FLOWERY BRANCH–Excerpts from conference call with Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.
Q. You’ve got to be happy about being off to a 2-0 start.
Yeah, it’s been a while since we won the first two in a season [2006 under coach Marty Schottenheimer]. But I think it’s really nothing more than that. We know it’s a week-to-week league and you’ve got to be able to put them on top of one another. It’s going to be a tough challenge against Atlanta this week. Getting to see them on Monday Night Football, it was an impressive team to watch. And now, preparing for them, it’s going to be a challenge.
Q. The Falcons ended up using five different corners against Denver. What did you think of Dominque Franks, who played some nickel?
I thought all of them contributed and played well. They are super active and always moving around. You never get a great feel for what they are going to do. It’s kind of ‘next man up.’ It was an unfortunate injury two weeks ago to [Brent] Grimes. Guys have just stepped up. Obviously the top two corners are veteran guys and the young guys have filled in. Getting three interceptions in the first eight minutes of the game and just [being] super active. Watching the tape of the game and also watching it live, you never could get in a rhythm or feel for what they were doing. They were just so active and aggressive to the ball.
Q. The TV angle is different from what you see on tapes. Can you watch as a fan? How do you end up watching a game like that?
Monday night with the wife and the kids we always enjoy the Monday night game. This one was a little bit more as a scout and watching it a little closer because it was the opponent we were going to play. Then you ended up watching the game film the next morning and you see it a little clearer of what they are trying to do. [Watching it live] gives you a feel of just the energy and the speed. It’s a little closer look on the TV to what real life is like as far as these guys operate. It jumped off the screen how fast this group is and what energy they play with. We know what we’ve got in store for us Sunday.
Q. What did you see from eh Falcons with their pre-snap activity?
A lot of the guys standing up and a lot of the guys moving around. You have to be able to communicate as far as a protection standpoint and read the coverage on the run. This is as active and ‘move around’ and as an unsettling group, they don’t ever let you get comfortable.
Q. How much no-huddle have you run?
We have not run a snap of no-huddle this year.
Q. That’s unusual compared to the rest of the teams.
Yeah, a lot of teams have really gone to it. We have the ability to [do it] but we’ve huddled and go in the first two weeks.
Q. Do you lobby for it?
No. There are times when it can help get you in a rhythm and get you going and it gives you a little bit more time at the line. But we still feel like we have plenty of flexibility huddling and kind of going as we’ve gone the past few years.
Q. Your tight end Dante Rosario had a big game against the Titans with Antonio Gates out. What do you see with his abilities?
He’s a very smooth route runner and is very natural catching the ball. With Gates being down last week, he in addition to Randy McMichael and Ladarius Green still gave us a heck of a group there at tight end. Obviously we want Gates out there but it was good to have the three we had because they call can contribute.
Q. A lot has been expected of Chargers in recent years and you’ve had some unfortunate losses. Is this team different as far as their psyche vs. the last few years?
I think it still somewhat is a ‘wait and see’ because it’s still early in the year. But I do feel like the mental makeup of this group [is] the combination of what’s been here the last six to 10 years here with a handful of guys who have been through what we’ve been through, and then we have quite a few that this is their first year with us. I think the combination of this mix has given us an outlook and a mentality and an approach that is somewhat different than what we’ve had. It’s still early. We’ve won two games. It’s funny how the teams that have won the first two, they are awesome, and the teams that have lost the first two they have no chance. We know that’s not the case. There is still a long ways to go.
Q. You see safeties that who can come forward and go backwards and not only play run support but get behind the line of scrimmage. Is that one thing that’s changed in the time that you’ve been a starter?
I think so. The size of these safeties that can come downhill and fill the run and then can also cover ground and make plays on the ball. Certainly [William Moore] can do that and [Thomas DeCloud]. They both cover a lot of ground. I thought both of their interceptions in the game were very instinctive. They are just football players, you can tell. It wasn’t a matter of playing the coverage on the blackboard it was a matter of, ‘I see what’s happening here and I’m going to make a play.’ That’s what both of those guys do. That, to me, is what makes safeties dangerous. They obviously can play all of the coverages and play things fundamentally sound but at the same time they are football players. Those two guys fit that mold.
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