HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
When you go back and watch the tape, are there things you wish you would have done differently last night vs. the Raiders and what are some of those things?
“Yeah, I mean every game you coach in, you always have those thoughts, win or lose, you always have those thoughts. I can’t go through a list of those right now. I thought that our guys fought very hard. They played hard. In the end, you know, Oakland did a little bit more than we did. They came out on the winning end. Give them credit, they did a good job in the fourth quarter. We didn’t do as good of a job in the fourth quarter. We just need to, like I said after the game last night, regroup on Wednesday and move on to San Diego.”
What happened on the touchdown pass to Raiders FB Jamize Olawale? Was it a miscommunication on defense?
“I think with both teams – I think we caused them some communication problems. I think they caused us. I think you got two good offensive staffs, offensive players, groups of players going at each other. I think on that play that you’re talking about, I think a couple missed tackles maybe had a shot to get the guy down on the ground. Just didn’t make the play. They made the play. I just thought it was a really good football game. I’m very proud of our guys. Our guys played very hard. It was tough to come out on the losing end. Like I said, there’s a lot to build on from the game. There’s a lot of season left. We’re actually really looking forward to Wednesday and getting back to work.”
Were you encouraged by the play of WR Braxton Miller?
“Yeah, I thought Braxton played his best game. I thought he played his best game. He did a lot of things that wouldn’t even show up on the stat sheet. Obviously, he had some catches and a touchdown catch where he ran a really nice route on that play. Blocked well in the running game. Did his job very well.”
Is there a little extra disappointment losing last night’s game if you feel like you had a good game plan and mostly executed it well?
“Yeah, look, I think that it’s tough to say this after a loss but in many ways we played a really good football game in all three phases. We made some mistakes, obviously. I took some chances. Some of them worked out. Some of them didn’t. But I thought the players overall in all three phases, there’s a lot to build on from the game. So I think that’s important for all of us in here to understand, that we’ve got a lot of season left and a very tough opponent coming up. There’s a lot to build on from this game.”
What are the challenges of facing Chargers RB Melvin Gordon?
“Melvin’s having a great year. He’s a downhill runner. He’s got the speed to get to the outside. He’s got size. I coached against him when I was at Penn State and he was at Wisconsin. He’s got size and speed, breaking tackles. He’s very comfortable in their system. He’s a big key to their offense. I think the whole offense runs through Phillip Rivers, who I have a ton of respect for. Excellent quarterback. Then I think Melvin Gordon is the guy that kind of sets the tone for them with the running game, so it’s going to be a big challenge for us.”
Why do you think their running backs were able to pile up so many receiving yards? How can you watch out for that in the future?
“I think with some of them - the wheel route was a long-yardage gain, there were some missed tackles. Give them credit. They did a good job. They did catch a lot of passes. The receivers we knew coming into the game were a big threat. I thought, you know, we had some missed tackles. But again, running back-wise for them, they’ve got talented players. Now, on the other side of it, on a positive note, we held them to 30 yards rushing. So, in the last three games we’ve done a good job against the run, but last night their running backs did a good job against us in the passing game, no doubt about it.”
Now having a chance to go back and look at a couple things like WR DeAndre Hopkins’ non-touchdown and the third- and fourth-down runs and their spots, do you have any new thoughts on what you think you see or how those were officiated?
“No, I don’t have any new thoughts on that. I said what I said after the game. I think it’s a game where there’s a lot of human element in the game. I look at myself first. Obviously, what can I do better? Officials do the best they can. The officials are good guys. They try to communicate with us. It’s just the nature of the game. So, I’m going to leave it at what I said last night.”
Regarding the human element, on the fan side of that with the stuff that was thrown on the field and the laser, is there anything you think can be done differently or how that could be handled?
“I didn’t really know too much about that after the game. I had heard a little bit about it, but in the whirlwind of the game you’re focused on the game. It doesn’t even enter your mind that someone would bring a laser into a game and point it at one of your players. So, that wasn’t something that I was really thinking about after the game, it was said to me briefly. Now, having thought about it a little bit more, I think that’s terrible. I don’t know what you can do about it. It was a great atmosphere. The crowd was so into it. It was a really good trip other than the game, obviously, for us to go there. There was a lot of energy in that stadium, I thought it was a great atmosphere. But I’m not sure what you can do about it. I’m not a security person but I just think that’s terrible that somebody would actually even think about doing that. Lamar (Miller) got it pointed at him, obviously Brock (Osweiler) pointed at him. I mean, that’s just terrible.”
Can you talk about the game DE Jadeveon Clowney had last night?
“He played very well. He had tackles for loss. If there was some type of category for, I don’t know what you would call it, like a disruptive, something like that. He was very disruptive in the game even when he didn’t make a play. He’s having a good year for us and the key for him is, like all of our players at this time of the year, is staying healthy. I thought he really impacted the game last night.”
Obviously stopping the run is important, but it seems like every year at this time it seems to be even more important. Do you agree with that?
“I think that’s a great question. I think that there’s a lot of reasons for that. I think what happens late in the year is if you’re really thinking about offenses that you’re going against, quarterbacks are starting to get into a rhythm and so I think it’s important for them to be off schedule. One of the ways to keep them off schedule in addition to tight coverage, sacks, those types of things, it’s to stop the run. To put them in second-and-long, third-and-long. Stopping the run is very important. I think your team on both sides of the ball, whether it’s running the football to possess the ball. Last night we possessed the ball for 36 minutes. We didn’t win the game, but we did possess the ball for 36 minutes. A lot of that had to do with our running game. I think when you possess the ball late in the year like we’ve done the last few games, I think that can end up being good for you. I think in the end, your teams can be defined in three ways. It’s your coverage units on special teams and then your ability to stop the run and your ability to run the ball basically when you know what’s coming. I think that’s how you define it. Hopefully we can keep it going because we’ve done a good job of that and then obviously get on the winning side of these things.”
After watching the tape, what did you think about QB Brock Osweiler’s performance?
“I thought he played a good football game. I thought that he did a number of things that were really good. He delivered the ball on third down. I think we were 50 percent. There’s some things we can do better on third down as a unit, but I thought he did a nice job on third down. I thought he directed the offense very well. I thought he made some good down field type throws, in cuts, things like that I thought were really good. I thought that he scrambled very, very well. The one on the sideline where he lowered his shoulder on the guy and then we went for it on fourth down and got it. That was a big scramble. Good play. I think he played one of his better games.”
How’s OLB John Simon doing?
“He’s pretty banged up. I think that would be something that we’ll have to see later in the week here, but he’s pretty banged up.”
There’s an article out today that DE J.J. Watt wrote. He talks about recharging and getting ready to come back. He also mentioned some injuries such as a serious staph infection. Do you have details?
“I really try not to get into too much of that. If you want to ask J.J. about it, obviously you can do that. Look, J.J. is working very hard to be back here in 2017. I don’t think he will be back here this year, although, technically you could bring him back in January or something like that. But, we aren’t going to do that. He will be back in 2017. He’s in the building today. He’s in good spirits and working hard to be better than ever in 2017. As far as the list of injuries and all those things, that’s probably a better question for him.”
Would you get DE J.J. Watt down here so we can ask him?
“That’s not my lane. I try to stay in my lane.”
You had mentioned QB Brock Osweiler scrambling in addition to the way he played. Do you think that was overall one of his better games that you have had him for? Also, how do you feel about him lowering his right shoulder on that run?
“I think he does play the game in an intelligent way, so when he does something like that, he’s doing it to try to make a play for the team. I thought the way he leveraged himself on that play was OK. You don’t want him doing that four or five times a game, but it was right there at the first-down marker. I thought he made a heck of a play. And, yes like I said, I think he played one of his better games and I think if he can continue to keep getting more comfortable, better and better with our offense, you are going to see improvement every week.”
Is the consolation for losing that you are in first place in the AFC South? Also, talk about the key to your road map the rest of the season considering you still control your own destiny?
“I think we are still in good shape. It was a tough game to lose. I can tell you that. I look in the mirror and think about things that I could have done better overall. I think the players played their hearts out. Tough game to lose, but at the same time, there’s a lot to build on from that game, if that makes sense. There were a lot of good things done in that game by the Houston Texans. There is a lot of season left, very, very good San Diego team. Another team coming off a bye, which is difficult. We will have a short week here with Thanksgiving, but I know our guys will be energized and ready to go. The feeling in that locker room after that game was there’s a lot of football left and a lot to build on from that game. So, being in first place is a good thing. The other teams in the division are playing pretty decent, so we have to understand what is coming down the road here. The first thing is San Diego and getting a good start on them on Wednesday.”