WEEK 13: CHARGERS CONFERENCE CALL
Head Coach Mike McCoy
On if he looks at this game any differently because it could be so important for AFC playoff implications:"It's an important game – it's the next one. It's the next one you've got to win. Every week you go into the game trying to be 1-0. So obviously, being in the conference and all that stuff, there's added bonus of winning those games. So yes, that does come into play, but you've just got to find a way to come out 1-0. That's the most important thing this week."
On how important it is to have stability at the quarterback position:"It's always great when you have a great quarterback. That's a franchise quarterback on your team. It gives you an opportunity week-in and week-out to go out and compete at a very high level and do it the way you know you want it to be done."
On what has been different about his team ever since the loss in Miami a few weeks ago:"In every game, there's going to be plusses and minuses – some more than others – some more plusses, some more minuses. We've got a good football team, and we're playing well at other times with the same guys, so it was just … Give Miami credit. They beat us fair and square. We didn't convert in certain things, we didn't stop them enough, we didn't get the fourth-and-one early in the game, we came up short on a number of third downs, turned the football over, didn't stop them. They've got a good football team, too, so they beat us and we didn't play … They got us. But with the type of character guys we have on this football team, with the way they work every day, it was just a matter of time before we got back on track, and that's what we've done the past couple weeks, and we've got a great opportunity this week."
On if he is surprised with the season Steve Smith Sr. is having and if he still enjoys seeing him play:"It doesn't shock me one bit. He's one of the fiercest competitors I've ever been around. The way he works, the shape he comes into the season and the way he works every day, and his competitive desire to be successful and be the best week-in and week-out [is impressive]. It doesn't matter if it's a preseason game, the first week of the season [or] the Super Bowl; he plays the game the way it's supposed to be played, and he lets it all out there on Sundays."
On if he felt like there was a good chance to sign Steve Smith Sr. in San Diego while a free agent last offseason:"It was more just a conversation to see where he was at and what his plans were. And obviously, he made a great decision for him and his family, and he's having a great year. But [general manager] Tom Telesco and myself, we're always going to contact people and see where there interest is, and sometimes – you just mentioned a player that we were interested in – it doesn't go too far. Sometimes it's more involved. But he made the right decision for himself and his family, and he's had a great season."
QB Philip Rivers
On his thoughts on both teams being in the mix for an AFC playoff spot:"Well, obviously, it's a big game. It's a big game for both teams. Baltimore is a good team. That's a heck of a division there, and obviously, every team in that division has 7 wins or more, and in our division, three of them have 7 or more. It's going to be a heck of a game, and we've had some good games in the past. And it's kind of what you'd expect this time of year with the two teams late in the year fighting for a spot. So, it'll be exciting and a heck of a challenge for us."
On what he thinks about QB Joe Flacco:"I know Joe a little bit. I don't know him super well, but I know him pretty well. His brother [Mike] was out here in training camp, so I got to know him a little bit. But Joe is a heck of a player, obviously. He's a guy that has a big arm and he's led those guys to lots of wins, [Super Bowl] championship and all. He's a good player I've always respected from afar."
On how TE Antonio Gates has maintained his longevity and productivity:"It's really awesome. Obviously, the numbers speak for themselves, but just the way he is the same every day … He's the same every day, loves to compete, and I think that's what's allowed him to sustain his game and play at such a high level for so long. He loves to compete and hates to lose, and he brings that every day to work with him. It's been a real honor playing with him and being a part of a lot of his success. He's a heck of a guy, heck of a player."
On what the Chargers' schedule is looking like this week:"Well, we obviously travel on Friday. Anytime we go to these tilts, we travel on Fridays. Tomorrow is a little bit of an abbreviated day. [Head] coach [Mike McCoy] is giving us time to spend Thanksgiving with our families, so we're shortening the day a little bit tomorrow, but make up for it on Friday morning by spending a little more time with what we cut out on Thursday afternoon. We're fitting it all in and we're spending time with our families on Thanksgiving, but we're making sure we're giving the utmost attention to the Ravens in the preparation part of it before we get on that plane Friday afternoon."
On if he ever thought that WR Steve Smith Sr. would join the Chargers in the offseason:"I knew we had a chance maybe to get him out here. I know he had been in Carolina for so long, and I know he was from out this way, but he really made the East Coast home. So, I didn't know if we'd get him or not. But he's awesome. He's an awesome player, an awesome competitor. Seeing what he's doing now on a new team, it's much different, but much like [Antonio] Gates. I don't know Steve really enough to say too much other than just what you see. He's so competitive. The will to win is strong. I guess I saw him say he's 35 on the Monday night post-game [show] the other day and still playing at an unbelievable level. He's a guy that when we played Carolina and stuff, you always know where he is and he's always capable of changing the game."
On doing anything different trying to prepare for a 1 p.m. game on the East Coast:"I think probably more is made of it than [what] it really is. We've been twice now: In Buffalo, we played really well, and in Miami, we played terrible. But I don't think a 1 o'clock start has anything to do with it. Our schedule here, we're early. We start every day in the 7 o'clock hour, as far as team meetings, and things start and we're on the practice field before 11. We're in that mode all the time. It is nice to come on a Friday, though, at least to get one day of sleep adjustment. But shoot, when they kick it off, who cares what time it is? We'll be ready to go."
On having not missed a game since becoming a starter in San Diego:"It's a blessing, really, that I've been able to be out there every week. It's as much that as it is anything. Growing up around the game, my dad being a coach, I do take pride in having a little bit of the toughness element that you do all you can to be out there every week. But I've been blessed to be healthy enough to do that. That was the one thing in college: I was out there every game – all 51 games. I'd love to keep that going – God willing, I keep it going. If you can perform and play at a level that helps give your team a chance, then I feel like I'll be out there every week. Obviously, there are certain circumstances that you can't help, but thankfully I haven't had one of those yet."
On if he enjoys competing against a guy like OLB Terrell Suggs:"I've had a little bit of an interaction [with him], nothing noteworthy. I hope not to have too much interaction with him, [because] that means he's either laying on top of me or getting back there a lot. But he's an awesome player. It is always fun to play against him, just the competitor that he is, how tough he is. And he likes to have fun while he does it. There has been some interaction, like I said, over the years, and I was able to meet him over in the Pro Bowl once or twice. But [he's a] heck of a player. He is still playing at a super high level. Watching him in some of his pass rush stuff he's doing, he looks great. He's still a staple for that defense."