CHARGERS QB PHILIP RIVERS
(on San Diego’s receiving corps and how he hopes to overcome the loss of Vincent Jackson)
We have a great group of receivers—a lot of depth. Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates have both been here nine, 10 years. You add guys like (Robert) Meachem and (Eddie) Royal and (Micheal) Spurlock and Richard Goodman, and it’s a good group—a group that we’re excited about. Week 1 a lot of those guys touched the ball, including the running backs—obviously a big part of our passing game. I think seven different guys caught a pass. It’s a collective effort by all those guys.
(on how much of a priority it was to get off to a quick start this year)
You always want to start fast. Last year we ended up 4-1, and then kind of hit a lull in the middle of the season. One game doesn’t mean we’ve started fast. Certainly, it’s off on the right start, but we know the challenges that Tennessee present, and it’s our first home game. It’ll be a heck of a game.
(on the vertical component receiver Robert Meachem has added to the offense)
We’ve always been very vertical. (Robert) Meachem certainly has a great deal of speed. The second, third down in the game against Oakland he was able to get behind the defense and make a big play that kind of got us started in the game, really. We have a nice mix of guys that can stretch the field vertical, and also we can mix the things underneath. We feel like we’re pretty balanced.
(on how beneficial it is to be a part of an offensive system that has been in place for a number of years)
Fortunately for all of us on offense, even going back to my first year in 2004, we’ve ran the same system. Obviously, Norv (Turner) coming in 2007 with the coaching change, but from a system standpoint, the terminology is the same it’s been for the last nine years. That’s a real positive, and obviously it allows you to change things on the run and add and tweak things from year to year because we’re so comfortable with what we’re doing. The continuity of what we’ve had, we’ve obviously have more new players this year than we’ve ever had, but everybody has made the transition smoothly. We feel good about where we sit right now. We still have a lot of work to do, but certainly continuing to get better.
(on why the back-shoulder pass with Malcom Floyd is so tough for defensive backs to defend)
I think in general the back-shoulder throw has really, in the last few years—I think it’s always been a part of the game, but in the last few years—it’s almost taken over the league as far as you see it every week, teams do it. I think receivers do a great job—it’s more giving them a chance than anything. A lot of the throws, honestly, you have to make a decent throw, but a lot of it is just giving the receiver a chance. They do a great job of reacting back to it, whether it’s high or low. They can make it a good throw. Malcom Floyd just has such range on the ball, and he and I have thrown a lot of balls, we’ve thrown and caught a lot of balls over the last nine years. We came in the same year, and he’s certainly a guy I feel very comfortable with, giving him a chance. He usually comes down with it, or nobody does. That’s obviously a trust factor there that he and I have.
(on how hard it is to move forward after things didn’t go as planned last season)
You have to move past it. We can only control this season, and right now. The only game we can go out and play is the Tennessee Titans. I think it’s just one game at a time and learn from last year and grow from it and then move on. We’ve done that over the last six months, and it’s gotten us to where we are right now.
(on what has been particularly successful in the games he’s played against the Titans)
It’s different than college when you play a team maybe four years in a row. Every year stands alone, every year is different. Obviously, there’s change in personnel and there’s change in schemes and change in coaches. I don’t think the history there has any bearing on this game or this scheme or approach. I don’t know that it’s been any one thing. One thing I always know is it’s been a great game down to the wire. This game, I imagine, will be a lot of the same. I know it’s a physical team. Defensively, they fly around and they’re very sound in what they do. Just watching throughout the preseason and obviously this first game against New England, if you just look at the score, it can be quite deceiving. But it was a heck of a game all the way through. They made New England earn everything they got, so we have to be prepared to execute and play at a high level to be able to move the ball and score points.
(on what stands out to him about
Obviously, (Jason McCourty) can really run, he’s got great speed. It’s a sound group in the secondary. Specifically, you’re asking about McCourty, but they’re very disciplined, yet they’re very dangerous. It’s not just like they play the coverages off the blackboard. They certainly have great range and make plays. They make you earn it; they make you earn every completion you get. You don’t turn on a tape and see a lot of guys running open. All of those guys are very active. Like I said, I repeat myself, they make you earn it.
(on what makes
I think it’s a combination of his size and speed. He’s got great size, but he’s so fast. In that game last year, he got four sacks and caused some other pressure and hurries. He’s down after down after down after down. That’s the thing about him and when you think about the pass rush of the Titans in years past, it’s a lot like that. It’s all they’ve got for 60 snaps, and you can’t relax ever. I’m sure he’ll be cranked up and ready to go obviously with the success he had against us last year.
(on how quickly a quarterback can click with a receiver that hasn’t played yet due to injury)
Well it depends. It depends on each guy. There are some guys that the way they run routes or the way they move, from a body standpoint in and out of breaks, it can happen rather quickly, and for others it can take some amount of time. Fortunately, with all of our guys, we’ve now had a whole offseason and a whole training camp, and there’s a great deal of comfort with all of our crew. I’m not sure if you’re referring to another situation. It depends, there have been times when a guy has come in here on a Wednesday, and we’ve played on Sunday and things have gone pretty well. There have been other times where it takes some time. I think every situation is different.
(on if it’s easier for both to connect if the new receiver is playing the X)
It depends on the offense. I can’t really speak to that. I think it just depends on the scheme, and offensively, what you’re asked to do. There can be a lot of tiny routes; there can be other things that can take you about 30 minutes to get a feel for. I think it’s really unique to the individual and unique to what they’re being asked to do.
(on if this is the best Antonio Gates has looked in recent seasons)
I think it’s the healthiest he’s been in the past few years. Even in the past few years when he hasn’t been healthy, he’s still really good. Certainly, he’s as healthy as he’s been, and he’s moving as good as he’s moved. It was exciting to have him all of training camp and offseason. He didn’t have a ton of catches in the first game, but a couple of the catches were very key and big in keeping drives going. He’s always been a big part in a lot of ways, always been the focal point of what we’ve done from a passing game standpoint.