Lynn on Depth at the Running Back Position

Chargers HC addresses the media about takeaways from the victory over the Cardinals and the depth at running back.

Opening Statement:

“Looking forward to getting back on the field, get to work. Pittsburgh is a good football team. It’s a fun place to play a game. Our guys are excited, looking forward to it. Should be a heck of a ballgame.”

On if RB Melvin Gordon III will play this week:

“Like I said, he's highly doubtful to play this week. He won't be in practice today. We'll see where he's at tomorrow and the day afterwards.”

On kicking field goals at Heinz Field after the stadium expansion:

“I haven't played there since there was the adjustment. I don't know. I'll see when I get there. I just know it's a heck of a place to play a football game. It's always fun when you go there. Their fans are really into it. It's a tough football team. Really a challenge for us.”

On replacing Gordon’s ability to score:

“Yeah, it's hard to replace his production because he's a heck of a player, but we will go with [RB] Austin [Ekeler], [RB] Justin Jackson and [RB] Detrez [Newsome]. I have a lot of confidence in those guys, we all do. I think they'll step up and we're looking for them to do a good job.”

On if RB Austin Ekeler will play less special teams:

“Yeah. That's what you hate is you take Austin, your best special teams player, off of teams. That can hurt coverage a little bit. We have guys that are going to be given a heck of an opportunity to step up and make some plays. Those coverage units have been pretty good this year. [LB] Tre'Von Johnson, he's getting better. Other guys that will have multiple opportunities on Sunday.”

On RB Justin Jackson:

“[When watching film, I saw the] same thing I saw on Sunday. Fresh legs. He's a good runner. Very instinctive guy, intelligent football player. You can use him in a lot of different ways. He's a better receiver than what most people think. He's a good talent.”

On playing at Heinz Field:

“We played there a few times when I was with the Jets. It was just the environment, the atmosphere, the tradition that they have at that place. I can't think of the name of the song they play in the third quarter — the place goes crazy. We went crazy, we liked it so much. It's going to be a fun experience for young guys that haven't played there before.”

On if his coaching philosophy changes as the weather does late in the year:

“I think the way we're built, we're built for this time of year, December. We feel like our defense, special teams can travel. We're very balanced right now, especially on the offensive side of the ball. I think our rush attempts are higher than our passing attempts as far as percentages. We feel like we can take our offense anywhere and play. We have guys on this team that have played a lot of cold weather games. I'm looking forward to that.”

On when Ekeler has proven to be the strongest player, pound-for-pound, on the team:

“We go through the off-season program, to you these percentages, weights, all this. We were very surprised how strong he was. I mean, pound-for-pound, strongest guy on our team. That's why you see him running through tackles, that's why you see him creating contact. He can do those types of things. He's not a big back, but he can still do those types of things.”

On if flying under the radar can galvanize a team:

“Yeah, I think when you grab those deals for extra motivation, I think it can backfire on you. I think these guys do a heck of a job playing for each other. That's all the motivation they need. They just show up every day. We have a goal, we have an agenda. Guys are staying focused, sticking to the plan. They're doing the little disciplines every day it takes to be successful on the weekend. That's kind of what we focus and emphasize.”

On when Ekeler first caught his eye in camp last year:

“San Francisco, last preseason game. His consistency. Every time he went in the game, the chains moved, every time. [I thought there has] got to be something to this. We kept him on the team, he became a really good special teams player. Every time we put him in there last week, he moved the sticks. Very consistent on what he does.”

On if Ekeler was on the roster bubble last year:

“He was on the roster bubble, absolutely. It was that game that he made the team.”

On if the team is better prepared to play without Gordon than earlier in the year:

“If you're going to miss a guy like Melvin, better do it later in the year because young guys have more reps, they've been around longer. I think those guys have been waiting on the runway, waiting, now they're ready to go. They can fill Melvin's shoes, not completely, but they can help until Melvin gets back.”

On Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger:

“He can make all the throws, he's very accurate. He's a scrambler. He made a lot of his plays off creating. We have to get him down. We have to get pressure on him first. The offensive line is doing a heck of a job, but we have to get Ben down because he's a strong guy. He can throw with five people hanging on him. He's [going to be] a Hall of Famer for a reason.”

On if NT Brandon Mebane will play this week:

“No, he will not. He's having some personal, family things that he's taking care of. His leadership is needed elsewhere.”

On C Mike Pouncey’s impact on the offensive line:

“It's good to have a guy like Pouncey on that front line. He does a lot communication-wise. His attitude, his mentality, his work ethic — it's contagious. It’s been a reason why we've improved in that area. Guys like Pouncey, [TE] Virgil Green that we brought in are doing a heck of a job.”

On the familiarity of the young running backs with the offense:

“Absolutely. They're veterans now. I tell them, ‘After three games, you're a veteran. No more rookie mistakes, no more rookie excuses.’ I think they're ready to play.”

On the differences between RBs Justin Jackson and Detrez Newsome”

“I would say Detrez is a little more powerful. He's built differently. He's a pretty explosive young man. Justin, he has more versatility. You can use him in the backfield, you can use him outside. I've been playing him wide receiver on scout team. He's been running some pretty good routes in practice. Has excellent hands. I think you can do more with Justin within our offense, but Detrez, he's a good runner.”

On the offensive success on Sunday:

“Well, guys executed. After the first 12 minutes of the game, the execution was off the charts last week. I look for signs of that, any shift, anything happen from the sidelines. It was just nobody flinched. That's what I like about this group, they don't flinch. They stay the course. When we were sort of clicking, we were clicking on all cylinders. No, I just think the execution really stood out.”

On the resiliency of the team:

“Yes, that they're very resilient. They can bounce back. They can forget about the past, stay in the present, take advantage of it.”

On playing on Sunday Night Football:

“It's nice to play at night with a nationally televised game so everyone can see you play. I'm okay with that. That's something I'm going to get used to around here. Our players, I think they like it, but it's just another game. We don't want to make it a bigger game than what it is because the game last week was just as important, in my opinion. So we want to stay in that mindset. I think these guys play well when they are loose and confident. I don't want guys uptight thinking about a nationally televised game. I'm not making it to be that at all. I think it's just another game.”

On the difficulty of playing on the opposite coast in cold weather:

“No. When you're an east coast team, you tell your team it's a problem, that's a problem. Try to get an advantage. Sunshine boys coming to a cold place, they can't play in the weather, all that. I've been mind tricked like that before. It doesn't work”. 

On the challenge of bringing down Roethlisberger:

“It's going tough to bring him down. That's his trademark. We have to do a good job of doing that and doing it clean. We won't want unsportsmanlike penalties. We have to get him down, but we have got to stay with our guys in the secondary. They're creating and making big plays in the secondary off scramble drills. It's going to be important. Move out the pocket, you got that coverage, stay with him.”

Q. What do you emphasize to bring him down?

“We have a Charger roll. We’ll wrap up and roll to keep our weight off the guy, get him down. We just have to be really good at that this week.”

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