Wildcard Week: Turner talks Titans

Wildcard Week: Turner talks Titans

Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner talks about this weeks play-off game against the Titans.

(on entering the playoffs on a six-game winning streak)

Turner: "I just think it's a whole new deal because everyone starts fresh. I've said it over the last few weeks to people asking if we made the playoffs and who we're going to play, when you get in the playoffs, you play a good football team. It doesn't matter who it is. The teams that are playing have won a lot of games and all expect to win." 

(on what information he can take from the Chargers' first meeting with the Titans on Dec. 8)

Turner: "It probably gets like when you're in your division and you play a team twice in a short period of time. Obviously, when you're getting ready to play a team you're always trying to perceive how you would match up against certain people and what teams to. Obviously, when you've just played them a month ago, you've got a tape that shows a lot of those things."

(on whether the Chargers will prepare for Vince Young or Kerry Collins at quarterback)

Turner: "I don't know. It's a different offense and it's a different situation. We obviously have to prepare for both quarterbacks. We have to prepare for what the Titans do so well. They run the ball extremely well and they have good balance in what they do on offense."

(on the Titans being underdogs coming into San Diego)

Turner: " (Laughs) As you guys have said, we played that game four weeks ago and it was a physical game. Obviously, we were fortunate in the fourth quarter to have an opportunity to get back into it, and we were able to. So I know what kind of game it's going to be. I don't really pay much attention to what is being said or who is the favorite, or any of that stuff."

(on if Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson is more physically fresh at this point this year than last year)

Turner: "LT, I think, has more carries this time of year than he did a year ago. I think he has more touches. I know it's all the things he's had – he's had a high percentage of our offense. So we've tried to sub, rest him and take care of him. But he's like all the guys – 16 games takes a toll."

(on if the aggression between the two teams will go away or get worse in this game)

Turner: "I said after the game, the intensity of that game was like a playoff game. Both teams had an awful lot at stake in the football game, and that's the way it was played. You've got two great teams that take pride in stopping the run and running the ball. That makes for a very physical matchup."

(on how tough it is to adjust to cross-country travel for games)

Turner: "The fact that we're at home, the benefit for us is obviously our crowd, the emotion our crowd will bring to the game. We won't have to handle the crowd noise ourselves in terms of offensively. Other than that, I don't know that anyone cares about having to travel to play in one of these games."

(on how the addition of WR Chris Chambers put the finishing touches on his offense)

Turner: "There are a number of things that have helped us as a football team. Chris Chambers was a big part of that. He's given us a go-to guy, a big receiver, a veteran guy who steps up in clutch situations. A young guy coming through, Antonio Cromartie, I think has made a difference for us. Obviously, he's made a lot of big plays. Our right tackle, Jeromey Clary, came in six games ago and has played really well for us."

(on if he thinks Chambers' controversial fourth-down catch against the Titans was actually a catch)

Turner: "Yeah, I do. It was a close one. I've been on both sides of those close plays that end up having a great effect on games. Once it's officiated one way, that's what it is."

(on preparing young players for their first playoff game)

Turner: "The No. 1 thing, and I really, truly believe this about any big game, whether it be during the season or in the playoffs, is that it all comes down to preparation. That's the biggest thing we've preached to our young guys. Guys can get caught up in thinking about a lot of things other than the game itself. Preparation truly is the key for us."

(on if the Chargers' first-round loss to New England last year has stuck with his players)

Turner: "We're a very young football team. We have a large number of guys that are third, fourth and fifth year guys. I think that's experience, and I think you have to draw from every experience you've had. Hopefully that experience has helped everyone become better players and a better team."

(on the difficulty for a young quarterback to adjust in his first playoff game)

Turner: "I don't want to minimize it, but there are certain guys that have been in so many big games and they expect to be in big games, that I don't think it's as big an issue. I think everyone knows that every play becomes so critical. That adds to that kind of pressure that you have. But I think there are certain guys that expect to be in those games and play that way."

(on if he anticipates Vince Young having trouble in his first playoff game)

Turner: "He's played an awful lot of games."

(on if he recommended Tennessee to Kerry Collins when Collins was a free agent)

Turner: "Yeah. In fact, I think I was in on both sides of that one. I had some people that were calling me about Kerry. And I thought that for Kerry, it was a good situation. Jeff (Fisher) and I go way back. I've got a lot of respect for what Jeff does, how he operates, and what he's done as a coach. It would be a great opportunity to play for someone like him."

(on the Titans' defense)

Turner: "Well, you just look at what they've done against the rush and what they've done against the teams they've played. They're very, very physical. They're very well-coached. They pride themselves in taking away what you do best. They're just outstanding."

(on if the Chargers' 1-3 start this season ended up being a positive experience)

Turner: "Like I said, I think all the experiences you go through – we had to get to know each other, and probably had it been the other way, 3-1, we probably wouldn't have gotten to know each other as fast as we did. You're tested when you're in times of adversity. I like the way our guys responded to everything."

(on the backlash of Chargers' QB Philip Rivers' actions in Denver)

Turner: "Philip is a competitor. There was a lot of stuff going on both ways in that game. Most of it was at the end of the game when the game was over. In your division, there are some things going on. Like I said after the game, he's not the first guy who's gotten in a deal with someone. There are a bunch of them I've been around that never made it to ESPN because there weren't as many cameras around in the past. About anything you do out there now, someone's going to get on camera and they're going to talk about it after the game. Philip's an emotional guy, but he does a good job of restraining himself."

(on K Nate Kaeding's health)

Turner: "He did a great job of kicking field goals (last week). We haven't made a decision where we're going in terms of if he'll kickoff or not, but he really did a nice job kicking field goals for us. We obviously had Dave Rayner kick (off) because we wanted to protect Nate and make sure he didn't get rolled up on or hit again on the kickoff."

(on if he believes Tennessee was out to get Shawne Merriman in the previous game)

Turner: "Like I said, we've all said that. That was something that happened in the past. It was a month ago. We're just getting ready for this game."


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