San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers spoke to the media about his playoff chances and the success of his team.
How much attention do you think will be given to the earlier games on Sunday?
“Very little as far as I’m concerned. We’ve just got to keep our focus on winning our ninth game. If we get an opportunity to win a 10th one, then we’ll be there. If not, we’ll have finished with four in a row and finish 4-2 in the division and I think that’s our biggest focus. I know I always talk about what we can control and I think its human nature. We will know what has happened, but we can’t worry about that. We’ve got to play the game. We’ve got to play the game to win the game. We’ve been in three games in the last three years, week 17, that were the last game and we knew we were eliminated. I thought the way we played and the effort we had and we found a way to win all three of those says a lot about the character of your team. That will be the same mindset should that be the case this Sunday. So our number one focus is on beating the Chiefs because whatever comes after that, that’s what we need to get done.”
Is it unappetizing to have your playoff hopes in the hands of other teams?
“I don’t see it that way because before anything, obviously I know that’s going to happen first, but there is not a scenario that works without us winning. So we’re going to do our part of it and we’ve got to find a way to win our ninth game and that’s all we can do.”
How much do you look at how you played against them at Kansas City when you see this team the second time?
“Yes, I think that’s definitely a tape you look at. Obviously there’s been a handful of games in between those. It’s a good team. You watch that game, it was back and forth and you never know how much of a gameplan for them will come off of what they did against us the first time or how much of their gameplan will be what they’re doing to get ready for next week. So I think we just prepare to play what we’ve seen on tape for 15 games now and prepare for them to give their best. So that’s the only way to go about it.”
If Ryan Mathews can’t go on Sunday, how does that change your game plan?
“It’s a bunch of what if. You’ll see what the plan is when we get out there should he not be out there.”
On King Dunlap:
“I’m not sure exactly which number start this will be for him, 10, 11, but he’s been very solid in every one of those opportunities, every one of those starts. Unfortunately he was out there for span that kind of had a domino effect on the shuffle of our offensive line. But I found out very early, even all the way back to the spring that he was very talented and capable of being a heck of a tackle. And he’s certainly done that this season and we’re glad he’s on our side.”
Athletically does he surprise you at all, being such a large guy?
“Well I think when you think about the two guys that played left tackle for us before him, they’re very similar body types, very similar athletically and very similar the way they all can move. They were big and they’re athletic, so he fits in that same category.”
Vincent Brown seems to be playing with more confidence. Are you seeing a jump in his play?
“I think for receivers, it’s hard. It’s easy to say he’s playing with confidence because he’s caught some more balls. He could have played with the same amount of confidence but just didn’t get the opportunities. When he’s been called on and when he’s gotten his number called when it’s come up in the progression, he’s answered. He’s done that all year long. He probably hasn’t had as many catches as was anticipated or even as I anticipated but I think he’s been consistent. He’s been out there for us every week. This will be his 16th straight game. I think he’s had a solid year. Numbers don’t always tell the whole story. The way he’s caught the ball and made plays when he was given the opportunity, the way he’s blocked in the run game and then just how consistent he’s been. When you can suit up and be out there 16 weeks in a row, to me, that’s a heck of an accomplishment. “
Do you have any thoughts on possibly making the Pro Bowl team?
“Again, those are all what-ifs. I think anytime, should you be chosen, it’s an honor. You always appreciate fans, but I think more than that, your peers and your coaches that you’ve gone against, they voted you in, should you make it. So I think those are all things, obviously we’ll know down the road, that’s not anybody’s focus right now. I’ll say too, prematurely, but should that be the case, like anything, I think Keenan (Allen) could tell you, the players of the week that he’s gotten, to me, those are team recognitions. I know it is one guy, he is well deserved and I know there are individual accomplishments, but this is the ultimate team game, and it takes every guy, so I think when guys get recognized, it’s a reflection of how the team and the unit has played all year long.”
What has Ken Whisenhunt meant to the success of this offense, especially on third downs?
“He’s been great. I think with all respect to coach (Mike) McCoy and obviously the input that he brings and his experience as a play caller and his experience as an offensive coordinator in this league, I’m not denying his hand in what we do, but this is Ken Whisenhunt’s offense. He’s called every snap, every play. He’s run every meeting. Obviously his background shows a heck of a lot of success, offensively, both in Pittsburgh and in Arizona. So he’s been great. I think the one thing I appreciate, I can have a long list, but I think it’s his steadiness. He’s intense. He loves football. His steadiness and consistency of his approach, every day. When we lost and we had a tough stretch, he didn’t get all unpackaged, he just stayed with it and I think that rubs off on the guys and it’s been fun working with them.”
What has Ken Whisenhunt meant to this offense’s success?
“He has been great. With all respect for Coach McCoy and the input he brings with his experience as a play caller and offensive coordinator in this league, I’m not denying his hand in what we do, but this is Ken Whisenhunt’s offense. He has called every snap and every play. He has run every meeting and obviously his background shows a heck of a lot of success offensively, both in Pittsburgh and Arizona. I think the one thing I appreciate is his steadiness. He’s intense, but it’s his steadiness, consistency and approach that he has every day. When we got in a tough stretch, he didn’t get into a panic. He was just ‘stay with it, stay with it.’ I think that rubs off on the guys and it has been fun working with him.”
How has Frank Reich helped you?
“When you are able to be coached by a guy that spent 14 years playing the same position you play, I think it goes a long way. Not just so you can get him to agree with you on certain things and how you see things, but yet he understands that. You can go ‘when I see this look or see this it just makes me worry about this’ and then he can go ‘ yeah, I had that same experience.’ That’s one way it helps, but he is a very good teacher. As a young player, I was told don’t get bored with the little things and that’s one thing I can say about Frank Reich. He doesn’t get bored with the little things. I know in your 10th year playing that can creep in. Everyone’s steadiness from week to week, especially speaking of Ken and Frank, has had a positive effect on our offense. It’s been good. It’s been fun. It’s been a challenge, thinking back to how it was early in the spring. It’s been a heck of a deal working with those guys and seeing how far we have come to be where we are offensively. I wish we would have won a few more games, but to have ourselves where we are. Stats don’t mean everything, but it does kind of show you where you are offensively. Something that stands out is being first on third down. That’s a critical down and to be first in the league is a heck of an accomplishment every guy on that offense can be proud of. Obviously, we have another set of third-downs to go this Sunday. Hopefully we can keep that spot while also finding a way to win.”
On Danny Woodhead on third-downs:
“There’s no question that element for us is alive and what Danny has done for us on third-downs. You look at how many catches he has. He is probably close to 70 catches now out of the backfield as a runner. We have handed it to him on third-down, but the combination of him, Ronnie (Brown) and Ryan (Mathews) back there in the backfield. I think the play of Eddie (Royal) in the slot and then the mix of Ladarius (Green) and (Antonio) Gates on the field at the same time. All those combinations with the other guys as well have really helped us on third down.”
Do you take the success of the offense with you, even if you do not make the playoffs?
“I think you can say we’ve played pretty well, but no not necessarily. More than anything, I think as a team you can take with you. At the same time, you’ll be sick, but you can take it with you that we found a way to win four of the last five and we found a way to get to 4-2 in the division. Other than that, you are not going to feel real good Sunday night or Monday morning when the dust settles and you realize it’s over. Again those are all speculations. I’m trying to enjoy the preparation on Thursday with the hope that we are going to have an extra week and get a win here on Sunday.”
Source: San Diego Chargers Media