San Diego Chargers hed coach Norv Turner addresses the New England media during his conference call on Wednsday, October 8, 2008.
Q: How do you explain your team's inconsistency so far this season?
NT: Obviously we've been up and down, when you lose to start the season on the last play of the game that leads itself to looking inconsistent. We've had good moments and we've had some times when we've struggled. The biggest thing I think [that is] what happens when you are not playing at a high level in all three phases and that's the number one thing we've had a tough time doing - where we've played well on offense, we've struggled on defense, where we've played good defense for a half we've struggled on offense.
Q: How much has the loss of [Shawne] Merriman hurt you defensively?
NT: You get into a situation and your going to have season where you lose some key plays. We've had some guys step up and play well. Jyles Tucker stepped in there and played well and then pulled the hamstring. That probably wasn't great timing but you're going to miss the impact plays that a guy like [Shawne] Merriman makes. That's part of this league and part of going through a 16-game season.
Q: Statistically your pass defense is, I think it's last in the league. With such a talented secondary how do you explain that?
NT: We have had some changes. We've plugged in a couple new guys and we played, the first two games of the season, two quarterbacks that where extremely hot and played at a real high level. Since those two games we've played better and hopefully we are improving in the secondary.
Q: What have you seen from LT [LaDainian Tomlinson] this season, I know he's been hampered by a bad toe, is that maybe the reason for his production being down thus far?
NT: LT [LaDainian Tomlinson] had a good game against Carolina and obviously Carolina, as people look at them now, in week one I don't know [if] people knew a lot about them. You look at them now and obviously they are playing at a pretty high level and are 4-1. They are a good run defense and LT had an outstanding game. He had 96 yards on probably 22, 23 carries, had some physical runs, had some slashing runs and looked awfully good. Unfortunately in the fourth quarter of that game he hurt his toe. He hyperextended it, turf toe, whatever you want to call it, it's swollen and it's sore. It's gotten better and I think he's getting close. He's getting back. The issue for us is obviously to get enough plays, move the ball well enough, convert enough third downs where we can get him his 20 [or] 25 carries. We did that in the [Oakland] Raider game and he got 100 yards and I think in that game started to get into a little bit of a groove. That's the biggest thing. A combination of getting him healthy, getting him 100 percent and then getting ourselves where we are playing at a level where we can get enough runs.
Q: What's your impression of the Patriots without Tom Brady?
NT: You look at them and most of the guys are the same guys that we've played the last few times we've played them. There's going to be an adjustment, you asked me about [Shawne] Merriman, there's going to be an adjustment when you lose a guy of Tom Brady's stature, of his ability and his leadership and all the things he's accomplished. I think you see improvement, I've seen confidence over the last four weeks and it was kind of a coming out game against San Francisco and Matt [Cassel] looks like he's getting a real feel for what they are asking him to do.
Q: I know it's not the start you probably wanted but basically the same thing happened last year and you guys got to the AFC Championship game. Does that give you guys something to draw on now that you're in this spot?
NT: A year ago there was a lot of newness to our team. I think everyone was searching and trying to figure out what the problem was. I think this year, as I said, we lost two games early in the year on the final play of the game so I think our guys know why we are in this situation. We know we have a challenging schedule ahead of us but I think the fact that these guys have had a lot of success and have been in situations where they've gone on a roll and won a number of games in a row, that's obviously what we're going to have to do if we're going to come out of this. First of all you have to win a game, then you have to get on a little bit of a role and win a number of games in a row.