LA Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley (10.9.22)


On the decision to go for it on fourth down late in the game:

“I just wanted to finish the game with the ball. I felt like we liked the play and we liked the matchup. We knew what coverage they were going to be in. We wanted to finish the game on our terms on third down. We felt like we had a good runup against that defense. We had a pass solution. They defended it well. Then on fourth down, it just really felt like the slant to (WR) Mike (Williams) was going to be the play call there. It just didn’t go down for us, but I had a lot of confidence in our defense to go out there and get them stopped. That was a big motive because we knew that they would have to throw the ball to beat us. We felt like we could cover them. I love the way that our team finished that game. Obviously, the storybook would have been just to finish it right there and walk to victory lane, but that’s not how it went. We had to go play defense. We had to go defend and our defense ended up winning us the game with that takeaway and that stop at the end of the game.”


On knowing on third down that they would go for it regardless of the circumstance:

“Notwithstanding a negative play or something that gets blown up, or a penalty.”


On the play call for the fourth down and feeling like it was a good matchup with Browns CB Denzel Ward out of the game:

“Yes. No. 23 (Browns CB Martin Emerson, Jr.) on 81 (Chargers WR Mike Williams). We liked it.”


On S Alohi Gilman starting over Nasir Adderley and whether it was a game plan decision:

“It’s just to create competition within our football team. We feel like (S Alohi) Lo (Gilman) had earned an opportunity to start. We wanted to see that combination out there of him and (S) Derwin (James Jr.) playing together with (S Nasir) Nas (Adderley) playing a dime as the sixth DB. We felt like Lo had earned an opportunity to show what he can do. Like I said, we’re a work in progress and we’re trying to find those right combinations on defense.”


On the run-game clicking:

“It was the story of the game for us. We came in here and certainly there were a lot of questions about us being able to run the ball in the first four games. We had a lot of confidence in the plan, a lot of confidence in who’s running the ball and who’s blocking for them. I just think our O-Linemen came alive today, and our runners – (RB Austin) Ekeler, (RB Joshua) Kelley. I mean, those guys were flying out there and just running with a purpose. I thought we had really good scheme in the plan. I thought (OL Coach) Brendan (Nugent), (Assistant OL Coach) Shaun (Sarrett), (TE Coach) Kevin Koger, (RB Coach) Derrick Foster – those guys had a great design. I thought (OC) Joe (Lombardi) called a really great game. It was patient. We needed to be with those two rushers. You can’t say enough about our O-Line group. They got a game ball.”


On how much emphasis was put on the rushing attack this week:

“We don’t want to be looked at as a passing team. I think our guys were tired of hearing that because that’s not what we believe internally. We just needed to play together more and find our rhythm. We really believe in how we want to run the ball. We just needed more time on task. I thought you saw that today. I thought our guys were consistent throughout all four quarters. As you saw, it allowed us to control the game and take the crowd out of it. I thought it really allowed us to tire them out too, and really put the pressure on them to have to go fight the fight. Again, we got the explosions in the run game. That’s the other thing. It wasn’t a bloody run-game like it had been for four weeks. We were able to get the explosions and I thought that really allowed us to get moving on offense.”


On Chargers RB Joshua Kelley:

“We talked about it. JK just earning more playing time. He’s doing it every day in practice. He had a good preseason, but I think the preseason and regular season are two different things. Every single game he is just getting better with his carries. As you saw today, the plan was to get him more touches. I thought that he and Austin just did a really good job of complementing one another today.”


On stopping Cleveland’s run game:

“It was up and down. There were some really good stretches in there that I think we can definitely build off of, but there are too many of these runs and loaded boxes that we have more than they have. Whether we miss a tackle or we misfitted upfront, we’ve got to be better. We’ll learn a lot from this tape. It takes nothing away from them. They are who they are. They average 190 on the ground. They’re outstanding. Their backs are tough. I was a little bit disappointed because part of the run game is the quarterback rushing the ball and getting out there in the scramble yards. We’ve got to do better at the point of attack. That’s all there is to it. I know that have the guys for the job and we just have to go back to work.”


On calling timeout on Cleveland’s fourth and one:

“We had a guy who shouldn’t have been on the field that was on the field. We needed to get the right amount on the field and get the right grouping on there. That was a huge play in the second half. That’s why I said defensively, us getting that fourth down stop, the takeaway, and then really finishing it there at the end of the game – there were a lot of good things that our defense did today, but it was up and down.”


On Chargers CB J.C. Jackson:

“He was up and down. There were some good moments and then there were some moments where he needs to be able to be a lot better. He just needs to get in his comfort zone from a fundamental standpoint, and that’s still a work in progress. We know that he’s the man for the job. He did a lot of good things in the second half. I thought in the first half he was up and down, but in the second half he was much better, much more like what we’re used to seeing. We’re just going to keep working with him because he’s the right guy to be coaching. We believe in him so much. It’s our job as coaches to get him going.”


On J.C. still working to get back from the ankle injury:

“I think a couple things. Definitely, you lose four weeks and that’s tough. You guys all saw him in training camp. He was rocking and rolling. I think it’s just four weeks, time on task, you know, every player needs practice, especially at that position. It’s just him getting back in the swing of things. We’re really glad we have him. He’s going to be a big piece moving forward.”


On Chargers WR Mike Williams:

“The toughness. He lands on his back on the high wire act and he just comes right back out there. He just has so much toughness. I was disappointed that the replay took away the lob there. He has been our offense outside. He’s there for us in every single game. He has all the competitive traits that you’re looking for in a football player. Then as a receiver, as you’re seeing, this guy can win one-on-one. He can win a lot of different places. Like I said, when Mike Williams touches the ball, it’s good for us.”


On whether he was giving an explanation on the overturned call:

“We thought so too [that there were two toes down], but they said toe heel. That was the explanation given to me. Not toe-toe; it was toe-heel. That’s what they’re saying.”


On the fourth down decision and knowing that most people would expect a punt:

“You know where I stand on that. We believe in our process. We believe in our players on both sides. We were coming out here on the road to win this game, not kick it and then go hope to win. I believed our defense would get a stop if we didn’t make it because I knew that we could cover them. You have to live with it when it doesn’t go down. We went for it on the first drive and it didn’t go down, and we’re willing to live with that. We know what that means to our group and playing that way. There was no way I was taking our offense out of the field at the end of the game.”


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