Chargers conference calls

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Chargers Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer **

(on choosing Chargers quarterback Drew Brees as the starter over Phillip Rivers) "I think that he's more prepared to play right now. Phillip has made some progress. He was 13-for-13 in the last half of this last game, but I think Drew is just more prepared to go play now."

(on if Rivers would be the starter if he wasn't a training camp holdout) "I really can't say that. I know the young man works very hard. He's got terrific instincts for the game but it's impossible for me to say whether he might have done that or not. I just don't know."

(on the Chargers' aggressive defense) "I think probably when you look at our defensive football team the transition to the 3-4 has created some problems for us, but in the overview we're much better for having done so. I think Quentin Jammer has really reached a point now going into his third year, albeit only two training camps. He is really beginning to emerge as a much improved player. Terrence (Kiel) and Sammy (Davis), two of those Aggies, they're both making good progress as well. But overall I think the defense has played quite well in most areas but there are still some places where we consider ourselves to be vulnerable where we need to have significant improvement."

(on switching to the 3-4 scheme with young players) "You can never with any certainty predict how young players are going to develop. It was the middle of last year when Quentin Jammer for example began to play with more confidence. I think that's what it really comes down to, confidence in what you're doing so you don't have to think about it. You don't concern yourself about the outcome, you just go do it … I've been pleased with this defense. We've got pretty good team speed on defense and they have been quite aggressive. I think the nature of this defense; it enables you to do that."

(on Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson) "For an extended period of time here I referred to LaDainian as one of the best backs that I've ever seen. About midseason a year ago I made the statement, and I stand by it and I believe it, (that) he's the best running back that I've ever seen in my football career. I mean the guy is absolutely remarkable in everything that he does. He's got the skills you look for as a runner. He's an accomplished receiver. He's got the ability to take a short play and make it a long play. I remember a couple of years ago up here we had a situation where he made a couple of guys miss and he ran off with it. He's got tremendous skills. The good part about it is given the nature of the young man it's never going to affect him. He's always going to strive to improve."

(on his team's expectations and attitude) "I think it's pretty positive. The fact remains that we went 4-12 last year and we're in the process of developing our football team and I've been quite pleased the way the dynamics of it have gone. I think we managed to get through training camp with a limited number of significant injuries. As we get ready to go play our first game I think we're as healthy as we can expect to be. Yet we know the history down there with Houston. They've won both of their openers against considerable betting lines. But I've studied every aspect of what they do over the past three weeks and I've been very impressed."

(on Texans' running back Domanick Davis) "The guy that really impresses me is Domanick Davis. I knew he was a good player but he's an even better player than I imagined."

(on stopping Davis) "Well I think he's got the ability to change direction very quickly and of course not withstanding the fact that he's not regarded by some as being a real big back he is a guy that's got terrific power. He finishes his runs. He doesn't get knocked back very often. He's got the ability to finish those runs. I know a little bit about the way coach (Joe) Pendry coaches those offensive linemen. Joe's one of the best I've ever been around. I have every reason to expect that they're going to be able to run the football effectively this year. Of course I think that Davis will be a big part of that."

(on Texans' quarterback David Carr) "I like his ability to make the decisions quickly. It's apparent that his accuracy improved considerably and I think he's making the right decisions now. Of course what they've done (is) they created opportunities for him because of the quality of the receiving corps. His accuracy is the thing I noticed to be the most different from two years ago."

(on Brees and Rivers' development) "Well my hope is that we'll continue to perform well on offense throughout the season. I know for a certainty that if Phillip never sees the field this year we're going to fend pretty well."

(on young players) "You know we've got a number of young players and this is the second year in a row we've had a number of these young players. You're never sure how they're going to respond as events unfold but I really like the character of this football team."

(on developing a young quarterback) "I've always said they don't get better unless they play the game, but there's a caveat to that. That is you don't want to put them in ahead of their time because if you do you run the risk of 'A,' struggling offensively and more importantly it might create a lack or absence of confidence. The way we did it in Cleveland with (Bernie) Kosar is we had another starter early on … I think the fourth or fifth game Bernie went in and the rest is history. My expectations are here however is it might take him a little longer to get in the lineup. But that's why we go out and practice everyday."

(on former Texans linebacker and current Charger Steve Foley) "Well, we liked his athletic ability for a man of his size. I think first and foremost in the course of us going into the 3-4 we knew that we needed to have more depth at the linebacker position. We have been delighted with his play. He plays with great energy. He's all over the field. We rate players based on if they win for you, can you win with them, and he's a player that we think he can win for us. He's been most impressive throughout his time here."

(on his history with the 3-4 scheme) "My nine years in Cleveland and my first three or four years in Kansas City that's all we played, was a 3-4 … I've got 12 or 13 years, maybe 14 years of it and I quite frankly was giving serious consideration to it going back even as far as last season when I watched some of the things that we were not getting done and some of the things other people were. It becomes very hard to find some of these big defensive lineman and I like speed on defense. So that defensive personnel gives you more speed."

Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson

(On what makes him the best back in the NFL) "I just have a lot of confidence in my abilities. I don't know if I have a true weakness at this point and time in my career. I don't think there is anyone else in the game who can do the things I can do on the field.

(On the San Diego offense spreading the ball around a little more, and not relying on him so much) "I think that's thing we're going to try and focus on more this year, spreading the ball around more. A lot of people are probably going to key on me, so it's important that we spread the ball around and get some other people involved."

(On the quarterback situation being resolved before the season starting) "It's a confidence thing when a quarterback knows he's the number one guy. He doesn't have to look over his shoulder. He knows he's going to be leading his team into battle. I think it's great that we got that out of the way."

(On the differences the Texans exhibit on film compared to two years ago) "I think their guys are more experienced. They've been together for awhile now. There is nothing you can do to surprise me. The simple fact is that they are veterans, and that they know exactly what they're supposed to be doing on every play."

(On the Chargers players from Texas coming back to play in front of family and friends) "We are (happy to come back to Texas). It's not often that we get to come back home and have our families watch us play. We're awfully excited about that opportunity."

(On Philip Rivers) "Phillip is a really smart quarterback. He has really come along in the last two weeks, or whatever. When he first go into camp, of course there are some things you're going to struggle with, once he picked up the offense like he figured he would, it really looked a lot better."

(On being aware of the Texans unbeaten record on opening day) "That is something we know. Those guys are always well-prepared for their first game. That's the way you want to be. It's going to be a challenge."

(On adjusting to defenses that key on stopping him) "I just have to find ways to beat people when I'm matched up on them. I can pretty much recognize who is covering me. I have to be able to beat them."

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