ML: “Looking at the San Diego Chargers, they are obviously playing at a very high level on offense. I don't know many times I've ever seen a quarterback completing over 70 percent of his passes. I think that's the first thing you see. They’re running the football with three different backs, hard-running backs. Ryan Mathews runs hard. Danny Woodhead has done a great job. Ronnie Brown really is a complement to everything they do with their offense. Then you go to their receiving corps, and Keenan Allen has really emerged as a young player, very productive, big yards per catch. Antonio Gates and the other tight end, (Ladarius) Green, have done a nice job for them. They are really doing a good job, and this is probably for Eddie Royal one of the most productive years he's had in the NFL. All around, they are providing a lot of weapons for Phil Rivers to complete the ball to. So we are going to have to play excellent defense that way. Taking a look at their defense, they've had some injuries to some guys. They are playing with some newer guys, younger guys as of recently. But they have been playing in the same scheme there for a while now, with John (Pagano) as the coordinator. They understand what they are doing and how to do it. The defensive tackle, (Corey) Liuget, plays outstanding football, big, strong explosive. They got good people that way. In the back end, they are led by Eric Weddle, who does a good job coverage, and fitting in run support, and really is kind of the traffic cop to their defensive team. Really it's a real big test for us. We got to go play physical football and get after it.”
You’ve been going against Rivers since the 2004 Senior Bowl. How has he changed, even since last year?
ML: “He's playing very confident. The thing I see him doing is running for first downs, and extending drives probably more than I have ever seen him do. It started off in the first ballgame of the year against the Texans. He's doing that more than I have ever seen him do in his career.”
How big of a threat is Danny Woodhead?
ML: “He's a threat because he's a good interior runner, and he's a good receiver of the football. He understands the pass game. He runs routes like a wide receiver at times. He's not the long speed or that kind, but he's got good short area quickness. He's a very effective player that way.”
Do you do anything differently on a long trip to the West Coast?
ML: “The good thing this time is, we are coming off the time off. We have been able to point to this throughout. If it was earlier in the year, you talk to guys more about hydration and things like that – we are still a little bit. Make sure we get our rest and our sleep early in the week as we get there. We want to go on Friday to get acclimated as much as we can to the difference in time. It's like a 4:00 game for us. Put our mindset that way, but I think in modern-day travel there's not much to be made out of it.”
What’s your heath situation like?
ML: “We are about as good as you would hope to be at this point in the year. We’ve got to feel blessed, knock on wood, to be where we are at this point in the season. That you have to feel pretty good about.”
Any possibility of
ML: “We'll see.”
AD: “Just relaxed. Took some time off. I think that was good for everybody. It probably came at a good time for us. It gives us a good time to get guys healthy again. It's going to be big for us going into this last five-game stretch here.”
You've been through two season-ending stretches now. What did you learn from those?
AD: “We kind of see how we finished last year. We had a big stretch and won games that got us into the playoffs. So for us, we're in control of everything right now. This is a big five games for us. It's a big point in the season, because this is when you want to be playing your best. That's kind of what I've taken from the first two seasons being here. At this point in the season, it's make-or-break time for a lot of teams, and what's going to happen going into the playoffs and stuff like that. For us, our goal is to be playing well. Our goal is to win all five of these.”
They have a new coach but the same defensive coordinator. What do you remember from last year's game that you can apply to this week?
AD: “The defensive coordinator is the same, so they're doing a lot of similar stuff. We've got to start fast and keep scoring. Their offense has been playing well, so we've got to do some good things offensively. It's going to be a good test for us.”
You look at other quarterbacks to see what they do well. Have you ever looked at Rivers?
AD: “I've looked at him some. He's done a lot of really good things. I saw a stat today that he's completing 70 percent of his passes, so he's obviously doing something right, and getting completions, and finding ways to get his guys the ball. There are some things you watch and see that he does well. He's a guy that uses cadence well. That's one of the things you can take away, not only from playing the game. Just the little things you can do.”
You leave a day earlier for West Coast games. Is there anything else that changes for you in preparation?
AD: “It is a big travel. The game's going to be a little bit later from our time here. So a little extra focus that you have to bring with you.”
You've had some good games in that stadium including college:
AD: “I’m trying to think how many I've played up there. Including the pros, probably five games I think? Bowl games and playing San Diego State.”
Do you have any good memories from that stadium?
AD: “Yeah, there's some good games. We won a bowl game there, and won twice against San Diego State. There are some plays that I remember, and a couple big games that I had. It's been a fun stadium for me to play in.”
Coaches talked about doing a lot of self-scouting during bye week. Did you do any for your game?
AD: “Yeah, I looked at some things we've been doing well, and some things where we can improve. At this point in the season, the bye week came at a good time where we can look at what we've done so far, and where we can improve, and what we've been doing well, so we can keep trying to do those things. I did take some time and look at that kind of stuff.”
What's the biggest area where you think you can improve as an offense?
AD: “The last couple of weeks we've been behind the chains, had third-and-long situations which make it tough. If we can get these third downs shorter going in, I think it will help keep drives alive, keep finding completions and keep the chains moving.”
Are teams playing
AD: “I think that teams aren't going to be surprised by him. They know what kind of talent he has. We get different looks, teams play us different each week.”
AD: “Yeah, he did a lot of stuff in college. He's got a really good arm. When he's had his couple chances, he's made some good plays.”
Sanu says he doesn't warm up to throw. Have you encouraged him to do that?
AD: “If he doesn't need to, it's been working. So I wouldn't expect him to do anything different.”
What did you think of your mechanics in the first 11 games?
AD: “Mechanically, I feel like I've gotten better from where I was the last couple of years. Some of the throws I've made this year were throws I wasn't hitting the last couple of years. I can see areas I've improved. It's what I try to do each year.”
What does Thanksgiving mean to you?
AD: “Thanksgiving--there's a lot to be thankful for. For me, family, God's given me so much, and I feel just blessed to be where I am right now, not only playing the game of football, but I've got a great wife, I've got an awesome family, and so there's a lot to be thankful for.”
Any big plans for tomorrow?
AD: “We're just going to have Thanksgiving at the house, watch the games and kind of relax.”
Anything different in the practice routine?
AD: “Yeah, it's an earlier practice. For the most part, we're getting all the same work in.”