Lead blocker, born leader

Fullback Lorenzo Neal not only leads with his shoulder but also brings playoff and Super Bowl experience to the table. The San Diego Chargers will lean on that this week as the Jets come to town.

(on if the short week has changed anything) "I don't think so. We just moved everything up a day. The game is on Saturday now. Today is our off day. Tuesday will be a Wednesday. I don't think we lose anything. We know that we are going to play the Jets. It's a big week for us preparing. But as far as us changing anything, I don't think so at all."

(on trying to stay calm for upcoming playoffs) "Emotions have been flying all week. That is just the nature of the game. You are in the dance and you have the opportunity to keep dancing. Each week gets bigger and bigger. You just tell everyone that it is a football game. Win or lose, life still goes on. Maximize this opportunity. You don't get to the playoffs that much. I have been in the league 12 years now and have been there three times. It doesn't come that often, so you have to savor theses moments. This is a big week for us. We have to go out there and prepare and do the small things. Don't try to change your game plan. Don't try to be the hero. It's about taking care of the small things and the big things take care of themselves."

(on the playoffs and facing the Jets) "Without a doubt, we're excited. We feel we can beat the Jets, and they feel they can beat us. They've already done it. They beat us early. I think both teams have changed since then. This is an opportunity for us to step up and be on the 5 o'clock game on national television. We're excited about the chance to play the Jets. They're coached well—Herm Edwards is a good coach—and we're coached well."

(on if the Jets have changed for the better since Week 2) "When you get in the playoffs, it's one game and you're eliminated. The last couple of games they've scored some points and lost. They had a close game with the Rams. Once they knew Buffalo lost, maybe their mentality was, ‘Hey guys, we're in.' It's a situation where we went on a streak, and they had some adversity strike. We can't go out there and think about that. It's not about the record. In the playoffs, the energy level changes. In the playoffs, they're thinking, ‘We've got a chance for the Super Bowl.' I remember playing in Tennessee and we had to go on the road two weeks in a row to get to the big dance. In the playoffs, everyone is on the same playing field."

(on going into the playoffs with a win) "I like to win. Yesterday was big for us to see those young guys step up and play as well as they played against Kansas City. We showed this is a team with a lot of depth. Our fans saw how we can play with the younger guys. Those guys stepped up. It gives us confidence that we'll have success no matter who is in there as long as we stay together as a team. That's what the coaching staff has been preaching to us. Winning breeds success. I‘d rather go in the payoffs on a winning note."

(on what he noticed about his first playoff game with Tennessee) "I noticed the game was a little faster. I remember playing Buffalo and we had them down and they came back in the game. It's a four-quarter game. Teams take desperate measures. We were down under a minute to go in the Music City Miracle. That was a situation when the game was over. Buffalo advances, and we're at home. So special teams is big. That play went 80 yards. We caught it; (Frank) Wycheck threw it to (Kevin) Dyson; and the rest is history. You take that play away and Tennessee doesn't go to the Super Bowl. This week it's not just about offense or defense but also special teams. You have to play well on special teams, offense and defense. That's what's I remember. Everything counts. You can't give up the huge plays. You've got to take care of the ball. You've got to do the small things or they come back to haunt you."

(on 11 of the Chargers' 12 wins coming against non-playoff teams) "I hope everyone says this team hasn't played anyone and is easy to beat. We believe in ourselves. We don't have to have everyone believe in us. We do our talking on the field. That's how you get respect. Our record is what it is. Let's just get it on and see if the Chargers are for real. I like our chances."

(on the Chargers not receiving much national respect or attention) "I think it plays to our advantage. Yeah, we're not the media darling; yeah, we haven't been to the playoffs in 10 years; yeah, we're not the team everyone is talking about. But when people turn on the film, they know the Chargers are for real. They can see the way we play. They can see we're aggressive and we get after it. They know it's a heavyweight fight and we get knocked downed we get back up. We haven't been blown out this year. Coaches watch film and players watch film. It's no mystery. We're not just getting lucky. This is a team and that's what it's all about. Coaches and players around the league respect us. We have an opportunity to show fans, media, coaches and players alike that we're a good team."

(on changes for the playoffs) "If it's not broke, don't fix it. The offense is rolling throwing the ball and running the ball and we're doing good things on defense. I'm a strong believer that offense entertains, but defense wins games. And our defense has been playing great. They're shutting down runners and doing what we have to do to keep us in the game. We feed off each other. That's what it takes to have success in this league. You have to have guys who get along and believe in each other."

(on how the Jets won the first meeting with the Bolts this year) "I think they came out and jumped on us. As a team, we were still gelling at that time. The better team won. We can make excuses, but we didn't' play as well as we would have liked to. They threw the ball better and ran the ball better. That's how the game of football works. They were a better team at the time, but we've gotten a lot better. We're looking for redemption with an opportunity to beat a team that has beaten us."

(on comparisons between the Chargers and his Titans team that went to the Super Bowl) "In Tennessee, we didn't have the big standout receivers or the big, huge-name guys. We had Eddie (George) and Steve (McNair), but this team is kind of the same way. On defense, we have a bunch of blue-collar guys who hit you hard. It's not about having a bunch of stars. It's about having a bunch of guys with the same goal and playing with one heartbeat."


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