The San Diego Chargers didn’t get their season started the way they wanted in defense of their AFC West crown. The Chargers opened up on Monday night against the Chiefs in a revamped Arrowhead Stadium and looked like a team that missed Vincent Jackson, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Marcus McNeill more than they thought they would. With LT in New York and Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill watching from their couch, the Chargers offense struggled against KC in week one. However, this past week, the Chargers got their first win of the season and they did it in impressive fashion. The offense was rolling, the defense created turnovers, and they looked more like the team that many people expected to capture the AFC West once again.
After one deadline passed for the Chargers to trade away Vincent Jackson, it looks as if Philip Rivers and company will have to get used to not playing without their best wide receiver.
Philip Rivers joined XX Sports Radio in San Diego with Darren Smith to talk about the win against Jacksonville this past weekend, how much confidence he has in his receivers without Vincent Jackson, what it has been like playing with a different group of wide receivers this year, whether or not he has talked to Vincent Jackson this season, and talks about this weekend’s trip to Seattle.
On whether or not he has to communicate to his new groups of receivers that they have to step up more in the absence of Vincent Jackson:
“I don’t really have to one on one, but I think you just communicate it throughout the week and in pregame. Hey let’s go, let’s have a big one. You really don’t know what guy it’s going to be. You do have to make sure each guy is ready for it to be them. It almost works better when it’s that way. (Antonio) Gates knows the kind of player he is and we know what he’s going to do and we put an emphasis on getting him the football, but he doesn’t know what day is going to be the day. I think that’s what makes us tougher to defend is the fact that the defense doesn’t know who’s gonna get it either. Yeah, you can key on Gates, but you really don’t know who’s getting it and where we’re going. We don’t tip it with formations and you can’t look at the stat sheet. The ball gets spread around to everybody.”
On the chemistry with the wide receivers:
“It’s different with every guy. There is something special that Vincent and I had. There was a five or six year time period where we threw and caught a lot of balls and talked over a lot of plays. I honestly do feel I have some of that same type of comfort level with these other guys. It’s different. It’s developed differently and it’s developed over different amounts of time. There haven’t been quite the same amount of reps over the last couple of years, but from a communication and a trust standpoint, I certainly have a great deal of confidence in all of our guys. I think probably the relationship and the continuity and where it’s grown the most with one particular guy is Buster Davis. I got a whole summer where he took a brunt of the reps. Shoot I’ve almost thrown him balls these first two weeks and preseason than I threw him in any live game action in the last three years. I’d say that’s one of them that sticks out. I’ve always had a good rapport with Malcom (Floyd) and Legedu (Naanee). Great deal of confidence in all those guys. I’d love to be able to throw it to him again but if not, I want him to keep on and have a great career.”
On whether or not he has talked to Vincent Jackson:
“Well it was kinda right before the Kansas City game. He was just saying go play great this week. Throughout camp we talked briefly. Just more or less joking as if he was here. Keeping it light and keeping up with him.”
On Seattle having an advantage this weekend because of former Chargers QB Charlie Whitehurst being on the team:
“I’m sure he can be resourceful for them. We tweaked some things quite a bit this offseason which he wasn’t a part of. There’s so much you can do before the ball is snapped, but then you gotta go play. It’s one thing to have a tip or have something, but then you have to still go see it, execute and play from a defensive standpoint. Kassim (Osgood) probably had some things, but that obviously didn’t carry over too much and we were able to play well. Yeah, there’s no doubt. Charlie knows me as well as any opponent we’ve ever played. He and I communicated and he knows how I think more than any guy we’ve ever played. That can be a part and maybe help them with their plan. It’s gonna be loud. I think it’s the loudest stadium I’ve ever played in besides Indy in that division playoff round at Indy. It’ll be fun. We’re looking forward to it and will handle it way better than we did in week one.”