. When you put the tape on, you see an extremely well-coached team and a team that you really have to do a great job if you're going to go attack them and play well against them. That's the same exact thing that you saw when you go ready to play against or coach against a Buddy Ryan-coached team. It's a challenge. We all know that having guys like [Antonio] Gates, LT [LaDainian Tomlinson], Philip [Rivers] and Vincent Jackson helps those schemes along. Having guys like [Darrelle] Revis and some of the other guys that are playing so well, that helps all those schemes, but this team is extremely well-coached. They create a lot of problems for you.

On LaDainian Tomlinson…

LT has really had an exceptional year. I know some people get caught up in the numbers, but LT sprained his ankle. He had a high ankle sprain in the first week of the season. He played half a game in that game [and] missed two games. [He] didn't get many carries in the Pittsburgh game, so really the first fourth of the season he was very limited. As he got back healthy, he started putting up better numbers and going. This second half of the season, I think he's had nine touchdowns. What we've done really is he's played and then when we felt it was time to get him out we cut down on his reps. He's had a number of games where he's had 55 and 60 yards at halftime and only got three carries in the second half whether we were ahead, whether we mixed in [Darren] Sproles, or whether we were throwing it. I think LT has had a particularly very good second half of the season.

On if Tomlinson is 100 percent healthy…

Oh, yes, he's healthy. He's been healthy the second half of the season and it shows up in the way he's playing.

On Ian Scott having a tough battle against Nick Mangold…

All our guys do. That's the great thing about the playoffs and playing a good team. We talked about that before we ever knew who we were playing. We said, "Hey, whoever it's going to be, they're going to be good." If you're a good team, you've got good players. There are going to be some great matchups in this game and Ian has a tough matchup. We've got to help him in there with some of the things we do inside.

On Scott…

Ian's a good player. He had his knee scoped in late August and he's really come along and had a good year. Alfonso Boone plays a lot for him. We really, truly do have a six-man rotation. Luis Castillo gets a lot more reps than most guys. Jacques Cesaire, who has missed the last two games, gets more reps than most, but after that Travis Johnson plays a lot in there. We move those guys around.

On scoring early on the Jets…

It's funny people talk about that and we're playing the number one defense against the score in the entire league. You look at the number of points they've given up over the last six to eight games and they haven't given up very many points. I go into these games and it's a four-quarter game. We're going to have to play at our best in all three phases. I don't think the Jets are going to come out of their mentality from a game-plan standpoint. I don't think there is anything that's going to take them out of that.

Everyone talks about the run and pounding it. We know they're going to do that, but those play-action passes and those first-down passes that get first downs, that give you the chance to run the ball are as big as anything. I thought the passing game was as big a part of that game against Cincinnati because they came up with those big plays in those critical times.

On if the defense is looking forward to rattling a rookie quarterback…

We've got to find a way to get pressure and you're talking about playing the run well on early downs and seeing if we can get into some passing situations where we get a chance to use our pass rush skills. That's the great thing the Jets have done. They've minimized the number of times you get a chance to rattle the quarterback. He's playing with great poise.

QB PHILIP RIVERS

On Darrelle Revis and the Jets defense…

He's as good as advertised. He'll be right there with the best corners we've face all year. He's a big part of what they do, but the Jets defense as a whole, it's a collective effort. As most great defenses do, they stand out with their speed and their aggressiveness, the way they attack. They show you a lot of different looks, they try to never let you get zeroed in on what they're doing. It will be a challenge for us and we're looking forward to it.

On his reputation as a trash-talking quarterback…

It's kind of a perception that's been created that's not 100 percent accurate. I do like to have fun and interact out there with the guys on the opposing team, but to call it trash-talking is probably a big overstatement. I just like to play the game with a lot of passion and enthusiasm. That's what it is, a game. That's what it was ever since I was a kid playing it and I kind of play the same way today.

On if he expects that Bart Scott will trash-talk this weekend…

Not necessarily. I don't know that I necessarily have an expectation from that standpoint. I know Bart [Scott] plays the game with a lot of passion and he's a fly-around, high-intensity, good linebacker. Most of the good ones have those characteristics. It will be fun. It will be a competition at the highest level in the playoffs and you'd expect both teams to be at their best with the enthusiasm and emotion riding high. It will be fun. [I'm] looking forward to it.

On his reaction to Coach Ryan saying the Jets should be the favorite…

I don't really react at all. The reason we have been able to win a bunch of games in a row is we just worry about us and try to get better one week at a time. It's a boring approach, but it's an approach that works. The one-game-at-a-time, we're about us mentality has kept us grounded through this 11-game streak. The 11-game streak is gone. We're 0-0 and essentially the Jets are 1-0. Each playoff game really stands alone. It really doesn't matter what you've done this far. Every team has a different approach. The Jets have had a lot of success as of late and we have too and that is what you'd expect in a playoff game is two good teams that have a lot of confidence [that] expect to advance.

On if he feels disrespected by Coach Ryan's comments…

No. If you asked anybody, our plans for this Sunday is to win the game. I'd imagine if you ask any Jet player, they expect to win the game. You never expect for it to end, but ultimately stuff that goes on through the week or is said during the week really doesn't matter. The game will be decided on Sunday afternoon which team can play the most complete game for four quarters.

On how important the win over the Giants was…

It was a big win and obviously a very emotional win because of the way the last few minutes occurred and how it happened. The defense came up with a huge goal line stop after an interception on my part and we were able to drive 80 yards and score at the end. Those kind of emotional wins certainly have an effect on a team in a positive way. We've had a handful of those big wins. Dallas was a big win. We've held it together week after week and just tried to keep improving. As we all know, in this league it matters to some extent what you did in the regular season, just because you feel like you're improving and playing well as a team to be where you are, but you have to maintain that into January. We'll get our first opportunity in a few days.

On if he can do damage with screen passes…

That game [Jets at New England] in particular, Wes [Welker] had a big impact in that game. We do like to push it up the field, but at the same time we're very balanced in our passing attack. Our guys, in Malcom [Floyd] and Vincent [Jackson] and the guys that get down the field, [Antonio] Gates, they also are tremendous yards-after-the-catch guys. They catch some things underneath and do some things with it. we feel like we're pretty balanced in our passing attack. Keeping that balance and we need to be able to run the football and play a complete game.

On his relationship with Jerricho Cotchery…

Me and Jerricho [Cotchery] still talk all the time. He will be and always has been one of my all-time favorite teammates. He's the ultimate competitor. We both grew up in Alabama competing in football and basketball. Jerricho gives you the same thing every day in practices and what he does on the field. The Jets players know it and appreciate it. He's a heck of a player. It will be fun. We will not be competing directly, but I am looking forward to seeing him.

On his trash-talking with Cotchery during Madden games…

We had some good battles back in the day in Madden. That was back in the good old video game days. I haven't played much since those days. It's guys like him and teammates here that really know who I am and the fact that we're playing Madden, or whatever it is, I just like to have fun. There is nothing fierce or harsh about the things I'm saying, I'm out there having a good time and just enjoying competing. For the most part, the interaction with the opposing team, from my standpoint, is very minimal. You bump into a guy here and there during a game, it's fun to have some interaction.

On how long it took him to win over his teammates…

The two years that I didn't play, when I was able to sit and learn, I benefited from those and I appreciate those now. It was tough at the time. You always hoped and had to be prepared should you get the opportunity as I did going into year three. There's still some responsibility of leadership even as a backup quarterback.

I tried to work and develop those relationships in years one and two. If I did get the opportunity, as I did, to ease in there and make the transition a lot smoother, you had to go earn the trust and respect from your teammates. You can do only so much Monday through Saturday. You have to go out and play on Sundays. The more games and experience and trust and respect you develop over time, doing it on Sundays is the best way to earn that. I felt like I prepared myself those two years to give myself the chance to get that done.

On if he has a counter for the Jets' blitz…

One thing we do is we get the ball out, we push it down the field. But I try not to stand back there holding onto the ball very long. You look at the Jets' blitz schemes and how they're able to pressure the quarterback and it usually doesn't take them very long to get there. It will be the toughest test for us, from a blitz standpoint, that we face. We played Baltimore earlier in the year, there are some similar things, and the Eagles, there are some similar things there, too. What they've done and obviously statistically speaks for itself. This will be our toughest challenge so far.

On the role of LaDainian Tomlinson and the rushing game…

Some of those stats [for LaDainian Tomlinson] can be misleading because early in the year he was injured and didn't play a few games. As we will be this Sunday, we're going against one of the top defenses run-wise early on in the year, looking back at the schedule. LT is as fresh as he's been going into this postseason healthy. It's always started with the run for us, as it will continue to. This stretch we've been on, he's had a big impact running the football. Again, stats can be misleading, but we've ran the ball. Looking back at these games where we've had to run the ball to close games out, we've been able to do that. I know that he and all the guys feel fresh and healthy going into the postseason and we're looking forward to the game on Sunday.

On the importance of scoring touchdowns when they are in the red zone…

When you get down there, you want to score touchdowns. The Jets have been one of the best in the league in keeping that from happening. From a touchdown-pass standpoint, only eight given up all year. It's what you expect in the playoffs. It's good vs. good. You're getting a really good team that plays really good defense. We like to think of ourselves as a really good team that is good on both sides of the ball, as do the Jets. We have strengths in different areas. Some are better than others. It's what playoff football is all about. You get two teams that are competitive, good football teams that will fight like crazy for three and a half hours to advance. That's what makes it great.

On how the receivers can be used as an advantage for the Chargers…

Our big receivers are obviously a weapon for us. They're able to go up and get the football. At the same time, they don't only use their size, they're great route runners. They win off execution. The Jets defensive backs, you mention Revis, they play the ball very well. They are aggressive to it as well. It's a matchup both sides are looking forward to. I've spoken more on our offense vs. their defense because that's what I'm most concerned with. From a whole team standpoint, it's two really good teams that have a very competitive, fiery attitude that are both looking forward to the game.

On trash-talking…

I don't go into games with scripts and things to think of to interact with opposing defenses. It's very minimal. I'd say that less than 5 percent of my time is taken up by an interaction with a defensive player. Some of it may be in a TV timeout or something. The whole trash-talking thing is a misperception. There is not a whole lot of trash being said — none, for that matter. There is no profanity being used, anything like that.

As I did in the back yard growing up in North Alabama, I like to play and have fun. If you are playing basketball with your little brother, you kind of give him a jab here or there if things are going good. That is really all it is. I think playing the game with that emotion and passion is when I'm at my best. I want to be at my best and do all I can do to help us win.

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