Chargers HC Brandon Staley


December 3, 2023


Q: How challenging were the conditions out there?

BS: December game. Good NFL football game. Good football weather.


Q: What can you say about JK Scott and the game he had today?

BS: Yeah, he’s a weapon. He has been for us for two years and a game like that that becomes a defensive field position game, you’re going to need your specialist to come alive and Cam [Dicker] was two for two with his kicks, and JK [Scott] has seven punts inside the 20, and we were really able to flip the field and get the momentum. That was the way we were able to gain momentum in the game. He was fantastic.


Q: What does this say about the job Ryan Ficken’s done from when he took over to now you have a special teams unit that can go out and win a game for you?

BS: Yeah, Daniel, as you know, from the beginning that’s been a huge goal of ours is to improve that unit. When we got here, it was among the worst in the NFL and now we’re among the best in the NFL and I think these last two weeks playing against Baltimore and New England, they’re two of the top special teams units perennially in the league. So, Ryan [Ficken] and Chris [Gould] have been awesome. And then we’ve invested a lot in specialists, in our core special teams guys. I think you’ve seen our young guys that we drafted three years ago, they’re all a big part of our core teams and it was big for us today and we needed it, and Deruis [Davis] also gave us a huge lift in the return game, and he’s been doing a great job with ball security and flipping the field for us, too.


Q: How valuable is it having a veteran like Josh Harris on a day like today when it’s that rainy and windy?

BS: I’m so glad that you mentioned him because on a day like today, you need that leadership. You need that togetherness. You know, on the punt team, when you’re out there a lot, hey, this is going to be the unit that can decide the game, and I felt like just that connection that those guys have on that punt team is really strong right now. We’re protecting really well, recovering well, we’re punting well, and it’s definitely a unit that’s one of our strengths right now.


Q: Brandon, how badly did you feel like your guys needed this win today?

BS: Whatever that – whatever that level is, probably the highest. Ten out of ten is probably how I would explain it. Had a good week of practice. Knew it was going to be a tough game. That’s a good defensive group over there, Bill [Belichick], Steve [Belichick], that group, they do a great job coaching on defense. They’ve got a lot of good players on defense and they play together well. It was just a tough game. It was a defensive game, and, you know, our guys were able to make one play at the end to seal it and that’s what we needed to do on offense. We took care of the ball today. There was no turnovers, there were no sacks, and we made a big play there at the end to finish it for us.


Q: What do the next few hours look like for you heading home and what do you look at? What do you – how do you assess this and obviously feel good and shut out in the NFL and…?

BS: Yeah, I think, Sam, just decompress, and you got to look at the game right away, try to do it right away so that we can get moving, you know, to Denver, but I think from an after action standpoint, our team, I think, played one of its top games as a team on the road. I think we did what we had to do to win today and that was a big goal of ours, you know. There weren’t going to be any style points today. I wasn’t expecting it to be a high-scoring affair. I think what our guys did is they really locked in and focused on what type of game it was going to be and it took that mindset all the way until the last play for us to be totally focused for an entire game, 60-minute game, and doing what it takes, and I told the team that’s what you have to do in the NFL. Sometimes the games are a track meet, 41-38. Sometimes, hey, there’s a game like today, six-nothing, you have to do what it takes to win and I thought that was a good step for us.


Q: Did you guys have a feeling that Zappe would be the quarterback? And is preparing for him any different than preparing for Mac Jones?

BS: You know, I don’t think you know anything coming out of there, no one really does, but we just knew that Mac [Jones] and Bailey [Zappe] would be similar. I think he moves a little bit better, so we were ready for the movement aspect of him and we were ready for [Malik] Cunningham as well, just if he showed up in the game. So, I thought our defensive coaches did a really good job getting our guys ready to play today.


Q: How’d you feel like the offense played?

BS: Well, I mean, it was tough out there. I don’t think – we didn’t run the football well at all and in the passing game, you know, far too many drops. You know, I thought that Justin [Herbert] was accurate today. I thought that he played exceptionally well today under the conditions. I thought his decision-making was good. He was strong with the ball, but just far too many drops today, and just not a clean enough game for us. But I think what we can build on are the no sacks and no turnovers and as you know, the previous three games we have lost the turnover margin. Today we won it, and that’s a big positive coming in a game that has some elements.


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