SAN DIEGO -- In talking with reporters here on Monday afternoon, Chargers coach Mike McCoy said there’s enough talent on the roster to be a consistent winner.
However, his team is not doing the little things to win close games in the NFL. At 1-2, San Diego’s two losses are by a combined six points.
“There’s some little mistakes that hurt you in a football game that’s close like this,” McCoy said. “You see a lot of players making a lot of plays, doing their job the right way. And then there’s one little breakdown somewhere or another. But the bottom line is they’re getting better as a team, and that’s the most important thing.”
McCoy went on to say the Chargers have to do a better job of putting teams away at the end of games.
“In all three phases there’s a lot of good things,” McCoy said. “But there’s still too many little mistakes.”
McCoy mentioned the offense doing a great job of getting into field-goal position during the final couple minutes of the first half, only to have Nick Novak’s 38-yard attempt blocked by Bernard Pollard.
San Diego’s defense also gave up 10 plays of 15 or more yards against Tennessee’s offense.
McCoy did not place the blame for Sunday’s loss solely on the failure of his defense in keeping Tennessee out of the end zone at the end of the game. Instead, McCoy said it wouldn’t have come to that had San Diego’s offense converted a few more first downs.
“I’ll take any day to make a team go 94 yards in a two-minute situation, and put it on our defense to make a stop,” McCoy said. “But like I told the team, don’t get to that point. Don’t put it on the defense. Convert that four-minute situation, pick up a first down there at the end of the game, and then the game’s over. There’s no excuse there. We didn’t get it done.”
McCoy was asked how he expected to fix a defense that's giving up an average of 470 yards a game, second worst in the league.
“We’ve got the roster we’ve got,” McCoy said. “We’ve got personnel to win with, and we’ve got a lot of good players. We’ve just got to do our job better. It doesn’t matter on offense, defense or special teams, we’ve got good players here. It’s just a matter of everyone doing their job a little better.
“Don’t give up the big plays. Rush the quarterback a little bit better. Find a way to get to the quarterback, and good things will happen.”
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“It was called as a penalty, so it’s a penalty,” McCoy said. “That’s the answer I’m going to give you on all penalties, because they have to call it the way it is. We’re going to design certain plays that we think are legal in the way they can be run. And if they call a penalty, it’s a penalty. We can’t do anything now. It’s over with. So would he teach a different technique on that play?
“I wouldn’t tell Keenan to change,” McCoy said.
However, one thing McCoy would change is his quarterback, Philip Rivers, receiving a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the play, which backed the Chargers up to first-and-goal at the Tennessee 30-yard line.
“He’s a fierce competitor,” McCoy said. “And he regrets it today. It’s an unfortunate situation. You go from first-and-goal from the five where you think you’ve scored a touchdown, and then you have the pick and you have a 15-yard penalty, and so it’s first-and-goal on the 30.
“It’s tough sledding from there. ... I’m sure he’s said that plenty of times to the officials, or whatever happened or whoever he was talking with -- whether it was the fans or the officials or whatever. We’ve got to eliminate that. It killed the football team.”
McCoy took responsibility for middle linebacker Donald Butler being active for the game but not available due to a groin injury. McCoy said he expected Butler to be available for a limited number of snaps. But once he went through pregame warm-ups, Butler told McCoy that he could not go full speed. But at that point, the Chargers were past the NFL’s 90-minute deadline before game time to place players on the inactive list.
“We thought from Friday’s practice and Saturday’s walk-through that he’d be able to play on a limited basis,” McCoy said. “Looking back, I should have had him definitely go out there early Sunday morning, a lot earlier than he did. So that’s my mistake.”