Center Nick Gates
September 13, 2021
Q: What’d you see went you back and watched the film of your performance and the whole offensive line?
A: We’ve got to run the ball better, which is the main point. You’re not going to win too many games if you can’t run the ball on the ground and be able to pound the rock. I felt pass-pro was a lot better than it was this time last year and we’ve got to keep excelling on that and keep moving forward when it comes to that.
Q: Were there holes did you think? You hadn’t played with (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) in a long time. Were there holes and he was just missing them or were there no holes?
A: A little bit of both. Sometimes there was a little hole here that he could have maybe stuck to, but sometimes there was not a hole at all, and he tried to make a play and he just couldn’t. But we just got to no matter what, just as an offensive line be able to make sure he has a hole to run through and just give him a little bit of something, so that he can see. He’s been out for a whole year, so he has to just regain his confidence in us and get to running the ball again and get comfortable back there.
Q: In a short week, do you look at this as a good opportunity to kind of put aside this loss and move on right away or is it still going to continue to linger with you?
A: Like (Head Coach Joe) Judge was saying, it’s already Thursday in our minds and we got to get ready for Washington on a shorter week and be able to just put this behind us. We went through the film today and corrected all we’ve got to do, and we’ve just got to move onto the next game. It’s a short week.
Q: I’m curious, you guys have had a lot of recent success against Washington. Is there anything you look at that’s like a common thread there that you can attribute to that?
A: I haven’t really gotten to watch too much film. I was going to go in after here when I get home and watch a little bit more. But I just think they’re a good, tough team and we’ve got to play them like we usually do. We’ve got to run the ball and establish the run and I think that’ll help us. They’re kind of a different team this year. Just the way they’ve been together for a couple of years together and they’re working well, so we’ve just got to go in there and execute our plays and be able to do what we want to do.
Q: And I know you don’t necessarily block him, but you played against (Washington Defensive End) Chase Young last year a little bit. Is that a guy that you guys when you get to the line of scrimmage kind of point out and how much do you have to sort of pay attention to him specifically?
A: Oh, definitely. Chase Young’s a really good player. I mean, their whole front seven’s really good. They have really good pass rushers, and they get to the quarterback and disrupt the QB that way. But yeah, you’ve always got to see where (Washington Defensive End Montez) Sweat and Chase Young are, and you’ve got to help those tackles out as much as we can.
Q: My question was going to be about the Washington pass rush, the Chargers actually did a pretty good job against it. What is the key against a rush like that where it’s not just the outside guys, but the interior guys who rush really well, too?
A: Just inside, you’ve got to keep the pocket firm and the tackles (have) got to be able to run their guys around the edge. We’ve got to give (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) time to be able to step up in the pocket and get rid of the ball and he just has to get the ball out on time, too. We all kind of work together. Just if we don’t hold the pocket firm then the tackles can’t run their guys behind and Daniel can’t step up, so we just got to – it all works together.
Q: Do you guys as an offense need validation in the form of points on the board? Like you guys believe in yourselves, right? And there was a lot of optimism coming into this season that the offense could be better, but when you start with a game like that with a point total like that, is it hard to believe that you can accomplish what you’re trying to go out and do?
A: I wouldn’t say that. I mean, you’ve got to score points to win games and that’s what we’ve got to do. I feel like we moved the ball fairly decently and we just got down to the red zone and we couldn’t execute, and turnovers and we had a messed-up snap count by me. Our drives just stalled, and we can’t have that against a team like Washington. We’ve got to help our defense out and put points on the board.
Q: I know under normal circumstances when you’re dealing with a Thursday game, we’ve talked to players in the past and they said it isn’t until Thursday where their bodies start kind of feeling better and getting ready for that Sunday game. Because your Thursday night game comes so early in Week 2, is there any advantage physically knowing that you haven’t been through the grind of a full season yet, that you feel like maybe the bodies can respond a little bit better and sooner to be ready for a Thursday night game?
A: Yeah, we were talking about that earlier actually. I definitely think it hopes that it’s our second game of the year and not like our eighth or ninth game of the year where your body is kind of beat up from games before. But as we speak, I’m on the massage table right now. I’m just trying to get ready. Everybody’s got to do their part to get their body right. It is what it is, and you can’t make an excuse that it’s a short week or anything. You’ve got to go out there and make sure your body’s right.
Q: I was wondering if anything changes for you this week in terms of having that ‘C’ on your chest now and if you feel any more responsibility to take a frontline job in trying to get things straightened out.
A: Definitely. Having the ‘C’ on your chest does come with a bigger responsibility. We got us – Saquon, Daniel, we all have to get in the room together and go over protections and runs and just make sure everyone is on the same page and talk about what everybody’s seeing. I feel like I’ve always had a little bit more responsibility last year and this year, especially being the center and now probably just being a captain. We’ve just got to get in there and all be on the same page and get everything rolling.