Lynn: "This Game Will Come Down to Who Executes the Best"

HC Anthony Lynn talks with the media Wednesday about comparing last year to this one, preparing to rematch with Ravens.

On the difference between the 2017 and 2018 Chargers:

“I thought we were a tough team when we finished the season last year, but this year I think that culture kind of carried over. 8-0 [in games played away from Southern California]. Obviously, we were 12-4 this year, so we did something better. Thought the execution with the offense, our balance was much better. Defense did a heck of a job setting up and stopping the run. This year, we improved in those areas. So it was good to see all season trying to improve upon things and we did.”

On potential adjustments by Baltimore for this game:

“I'm sure they'll have a couple of adjustments. We played them less than two weeks ago. So if they have something for us, we'll have to adjust — but I think it's two teams that have played one another, this game's going to go down to execution and winning your one-on-ones.”

On preparing for the Baltimore offense:

“You know what they're going to do, but you still have to play disciplined and sound football because you play 11-on-11 with the quarterback's versatility.”

On the team’s success outside of Los Angeles this season:

“These guys, you know, we travel. [There is] something about playing in hostile environments — they just come together. They keep it tight. They have a unique skillset of eliminating distractions and staying focused. I have to give them credit for that.”

On how the team did containing Ravens QB Lamar Jackson in the last game:

“I think he had less than 40 yards rushing in the first game, so I thought we did a pretty good job of containing him, but the other guys got loose at different times. Overall, our defense held them under what their rush total was. It still wasn't good enough, but we can improve on that this week.”

On how playing in the Sunday playoff games versus the Saturday games:

“It helps to be in your regular routine. Anytime you can get the extra day for recovery, you know, that always helps. It gives you another day to prepare and plan. So they have the same advantage. I don't really see that as being an advantage, to be honest with you.”

On RB Melvin Gordon III:

“You know, we're going to look him [during] the individual [portion of practice] and see where he is. I think he's gotten better every single day, so we'll see.”

On if it’s an advantage or disadvantage to play a team that was played so recently:

“I don't think it's an advantage or disadvantage. Like I said, they have to prepare for us, we have to prepare for them. We're both familiar with one another. I think this game's going to come down to who executes best.”

On teaching the team what to expect for a playoff game:

“I don't think I can do that in a week. I want to approach this game just like any other game — but understanding that it is a playoff game, it's going to be a little more exciting. We've talked about it, different ways of handling anxiety and things like that. I just want guys to execute, focus on their fundamentals, their techniques and just execute.”

On if this is a time to prove this is a special team:

“I think so. I think this is why you do what you do in the offseason, when you train together ask do the team-building exercises. Our guys keep it tight and they're close, and it can show in the playoffs for sure.”

On the Baltimore blitz:

“Yeah, they do blitz more than any team that we've faced, for sure. They like to attack, but you have to make them pay. We didn’t do that the first time. If we can get that done this time, we’ll be good.” 

On game planning for the blitz:

“They've been blitzing all year. They blitz more than anybody in the National Football League, so we know where they're blitzing from and what they're doing, but you have to stand in front of them and block them. You have to win your one-on-ones and give us time to throw the ball down the field, give Melvin [Gordon] time to get on the safeties. We have to be better at those things this week.”

On if there is more focus placed on the blitz this time around:

“No, just this is an execution game to me. We talked fundamentals this morning. The guys just went through a walk through. The fundamentals were really good. Even in a walkthrough environment, you see the leverage and guys are just that focused and thinking about their assignments.”

On if losing LB Jatavis Brown for the season was helpful to get reps for backup players:

“It doesn’t help us with Jatavis being out. Jatavis has been steady all year long. He's one of our best linebackers and we're going to miss him. It's going to be hard to replace him.”

On the importance of good defensive line play:

“It's interesting you say that because we are counting on our defensive line [a lot]. They're going to have to get off blocks, make plays and play two gaps at times. So, yes, our defensive line will have to play well.”

On if the defensive line played well in the last matchup:

“Like I said, our defense held them to less than their normal numbers. I think the defense did play well enough, but obviously, we can improve.”

On if S Derwin James could play linebacker:

“Well, he's always been in the box. DJ, he’s not a linebacker, but he's always around the box. You don't want to take him out of his role because I think he's pretty good at his role. You may see [S] Jahleel [Addae] down more, but we have backups. Those guys have to step up and make plays. Just like we’ve been doing all year, it’s a next-man up mentality.”

On if he was surprised by Jackson’s throwing ability in the first game:

“No, not at all. I watched this young man in college. He threw for over 9,000 yards. He's a quarterback. He can throw the football.”

On if a more effective running game can ease pressure of the Baltimore pass rush:

“Anytime you can run the ball in January, it’s good. If you can run the football, there’s nothing that you can’t do. We need to be more efficient in the running game when we get our opportunities, for sure.”

On what it means for the team to keep it tight on the road:

“I don't mean tight as in tense. It's just they're like brothers. They love one another. They play for one another. It's cool to watch the relationships we have in our locker room and on our football team.”

On TE Hunter Henry:

“As I said earlier in the week, we're going to give him reps this week, evaluate him at the end and see where he is.”

On if he believes in holding some plays back for a possible next game:

“No, there is no next week when you make it to this tournament. If you've got something — I'm not holding anything back, I'll tell you that.”

On if Henry would be on a pitch count if playing on Sunday:

“Sure, he would be on a pitch count. He hasn’t been on a football field since April.”

On the type of players on this team with playing in a temporary stadium:

“They’re tough and they’re good football players. We don't care when we play, who is there — we show up and play ball. Those guys compete and that's what they've done all year.”

On playing in Baltimore:

“It's a hostile environment. They have a great fan base and they're loud. I've played in the playoffs there before. It's pretty cool. I think the guys are going to enjoy it. It will be fun.”

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