- Eric D. Williams, ESPN Staff Writer
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SAN DIEGO -- Mike McCoy’s not taking the bait.
The San Diego Chargers coach was asked if there’s any way his team is overlooking this week’s opponent, winless Jacksonville, and he responded by saying he has a healthy respect for the Jaguars and that his players do too.
“Everyone is a professional at this level,” McCoy said. “And you’ve got to go in and play your best every week. And if you don’t, you’re going to get beat. It’s as plain and simple as that. There’s too much talent in this league for you to think you can just go in and show up, regardless of what the record is.”
With San Diego heading into its bye week after playing Jacksonville, McCoy is also not buying the notion that this could be a trap game for his team.
“This is going to be a very good football team that we’re playing,” McCoy said. “Everyone gave someone [Peyton Manning] a lot of flak for saying this is a very good football team. And his comments were correct, I believe, about what type of team it is.”
McCoy emphasized the importance of winning consecutive games for the first time this season.
“As a football team, we’ve got to put together two in a row,” he said. “We’ve been up and down, and we’ve got to be more consistent in all three phases, go on the road in a tough environment on a short week and do whatever we can to find a way to win the game.”
McCoy said linebackers Donald Butler (groin) and Jarret Johnson (hamstring) were close to getting on the field Monday night but the training staff decided to take a more conservative approach, which makes it seem that both could be available for the Jacksonville game.
“They were very close to playing,” McCoy said. “It was just a decision we had to make. In talking to Jarret, it wasn’t easy, but we had to do what’s in the best interest of the football team moving forward. Everyone wants to play. They’re competitors. That’s why they’re in the National Football League. But it’s a decision we made.”
McCoy did not provide updates on other injured players, other than noting that receiver Eddie Royal will have his toe re-evaluated this week.
Rookie linebacker Manti Te’o handled the responsibility of wearing the helmet with the headset and making the calls defensively. Te’o finished with a combined five tackles.
McCoy also addressed a frustrating play for him that occurred at the end of the game: Ryan Mathews’ failure to stay in bounds on an outside run with 2:34 remaining in the game.
“I can’t repeat what I said on the sidelines yesterday,” McCoy said, “but that could have cost us the game, really. When you look at the big picture of things, and running out of bounds, and letting them not have to call a timeout or letting the clock run down -- whatever their strategy was going to be there -- that’s a critical mistake. And we can’t have that, because those are things that cost you in a close game like this. And we were fortunate that it worked out all right.”
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