Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "Anybody making the trip? I look forward to seeing you out there. We had a good week. We're excited. Obviously, coming off a very physical game, we feel like we've gotten recovered. We had three good days of practice, and we are headed to the airport now."
With [Dennis] Pitta and [Pernell] McPhee, do you feel confident that they have a chance of playing this week? (Aaron Wilson) "I feel confident that they have a chance to play, yes."
Has Dennis [Pitta] already done baseline tests, or does he have to wait for that until the last minute? (Aaron Wilson) "He's done baseline. He's cleared."
*A couple of the young players for the Chargers, [Kendall] Reyes and also [Danario] Alexander – but on different sides of the ball – what are your impressions of those guys? (Aaron Wilson) *"They have three really good, young players up-front playing defense and rushing the passer – all high picks, guys that we liked in the draft. They are all good players that are playing at a high level. Alexander is another guy that we really liked. He had the knee problems, and that kind of showed up in St. Louis, but in St. Louis he made phenomenal plays – very talented guy. He's filled a void for those guys."
**[Assistant head coach/special teams coordinator] Jerry Rosburg was talking to me about the return touchdowns, and he said that they have an artistic quality to them. Do you appreciate them aesthetically like that? He called them beautiful. *(Matt Vensel) *"Of course. Anytime you are a coach – whatever level you are coaching – you're coaching the little league team, and the little girl knocks one right up the middle through into center field; that's beautiful when you're a coach. When you see guys do things well that you're coaching – or gals or whatever – and you see them execute and have success. Then as a coach, when you see the whole 11 [players] come together in kind of that choreographed, coordinated kind of a way, it means a lot. That's what you work so hard for. That's your work of art. So, I would agree with that."
What was your reaction to what happened in Detroit yesterday – [Lions head coach] Jim Schwartz with trying to throw the challenge flag and the rule? Your overall reaction to that? (Luke Jones) "My overall reaction? This is family T.V. (laughter) Yes, that's about it right there. It was tough. I don't really have a reaction. It's what happens in football sometimes. It's a tough one."
**Two of the finer punters in the game are going to be on the field Sunday and Darren Bennett is going to be in the Chargers' Hall of Fame at halftime. Is punting something that is a bit underappreciated, especially in light of what Sam Koch did in Pittsburgh last week? *(Joe Platania) *"Darren Bennett, he is the guy that kind of started the Aussie invasion with all of these guys that have come into the league since then. He has coached up most of those guys. He could do anything with the ball; pooch punts and the knuckleballs and all the crazy stuff that he did. He's brought a lot of that into the game – the rugby style that Sam uses, the knuckleballs and things like that. It'll be great to see him. Punting is really going to another level – I don't know if you've noticed – over the last three or four years. The gross punt and the net punt level, 40-yard net was just unattainable at one point – it was like the four-minute mile. Now, all of the sudden, we've got half the league over 40-yard nets. It's kind of the way things go in sports it seems like, and that's a good example of it."
Coach, the last couple of times the team has traveled to San Diego, it did not come out so well. Your thoughts about traveling back there, and facing Jarret Johnson for the first time on the other side of the ball? (Bill West)"It'll be great. It's a tough trip, it's a West Coast trip. It's a long way. It's one of the things you have to deal with, and we need to go out there and play well. We need to go out there and do a lot better job than we did last time. We were very disappointed in the way we performed as coaches and players out there last time, and it wasn't so long ago – it's very fresh in our memory. We're aware of that, and it's a big challenge. I think they're a better football team than they were last year [with] guys like Jarret Johnson, obviously. The rookies that they drafted up front on defense have really added to their defense and to their team. They're a very formidable group [on] both sides of the ball. We've got our hands full, but facing Jarret is going to be challenging. He's a great player. We know him all too well, and we know what he brings to the table."
With the later practice times this week, going back to last year, I couldn't recall a West Coast trip where you practiced later in the day. Was that just something you borrowed from someone else or just trying something different? (Luke Jones) "No, it's something we did homework on, we did research on. Dr. [David] McDuff here is an expert in that, has written a couple of books on sleep studies and energy cycles and things like that. We try to act like we know what we're talking about as coaches, but we take good advice when we get it. So, we're trying to work our way onto West Coast time. We're trying to be at our best at 1 o'clock Pacific Standard Time out there in San Diego. That's what we're hoping for, so that's why we're doing this."