Norv Turner: Slow Starts Hurt Chargers

Chargers head coach Norv Turner talked to the media this week about the impact of the Chargers' slow starts this season. And see what he has to say about running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Joseph Addai, linebacker Shaun Phillips, San Diego's 3-4 defense and much more.

On RB-LaDainian Tomlinson...

"The great thing about L.T. is what you see on Sunday is what you get every day of the week. He's been that type of player since he joined the Chargers seven years ago. He's a veteran player and understands the ups and downs of an NFL season. He hasn't slowed down a bit. He's at the top of his game, and people are treating him that way."

On LB-Shaun Phillips...

"He's an outside linebacker, pass rusher, plays defensive end in our nickel package, and he's having a real good year. He obviously wasn't able to play last Sunday, and when you lose a player like him, it has an effect, and we missed his presence on the field."

On if he will be back this week...

"Yes. He was close (at Minnesota). It was a muscle strain. We actually played Quentin Jammer, had a similar injury, and he had to come out in the middle of the second quarter. You really compound it if you try to rush those guys back."

On San Diego's 3-4 defense and if part of what makes it so successful is not knowing where the pressure or blitz may come from...

"You'd like it to be. There are a number of teams playing 3-4 and people all play it different, but the number one thing you're trying to do obviously is create matchups and create one-on-one matchups. And maybe if they're not sure where you're coming from, maybe you get a guy to set in a little late to it or just a touch of confusion that gives you a little bit of an edge."

On what you tell your team after having given up so many rushing yards...

"One of the strengths of our football team is our ability to stop the run, and that's what we've been doing this year at a high level. When a team does what happened Sunday, there are a lot of things that have to go into it, I'm sure like what happened a year ago (when the Colts played at Jacksonville). Offensively, we weren't able to sustain drives. We weren't able to keep our defense off the field. At the end of the half, I think Minnesota had about 70 yards rushing. So they were going to have a good day, but it shouldn't have been like that. And then once (Adrian) Peterson broke the first long run, he got going, they got going. As I said, we had chances to score points in the first half offensively, and I think had we, they might not have been able to be so patient with the run. So there are a lot of things that go into it. We certainly have to play better run defense, we have to tackle better, and those are things we're addressing. But it's not like those are things we haven't done before. Those are things we did just the week before that."

On if the season has been that way—inconsistency a big problem...

"The biggest thing for us, obviously we got off to a slow start. We beat Chicago in a real physical game. And then like a lot of teams, came up against New England, and at that point what they were doing was relatively new to everyone in the league. We did not play as well as we felt we were capable in that game, and we lost close games after that. We lost a close game to Green Bay. We were actually ahead of Kansas City at halftime and had three or four turnovers in the second half that took us out of that game. Then we got on a stretch where we won three in a row. I thought we were getting back to being our old selves, and then obviously we struggled Sunday."


Joseph Addai
Brett Coomer/AP

On RB-Joseph Addai's development...

"I was the coach in the Senior Bowl when Joseph played in that, so I got to know him a little bit during that week, and I was extremely impressed with him. I really thought he was going to be a special player. I think he's fortunate to have been selected by Indianapolis because it's an offense that certainly fits him. He does a great job of running their zone plays, he's obviously an outstanding receiver, he has very good run instincts and he has outstanding quickness."

On if the possibility of WRs-Marvin Harrison and Anthony Gonzalez not playing changes the approach of defending the Colts offense...

"As good as those guys are, and I know, I've seen Marvin up close and personal and know how good he is and what he means to their offense, it doesn't appear to have slowed them down. They have such great balance now, the ability to run the ball, ability to be high-percentage, complete the balls in front and still have the big play ability. They're unbelievable on third down, so it's hard to get them off the field."

On if possibly without Harrison, if it lets the defense pay more attention to WR-Reggie Wayne or TE-Dallas Clark...

"I guess you can, but as I said, it hasn't slowed them down. I think probably if something like that happens, another player emerges because of it. I just see Dallas Clark having improved, improved, improved and just making pretty spectacular plays."

On his overall impression of the Colts...

"The biggest thing to beat a team of their caliber, you have to play a complete game. You have to play as good as you can play in all three phases. Certainly, we cannot turn the football over. We have to be able to get first downs, control the ball a little bit. Obviously, that's what Indianapolis does. And then the same things that happen in any game. We have to play great offense and defense in the red zone, we have to create as many turnovers and not give up the big plays."


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