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Sun., Jul. 19, 2015 7:30 AM PDT
Gruden Says Rivers, D Key to Getting the Win
Jon Gruden paid a visit to Chargers Park Saturday afternoon in preparation for ESPN’s Monday Night Football coverage of the Bolts game vs. the Broncos. One of the most respected names in the game couldn’t help but gush over what he’s seen from the Chargers thus far this season, particularly the play of their quarterback.
“Philip Rivers is one of the very best we have in the NFL,” he said from the sideline while watching the team practice. “This team has undergone a ton of change and he’s handled it great. The offensive line and receivers are almost completely different over the last three years or so. I just love the way he competes. I really want to see him have a great year.”
Gruden also said how he is impressed with the play of the defense, especially the speed and quickness they bring on every snap.
“I like the fact that the Chargers have brought in some good free agents that are making contributions, especially on defense,” he said. “It’s still early, but I do like their defense, especially their sub-package. They look faster. Demorrio Williams and Donald Butler look really athletic to me in those scenarios. And I like the creativity that John Pagano has shown getting Antwan Barnes, Melvin Ingram and Shaun Phillips all on the field together at the same time.”
Still, Gruden says the unit has a few question marks, particularly when it comes to defending the pass. He thinks the outcome of Monday’s match vs. another elite quarterback could be determined by how the secondary performs.
“I’m looking forward to seeing if their secondary can hold up against Peyton Manning,” he said. “It’s a big test for them. If they aren’t able to come up with plays to stop him on third down and passing situations, it could be very tough for them to win.”
Offensively, there are a number of areas Gruden would like to see the team improve upon as well.
“This team has had a few games with under 300 yards of offense, which to me is unheard of for a San Diego Chargers team. I want to see this offense take hold like they are capable of. So I want to see Antonio Gates get going, see the left tackle whether it’s Jared Gaither or Mike Harris solidify the line, and more than anything, I want to see Ryan Mathews take off. He has all the talent in the world.”