HEAD COACH NORV TURNER
(on if the team is traveling to Nashville tomorrow because of the short week)
We are doing that, yeah. That's kind of our comfort level. We had a light practice yesterday. We're having kind of a culmination Wednesday/Thursday practice today and then tomorrow morning we'll practice here. I think we get on a plane about three o'clock.
*(on the success of the Chargers in the month of December)*
It is an amazing record. Obviously, there's a lot of things that go into it. We have been healthy in December. We're a pretty young football team. We've won some close games like we did Sunday, kicking a field goal with eight seconds. We've had a couple of amazing games. The Kansas City game a year ago we were way down in the fourth quarter. Obviously, two years ago in Tennessee we were down pretty good in the fourth quarter and we've found a way to have good fortune in games like that. To have the type of record, there's a culmination of things that are involved.
*(on if he thinks quarterback Philip Rivers gets overlooked compared to Drew Brees and Peyton Manning)*
Well, I think it's a process. I think the people who see him every week certainly appreciate and understand that you're going to put him in the category with those guys. If you look at what he's done over the last four seasons, particularly the last two seasons, a year ago he led the league in quarterback rating and touchdown passes. Right now he leads the league in average gain per completion. Those are some pretty impressive things to be doing on a consistent basis.
(on the Titans)
The turnaround and they're playing with such great energy. Defensively, they're flying around. They're very, very aggressive, always have been, the way they go attack the football. Offensively, they're an explosive football team. I think everyone starts off and thinks about the running game and the running back and all the big plays, but they've become very balanced in making big plays in the passing game which makes it very difficult.
(on the loss of Keith Bulluck and David Thornton)
It's difficult. We've been through this three or four times ourselves this year. Sometimes you get a great performance and sometimes you're disappointed. One thing for us this year, every time we've had that situation and I had young guy step in, we've been really excited about the way they've stepped up and played. I think that's what you expect and we expect to see some guys excited about getting an opportunity to go play.
(on the difficulty of replacing two injured linebackers compared to one)
Oh, it's a challenge, don't get me wrong. I understand what it is. As I said, we've been through that early in the year this year and you're scrambling. You're scrambling to get guys ready.
(on the biggest difference between Vince Young now and Vince Young from 2007 when he last faced the Chargers)
You can see the confidence, the coaching, the maturity, his presence in the pocket. He's made some throws, you talk about other quarterbacks in the league, he's making throws that all the best guys are making. He throws that post over the top of the safety in Sunday's game, that's as good of a throw as anybody can make.
(on the Titans turnaround and how difficult it is)
I believe it's the toughest thing to do in this league. No one wants to be in that position and sometimes things happen that are out of your control. To keep a group together, it speaks volumes of the staff, but it also speaks about the players to trust and believe. We all know in this league there's a tendency when teams struggle, it goes the other way. It's hard to keep them playing hard and keep them motivated. Obviously, Jeff (Fisher), his staff and the players have all done a great job.
(on how the Chargers managed to turn the season around last year)
The one thing about it, a couple of the teams that beat us early in the year beat Denver late in the year. Sometimes it is about the schedule. The crazy thing about last year, it seems so long ago, we started the season and lost our first two games on the last play of the game, one on kind of a Hail Mary play and one by an officiating error. So, even though 4-8 is bad and it sounds terrible, it wasn't like we were playing horribly. I think, like I said, this is a talented group of guys and they're a very determined group. They fought through that. Once you get that confidence back, a little bit like you see what's happening with Tennessee, you get that confidence back and you do have talented players, you do get on a roll.
(on if those type of teams are dangerous in the playoffs if they make it)
Everyone is dangerous in the playoffs because it's hard to get there. Tennessee, particularly you look at the teams they've played the last six, seven weeks. Everyone knows how they're capable of playing, they know how Vince (Young) is playing with confidence. We know the game, that's my concern, the game on Christmas is going to be a real challenge for us. Going on the road and playing on Christmas night, we're going to have to play at our best.
(on his thoughts of playing on Christmas night)
I think all these guys grow up playing in these games and whether they've played in bowl games, they've played on New Year's Day, they've played on Christmas. We've coached and we played on Christmas Eve last year, we played Denver. So, I think you get accustomed to it, you get used to it. Then it gets, the preparation and the traveling and all that on a short week makes it difficult, but when you get there it gets exciting. It's the only game being played. I think our guys and I'm sure both teams are really looking forward to it.
(on the identity of the Chargers)
Our identity has kind of changed, I believe. It probably happened because we lost a number of guys in our opening game and we've had a number of injuries where we've had a lot of guys have to step up. We're playing a lot of players that I'm sure when Tennessee looked at it they didn't recognize some of the guys because they weren't playing for us in those games you talked about from two years ago. Our identity has become a deal of we do have core guys that have been here, they're extremely talented. But what we've had a lot of guys step up as young players, as undrafted free agents, first, second-year players that have had to step into positions and play extremely well. It's kind of become a deal where our guys know you get 53 guys on your roster and all of our guys have been a part of our season and have played.
(on Chris Johnson)
I don't know how to compare him because I think it's a unique thing with unbelievable speed. He does all of the things that great running backs do. He's got great vision, great change of direction and patience. It's just that speed makes it a whole different dimension. If you give him a crease you're going to pay for it.
(on things getting heated the last time the teams played and if he addresses that to his guys to keep them from getting penalties)
Absolutely, there may be a couple of guys that deep down it's hard to let it go. Our team, we put that behind us after that week. We played in the playoff game and there were no issues. I don't see there being any issues with our team. They're two very physical teams, they're very competitive teams. We all know and everyone knows when our two teams get together it's going to be a very physical game.