Press Conference: Part II

In part II of the 11 AM press conference Marty Schottenheimer and John Butler talk about the direction of the team, the need for more youth ad thoughts on only eight original Chargers Draft picks surviving the pre-Butler days. <br><br> Part III in our press conference coverage will be up later tonight.

Are you getting better?

Butler: "I think we are getting better, there is no question about it. Do you wish you had some of those people back here to be a part of it, yes. Is there times when other younger people come in and are better, yeah they are. That's all part of it too so, its coming on us like it is each and every year to bring in the best talent possible for the Coach here. I feel so great about the coaching and coaching staff I feel very good about. Coach brought it to my attention several weeks ago I didn't realize we were that young, 25 out of 53 are under two years. They are going to get better. I think there are some real good signs right here. We still have to learn how to win and that is something we talk about all the time. That is just still, that last part of the season, it's going to be fixed by hook by crook, I don't know but it's going to be fixed cause there is too many good players, too many good things here to be going through that."

On the secondary changes?

Schottenheimer: "When you finish 32nd in the NFL in pass defense, I think that is the place to start."

On Ryan McNeil to free safety?

Schottenheimer: "We have had discussions about that; he has been very willing to do that. He said, ‘Coach I will put on five more pounds and I will be ready to go. Whatever you want to do, whatever you think will help us win.' The other side of it is we are going to take Rogers Beckett and probably put him at strong safety along with Vernon Fox. It's not inaccurate to say we have some work to do."

Need for another corner?

Butler: "No question."

Schottenheimer: "But I happen to think, now this is all based on my experience, I think we have some young people there, Tay Cody has a chance to help us, Kevin House has a chance to help us, Tony Okanlawon has a chance to help us. Will they all become Pro Bowl players, I doubt that they will, but we happen to think that they have an opportunity to help us be a better football team in the secondary than we were a year ago."

Get rid of losing mentality:

Butler: "There are so many players here that I admire, good players here that, that is quite erroneous. We want to get the best players we can, and keep the best player and we try to do that, and as I said before, you just don't know if it will always work out. It takes two. I just want the best possible players we can have here and be able to work with us in the system we have setup here."

Free agents in mind:

Butler: "It remains to be seen who we can get. In all honesty they probably will be younger. Several young men who have left had ten years in the league. That is a long time in the league. A lot of people never get that long."

Schottenheimer: "I like to think that you look forward with us there will be ten rookie players on this football team in the season upcoming. That's combined Draft choices and free agents. The ability to find the young players, like Jason Ball is an example, in free agency as well as in Draft choices your continuing to lay one building block upon the other. When you're a true coach as I consider myself to be, it's fun to be involved with young guys working to get them better day by day by day."


Butler: "Your retooling all the time, you see it all the time in the league. I think that true of a lot of teams in the league. There is that constant change especially at the bottom. Those young players become special teamers, and then they become starters before that takes place."

Rebuilding vs retooling:

Butler: "Anybody that leaves, I sit with somebody I admire very much (Coach Schottenheimer) and we talk this over and we don't ever want him to be without players to keep from doing the things he has a chance to do. It's so important before we make anything, maybe we don't always have the answers on who's coming in, but at least the coach feels comfortable with what he has to go to work with."

Schottenheimer: "In the NFL today, you try to create this environment where you teach and you learn and they do things. I think what you get is there is an uncertainty with any young player till he goes out and performs and who would have imagined for example that Jason Ball would step up and perform the way he did. What you are trying to do is get players in a position where they can make plays. My feeling is that some of these younger players that had been here now second year going into their third year will have a chance to emerge and these kids that were rookies now have an opportunity to get better and we have to continue the infusion of some of these younger players. The bottom line for me though is this: I, like John, I have never been involved in a rebuilding program, ever in my coaching career, never. When you are talking about rebuilding programs, you're saying that we're not looking at this year, we are looking at the year beyond and that's not what we're doing."

Young players build for the future, not today?

Schottenheimer: "I have never taken that approach in any position, at any time in my coaching career."

Have you seen a team go to the playoffs with 10 rookies?

Schottenheimer: "When you look at it, they are not all starting for ya. I think that we can find teams that go to the playoffs that have ten rookies on their roster. You know there may be only four of them starting, but the other six are contributing in some fashion. They may not be on the active gameday, but at some point in time in there, they may make a contribution."

Butler: "We had a lot of them last year. We didn't get to the dance, we missed it by a couple, but we are getting there. Like coach said, all ten of them rookies aren't going to start. All the rookies this year will be second year and much better."

Original Chargers Draft picks before you got here

Butler: "All I can remember back then was being excited to be here and the challenge of it. I think on the Draft part of it, Bobby traded away a lot of things didn't he? I don't know the whole history, but we got some people here like tackle Vaughn Parker, pretty damn good football player.

"I haven't really looked down, looked at the history of it. I did not realize that number (only 8 original Chargers Draft picks left from before Butler arrived)."

Schottenheimer: "Your three year, four year, five, that's when these guys generally are considered to be ready to go and win. From my point of view, and all the focus is on the players right now, but I still think we need to do a better job of coaching, I've said that and I believe that. It's a lot more difficult now because of free agency to build these things in my mind and yet I think you find that some teams come from nowhere, and BANG, they win it. I mean look at St. Louis and I think that's the kind of hope that all of us have as we recognize and go through this difficult time when you're making all these changes. I think it is a matter, as we look at it, it is important to look at where we are going, not where we've been."

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