- Mar 14, 2006
http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/chargers/20060814-9999-1s14chargers.htmlPhilip Rivers spent a portion of his Sunday morning watching on tape what he'd done the night before.
“It wasn't a whole lot different than what I'd thought,” he said.
There wasn't much to tear apart. He played a half in the Chargers' exhibition opener against Green Bay, and while it was against a bad team employing a vanilla defense, it was exceptional.
“Being picky, which is the only way to be,” Rivers said, “there were a couple of throws, the ones that were completed, where the ball placement could have been better.”
Rivers was also critical of how he held the ball in a first-quarter sack – “a little loose” – but the fact is he also did a good job holding onto the ball after it was slapped away by Cory Williams and immediately running forward to limit the sack to a 1-yard loss.
Rivers finished 15-of-21 for 169 yards and a touchdown in the Chargers' 17-3 victory. In Rivers' four series, the Chargers scored twice, the second at the end of an 86-yard drive that took 18 plays to complete and milked the clock of 10 minutes, 44 seconds.
Rivers spent little energy denying his debut could have gone much better. But he exerted even less being thrilled.
“I'm not sitting here today all caught up in it,” he said. “It's a half of a preseason game. I've still only thrown 30 NFL passes.”
Absolutely. Friday's game at Chicago will offer a look at Rivers against a better defense, though one that will still be entrenched in preseason blandness. Two more exhibition games will follow, and the danger is to read too much into his performance in any one or all of them.
Ryan Leaf was 14-for-20 in his exhibition debut.
That, the Chargers hope and the personality of Rivers suggests, is where the similarities will end.
Rivers, declining to reflect much on how well he ad-libbed at times or how quickly and accurately he delivered passes, was instead effusive in his praise of his teammates.
“What I am caught up in was the team and what we accomplished,” he said.
The Chargers had the ball for more than 18 minutes of the first half and converted six of eight third downs while Rivers was in the game.
Of Vincent Jackson, whose diving touchdown catch was the first of his four receptions, Rivers said: “He's going to be a weapon for us. You can talk about the touchdown catch, but what about over the middle?”
Of Brandon Manumaleuna, the humongous but remarkably soft-handed and nimble tight end who caught a short pass and turned it into a 30-yard gain: “To be 300 pounds and do what he does is amazing.”
And of Ryan Krause, the fourth-string tight end who looked like Antonio Gates, leading all receivers with six catches for 64 yards: “His ability is unbelievable. He was a wide receiver in college. He can really run and catch. He's just had a hard time staying healthy.”
Rivers saved his biggest kudos for the offensive line, always the mark of a smart quarterback.
“The guys up front played well,” Rivers said. “The (18)-play drive, they were battling, ready to go on the (last) play.”
Rivers was pressured a bit Saturday, but he showed in a game situation what he had demonstrated in practices – an ability to step up in those situations and get rid of the ball.
“I feel very comfortable in the pocket,” he said. “I don't need a lot of room or a bunch of time. I don't get too bothered by having guys around me.”
The guys on his team around him were as impressed with his Saturday performance as they have been over the past few months. His actually doing things in a game-like situation – leading huddles, executing with precision – fortified their belief the offense is in good hands.
“He's so poised,” center Nick Hardwick said. “He's just really calm. That brings confidence to us.”
I really like the quote from Rivers downplaying the performance and saying that he still only has 30 NFL passes. It was nice of him to emphasize the team performance over his own.
I love the comment saying he doesn't need alot of room or time to throw the ball and giving props to his oline.