Q: You've mentioned the red zone the last couple weeks and you were two for four last week. Where do you feel like your progress is there?
TB: Well they're important plays. I wish we would be four of four but just missed a third down play there on kind of the scramble play and then had a third-and-1 at the one [yard line] and didn't get in. It's a small margin of error but I think we realize that. It's a tight space. There's a lot of tight throws. It's just something we've got to do a better job of. Those extra four points obviously are very critical and we'd love to convert more of them but we just haven't done as well as we're capable.
Q: How has your growth been with the receivers, especially Brandin Cooks, over the first seven weeks?
TB: Yeah, I mean we're putting in the work every day trying to get things right and those guys are working really hard. You couldn't ask any more of them, what they've done and what they're continuing to do on the practice field and the games. Everyone has contributed. I think everyone has made a lot of plays. It's been a lot of fun. We've had a good group. Obviously, losing Jules [Julian Edelman] is not ideal but a lot of the guys have rallied around and stepped up and tried to do a really great job for us and we just have to keep fighting through it. We're at the, obviously, close to the midway point and this is when we've really got to hit the accelerator because that's what the good teams do.
Q: Does your upcoming bye week come into play at all when looking at this week's game?
TB: Yeah, I think that bye week is just really a chance to re-evaluate where you're at. Knowing that this is the last game before that you want to finish on a high note and you want to go in feeling really good about what you've done. The problem is this team is - they're hot, they've won three straight, they've got a really good defense. There's nothing easy about it. It's a big challenge facing them but to get to 6-2 would be huge for this team and that's what we're going to try to do.
Q: How fast do you have to get rid of the ball against this defense because they can easily swarm the quarterback?
TB: Yeah, fast. Definitely [Joey] Bosa and [Melvin] Ingram and they've got a really good group of pass rushers. They get to the quarterback and they do it a variety of different ways and some of it's blitz but a lot of it is just beating matchups and those guys are very good one-on-one and it's a big challenge for our offensive line. We've faced a lot of good pass rushers and it seems like we say that every week, 'man, this team's got a good rush, they're coming after us' and this is another team that really has it. It's just what we're dealing with every week. So hopefully we can use some of the experience we've had these first seven games and really put it to work versus this group, which is really good. They really get after you. I'm not going to be able to stand back there and hold it forever. It's just a real good rush.
Q: You guys have had a lot of success on converting on third-and-long this year. What is the key to converting in those long situations?
TB: Yeah, you know we'd love to not be in those. We've been in them quite a bit. I think the penalties have put us in a lot of those situations - negative plays, sacks and so forth. Sometimes you get stuck there and it's not where you want to be and it's been great to be able to convert some of those, but we also know over the course of 16 weeks you really can't live in that spot. So you get away with it from time to time, converting, but at the end of the day third-and-16 is a good place for the defense to be and not really for the offense. I mean maybe you'll hit an in-cut every once in a while or a go-route or a post or something beyond the sticks but we've got to keep them manageable, especially against this team with a good rush. You can't, like I said, you're not going to be able to hold it all day. We just have to get it out and find the right guys on early downs and try to stay away from either negative runs or penalties and really stay on track and hopefully we can keep those third downs manageable.
Q: Is there a confidence in you guys that even though you might be behind the chains that you can still pick it up?
TB: Yeah, I mean we're always confident. We come back from, obviously, whether it's a third-and-long or whether it's being down 14 in the fourth quarter. I mean we've come back from a lot of situations. So I think whatever situation we're faced with offensively, whether it's a play or a drive or a quarter, we're confident if we do the right thing we can overcome it. Again, the margin of error is slim when you're really faced with those long odds but I don't think we're going to give up out there. I think we'll keep trying to go after it and hopefully we can make the plays.
Q: Have you ever had a running back group this deep?
TB: It's a great group. There's five guys in there and they all contribute in their own way and the versatility and I think the enthusiasm [and] the support for one another is really great to see. All of them had such a great week last week and they've had great weeks all year. I have a lot of confidence in those guys running the ball, catching it. They're all doing such a great job.
Q: Can you talk about Philip Rivers and your rivalry with him? He has been doing it a long time.
TB: Yeah, he's a great player. [I've] always admired Philip and he's a great passer of the ball. I think he does a great job of finding the receivers, the tight ends, he spreads it around. He's got a lot of confidence back there. He's really not fazed by much. He has kind of seen everything. I love watching their offense play. I think they do a good job involving everybody and Philip is always standing in there making the throws. That's really what you look for and he does a great job of that. He's a great player.