Q: How do you snap your offense out of this rut that you're in?
PEDERSON:"Well I think one of the first things you need to do is kind of get back to basics, kind of get back to fundamentals and get the guys kind of focused in that way. At this time of year, you're running some of the same schemes, same plays offensively. It's just a matter of going back and detailing those and working on the fundamentals in practice in order to get out of what we've been in the last couple of weeks."
Q: Earlier in the year you guys were one of the best red zone teams in the NFL. Is it just other teams are starting to figure out or have figured out what you guys are doing and you guys have to change and adjust?
PEDERSON:"I think we're still one of the best teams. I think we're four or something like that in the National Football League so that's pretty good too. I think that yeah, defenses get a little more stingy down there. You're seeing a lot more what we call drop eight, rush three drop eight into coverage and it's harder. Lanes become tighter down there to throw the ball in and we faced one of the top if not the top red zone defenses last week. It's a good learning tool. We can execute better. We know where the mistakes and breakdowns are. It's not so much what a defense presents, it's how we execute and how we handle those situations and we just have to get back and detail that work and come out this Sunday and execute down in the red zone."
Q: How much of that is Alex Smith's responsibility?
PEDERSON:"If there's opportunity to make a play obviously the quarterback has to make that play and we as a staff, we as play callers, we've got to put our team and our offense in the best possible situation based on what the defense is presenting. So ultimately, yeah the quarterback pulls the trigger and makes the decision, but it's not just one guy. It takes 11 to get the job done."
Q: Philip Rivers and that Chargers offense seem to be hitting a stride, how much of what you guys are going to do has to change to combat what they've been doing well?
SUTTON:"They're really the same team. They are playing, I think, at a really good level right now. I think Rivers is playing really well, evidence in the last game, particularly in the second half. He had a great game against the Niners. They are a hard team because they have a lot of weapons. Tight ends, obviously Antonio Gates has been a big factor in what they are doing. I think all the wide outs have stepped up and done a really nice job. You have to play both, they've been very consistent in their commitment to running the ball, they kept running. Obviously, when they got behind against the Niners they had to go more passing the second half. That's one thing they've done well all year, they've stayed with the run, stayed with the run. I think it's paid off for them."
Q: They don't really ever sit back, they commit turnovers and they keep attacking.
SUTTON:"Yeah, that's the nature of what they do. I think Rivers has been a great quarterback for that reason. He's not afraid to throw the ball into tight windows. I think one of the things he's done really well in the last two years was take advantage of the check down and the underneath routes probably more than he ever has. He has a big time arm and he can get a ball in, in tough situations. He's competitive, a very competitive guy. It's one of the things that makes him great and it's also one of the things that we have to try to take advantage of if he gets it into those real tight windows."
Q: What is the difference in turnover numbers versus the limited number of big plays, what's changed about the defense from last year to this year?
SUTTON:"We have less turnovers and fewer big plays, that's what the data has told me. I don't know if you can quantify all the things. I think we've talked about this before, turnovers are really hard to say, 'this is why turnovers are happening or this is why they aren't happening'. I don't think anybody in our league or business has had a great answer for any of that. We do know that the more opportunities you have with the ball being on the ground. Any time you can force the ball to be on the ground through a hit, strip or whatever you're going to increase. The more people that rally to the ball when it's up in the air, the better you're opportunities. I don't think I can tell you exactly why turnovers happen. Some of it is fortune, you're fortunate to be where a ball gets tipped. Tipped balls and high throws are what usually causes interceptions most of the time. Tight coverage, like you're playing a guy like Philip, he's going to throw a ball in tight coverage. So if you're on a man, one, you have to assume that even though I'm tight he still might throw me the ball. So that's going to give you an opportunity to make those kinds of plays. But to be very specific about why they happen, I don't think I can tell you."
Q: How much does Justin Houston change the dynamic of just a single play?
SUTTON:"I think one, he obviously is a factor because he's produced a lot of sacks, but I think the other part of all of those once you get a player playing like he is, he also affects how a team protects, what they have to do to protect him and that helps our entire defense because it obviously singles other people up or allows them some things in protection to attack them in certain things. So his impact isn't just in the number of sacks he gets, that's certainly a huge factor, but it also helps us totally in defense. I think that's really been a big factor for us on defense."
Q: Do you feel like he's kind of a better all-around player than people give him credit for?
SUTTON:"Yeah I think very much so. If you look at all the jobs he does for us, he does a lot of things. He's not just a pass-rusher. He's involved in multiple roles in coverage. We move him around to both cover and to pressure. Like last week I thought he did a really good job against the run at Pittsburgh and made some really good plays in that part of the game. I kind of think, and you'll understand why because the nature of the beast would say sack, sack, sack, but this guy I think is playing really good football in a lot of areas for us."
Q: Have you seen that in other players where they may specialize in the pass-rush and their game flourishes and evolves when they get more scrappy?
SUTTON:"I think if you want to be a really good player in our league, you have to do all things because eventually if you only do one thing you're much easier to account for. You're much easier to ID for the offense. This guy's going to be in coverage or this guy's going to be in rushing whatever you do. That's one of the things I like about both he and Tamba (Hali). They do multiple roles. It makes it a little harder I think to just say 'hey this guy's going to be in the rush. This guy isn't'. I, again, think if you want to be an outstanding player in our league you really have to do multiple things. You have to be good at a lot of things."
Q: What does it mean to you to have three of your defensive players to be voted to the Pro Bowl?
SUTTON:"Well one, it's a great tribute to the players. The players get there. They do that over 16 weeks. It's on video and I think that's what really shows up and I think the other part of it's a tribute to their individual coaches that are helping prepare them and helping make their job. One of our jobs as coaches is we always say is try to get rid of the clutter, simplify this down for these guys and say these are the main things you need to do this week, these are things that are going to help you play at a high speed rather than going out and playing every play in football. We try to say this formation, this distance, and these things. That's all drilled down in those individual meetings and then plus the technique certainly out on the field. I think both people, the player themselves because there's a tremendous amount of credit and then the position coaches."
Q: It looks like you got that holder, kicker, snapper thing worked out. Only one of them was a long kick but were you pleased with how that played out?
TOUB:"Yeah to go four out of four. What we are asking him to do, he does it. Great job with the snaps, holds. It's great to rebound from the game before."
Q: You're practice squad snapper (Charley Hughlett) is gone now.
TOUB:"Yeah it just goes to show you our people are bringing in the right guys. Cleveland snatched him up, they poached him off our practice squad. Either they are going to use him this week or they are going to use him for a future guy. It says something about us brining the right people in."
Q: Why is that skill so hard to find?
TOUB:"Because it's a combination, you have to have size, speed, accuracy with your snap and the footwork to be able to block. There's not a lot of those guys out there. When there is somebody that can do it he's a sought after guy. Everybody is going to have at least two guys. You always have to have a guy in the background that if a guy got hurt you have to be able to go right to him. He was certainly that guy."
Q: Are you born with that skill or can you develop it?
TOUB:"You can develop a lot of the accuracy with the snap. But the footwork and the athletic ability, a lot of it you're born with it. The size."
Q: You've worked with other guys, Travis Kelce and Anthony Sherman have fooled around with it. TOUB:"Used in a backup roll. Very rarely are you going to develop a guy to be an NFL starter. Those guys come through college and they are great college snappers and they excel in the NFL."