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Rivers Q&A: Chargers not LT’s or QB’s ‘team’

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Aug 27, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    By Jason Cole, Yahoo! Sports

    San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers(notes) doesn’t believe he’s the face of the franchise. The six-year, $92 million contract he signed Monday may lead people to believe otherwise.

    Rivers is coming off a spectacular 2008 season in which he posted a 105.5 passer rating to go with 34 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions. Beyond that, Rivers also played through an anterior cruciate ligament tear in the 2007 playoffs.

    He sat down with Yahoo! Sports to talk about his place with the Chargers and overall.

    Jason Cole: There was a time you were considering not accepting a new deal and waiting out the Chargers, who would have been forced to franchise you after the season. What changed your mind?

    Philip Rivers: You want the contract to be fair on both sides, and the deal we worked out most certainly is. I’m humbled and grateful for it. I wanted to be a Charger for years to come, and the Spanos family presented the opportunity to make that happen. When you’re somewhere you want to be and you get an offer that you’re happy with, it just doesn’t make much sense to me to wait.

    Cole: Three years ago, the feeling was clear that this was LaDainian Tomlinson’s(notes) team – that he was the leader and one of the biggest athletes in Chargers history. Now it appears that you’re the guy and LT is being phased out. What’s your take on that? Are you careful about that image?

    Rivers: I believe that’s a fabricated term. I think that’s a media term about whose team it is. I don’t think it’s anybody’s team. It’s our team. There are a lot of guys in here who have played here a long time that have meant a lot to the organization, so I don’t think that we as players see it that way. You hear it. It gets tagged that way in every city, but I don’t think it’s really like that. I don’t feel that way, anyway. It just doesn’t, from a leadership standpoint, make sense. Your role as a quarterback is to have certain responsibilities anyway, and as you progress through your career that continues to grow. As a player now, do I feel more responsibility as a leader than I did as a three-year player? Yes. But it grows on different guys at different times. But as far as the phrase “whose team,” I’ve never looked at it this way. From LT and my standpoint, it has never been brought up, never discussed. I’ve never felt any tension there.

    Cole: LT went through some tension this offseason about whether he was going to be here. How difficult was that to watch?

    Rivers: It was tough. What LT has meant to this organization, what he meant through the years that were a little rough around here and what he means now, it was tough to watch. As a teammate, you want what’s best for your team and for your buddy. I’m just glad it worked out and it didn’t get as ugly or bad as it could have. It wasn’t pleasant, but it didn’t get real bad. It took its course and it got smoothed out and I think everybody is happy with how it turned out. That’s the best thing. He seems as fresh and ready and focused as he needs to be.

    Cole: LT has had some difficult injuries and has taken some heat publicly for them, particularly when you were able to play through a knee injury in the 2007 playoffs and he wasn’t. What’s your take on that?

    Rivers: He has had some unfortunate injuries. They’re injuries that aren’t really supervisual to the eye, so people don’t necessarily understand and that has led to the heat. But to us, as players, we know what that’s like to have something at his position that could be the worst thing you could have. There are other things that you can deal with as a running back that you maybe couldn’t deal with at other positions. I played on a torn ACL two years ago, but it’s totally different. If I had to play running back with that, there’s no chance. Not that I can play running back anyway, but even with the injuries I had it was hard to get through it and I don’t have to run full speed or cut very much. Just thinking how wobbly my knee was just to drop back, if I had to run? No way. They were such nagging things for him and he was just superfrustrated. He wanted to go, but they were little things that were so hindering. But at the same time, to the eye of the fans, they don’t seem like a big deal. They couldn’t see it and they don’t understand.

    Cole: This is your fourth year as the starter. How does the role alter over the years?

    Rivers: I think you always want to let your natural personality come out and lead that way. So from that standpoint, it doesn’t change much. How you go about things and do things, that doesn’t change much. Every year is so different because of the players and the makeup of the roster changes so much. But from being another year in the system and having a command over the little things of the offense, it changes. It’s hard to describe how it happens over time, but the responsibility changes in how you talk to coaches and how you handle things. Maybe we have this play and you might say, “Hey, let’s just call it this.” If I’m having a conversation with [head coach] Norv [Turner], I’ll say, “Can we just do this?” instead of something else. He’ll say, “Perfect, no problem.” Those kinds of things grow and, as players … it progresses as you continue to play and you get comfortable and get a better grasp of the people around you.

    Cole: Are you going to miss Jay Cutler(notes) now that he’s not in Denver?

    Rivers: I think so, a little bit. Yeah, it got me fired up and it was fun. It was such a big thing for a while, and then I think it became really fun for both of us. I’d like to think that. I don’t know at this point because I didn’t talk to him about it. But it added some hype to it, the rivalry. I thought it was fun and it’s still going to be us against Denver and us against Oakland and us against Kansas City. Those are all big rivalries. But I think you miss that little personal side of it. It was something people assumed it was going to be there for a long time; here’s two young guys who are going to go against each other for a while. Now that’s gone. It’ll just be every four years now, and it won’t be the same. It won’t have the same feel to it.

    Cole: Did you ever talk to him about it?

    Rivers: No, I thought it just kind of died. We never really had that much conversation. We didn’t know each other that well prior to. It was just the usual postgame handshake or handshake after the coin flip.

    Cole: Is there a reason why the Chargers have started so slowly the past two years?

    Rivers: I’ve thought about it a lot and I really don’t think there is. We’ve put a big emphasis on starting fast and really making sure you finish strong. That’s a big thing in this league, in all sports. You just hear the message: “Finish strong, finish strong.” And we have. But we have put an emphasis on starting fast and we just haven’t done it. Two years ago, we just didn’t play very well. Last year, yeah, we could have played well, but we lost two games at the buzzer [to Carolina and Denver]. If that doesn’t happen, we could have started off 4-0. … That’s not to pin it on those games; we definitely could have played better. But there’s nothing I can see that [explains] the reason why.

    Cole: But you’re the son of a coach. I’m sure you talk about what you think is happening.

    Rivers: There’s no way that we’re not ready, that we’re not excited – all those things that go into being good right from the start. You look at the first few games of any season, everybody is ready to go. Nobody is out of the playoff hunt then. You’re not playing teams that are 2-8 or 1-10. So I really don’t have a magic answer for you as to why we haven’t started fast. It’s just unfortunate, and it has hurt us. Again, it will be an emphasis this year and we were just talking about it. Last year, we put ourselves in a situation where we essentially had to win like eight games in a row to get in. The odds are against you when you can’t lose a game after Week 10 or 11. That’s asking for it.

    Cole: But a great example of your team thriving with its back against the wall is the game against Tennessee in 2007 when the Titans really had you beat for the first 55 minutes. But then you guys come back and win it in overtime. It seems like you guys are just best when it’s all on the line.

    Rivers: That brings up a thought that maybe that’s how we should trick ourselves into thinking all the time.

    Cole: How do you trick yourself in such a way?

    Rivers: Hey, I’m fishing for something right now. Look, it’s not like we didn’t practice well or cover everything. We did it all.

    Cole: Speaking of covering things, how has wide receiver Vincent Jackson(notes) been able to maintain such a high average yards per catch (17.2 for his career)?

    Rivers: Obviously, size and speed play a big factor in that. But he has such a knack for making plays down the field and he’s not a fun guy to try to tackle. He’s big and strong and he gets down the field in a hurry – I think that, combined with what a good run-blocker he is. We use him a lot in the run-blocking, that hard run action, and that gets him running all kinds of stuff off that. Those defensive backs are worrying so much about him trying to block and then he takes off. He gets up on those guys so quick and he’s such a long-strider. What he does is huge. I didn’t realize it until later in the year what his average per catch was. If you get him 15 or 20 more balls a year, he’s right there at the top of the league in everything.

    Cole: Does what he did force you to change the plan and get him more passes?

    Rivers: I don’t think you really change anything. He’s really good at what he does already and our passing game is really up the field already. We’re looking to get big chunks of yards. We have some high-percentage stuff, but a lot of what our offense is designed to do is get chunks – the big 20-yard chunks off the play-action run game. The big, deep outs with all those guys – that’s what those guys are made for. And you can do that and still have it be high percentage. It doesn’t have to be a deep bomb where you go for it all. It can be the 20-yard throws with stuff underneath.

    Cole: It’s funny, but when you were coming out of North Carolina State, the belief was that with your accuracy and perceived lack of arm strength you would have been better suited for a West Cost-type offense that highlighted the shorter game.

    Rivers: I think it has allowed me to progress as a passer, and we still mix in some of the shorter stuff. But now I feel like I’m more of a complete passer. Not that I couldn’t throw it deep, but that’s what we did in college with that high-percentage throwing game. We’d dink and dunk all the way down the field, but now I feel like we have the whole deal.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    Further proof why Rivers is worth every penny of his new contract. :tup:
  3. cranberry

    cranberry BoltTalker

    Oct 3, 2006
    He really is with his clear and straight away manner.

    View attachment 1452

    .. and he was from the beginning.

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  4. Boltz

    Boltz BoltTalker

    Aug 13, 2009
    rivers doesnt have a high ego, another reason why hes my favorite player
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Showmeyourbolt

    Showmeyourbolt Well-Known Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Haha, Rivers just ***** slapped the LT haters :tup:
    • Like Like x 1
  6. English

    English @tonywaters

    Feb 1, 2008
    The more I hear from PR, the more I respect him.
    • Like Like x 1

    SDKCFAN BoltTalker

    Jun 6, 2009
    I really respect Rivers, too. He's a great competitor, a great teammate, and seems to be just an all around nice guy:flag:
  8. Sydalish

    Sydalish Addicted to Sports

    Nov 11, 2007
    :wub: what a dream boat!

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

    Jul 11, 2006
    River's, has always been a class act. That's why I was so happy when we traded for him. I still believe he will lead our team to the Lombardi, I've never had a doubt.:tup::icon_toast:
  10. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

    Aug 3, 2006
    He stays that unflappable on the field, too. He gets excited and jaws, but he never loses control, never gets rattled-except for maybe his teeth if the O Line doesn't come around.

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