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Rivers: It would certainly be nice to finish this season on a positive note
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Quarterback Philip Rivers
Do you see any tendencies with Rex Ryan defenses that stand out?
“They’re good, they always are. When he was in Baltimore they had great defenses and have had great defenses in New York. In the last few games, there haven’t been a lot of points scored, so it’s going to be a heck of a challenge. They present a lot of different looks and they bring people from all over the field. It’s definitely a healthy week of preparation in terms of trying to get zeroed in on them. It’s certainly tough to do.”
How would you like to get more hooked up with Robert Meachem?
“That would be good. I can’t say enough about how Meach has handled the whole thing from a professional standpoint. I know that he’s competitive and wants to be out there and be involved. But he’s come every day and hasn’t missed a practice. He’s stayed ready and come in when called upon and he may be called on quite a bit more these last couple of weeks. It would be great to get him going like we did in New Orleans, he and Eddie (Royal) both. I thought that was going to be the start of going on a roll and it just hasn’t turned out that way. But it would certainly be nice to finish this season on a positive note.”
What are you looking at going into this game, which is a game between two teams not going to the playoffs?
“You’re still playing in an NFL game and I know that we’re going to get a team that’s sick that they’ve just been eliminated and we’re a team that’s sick that we’ve been eliminated. I know that playing this game when you’re growing up, you play like crazy when no one is watching and nobody cared, but you do care. And we all do and we want to go out and win just like we were still in the hunt. It won’t mean much to people on the outside, but you’ll see guys in between the lines going after it.”
What would you do if Norv came to you and said he was going to start Charlie Whitehurst in your place to prevent any injuries?
“I don’t think that’s going to happen, but it’s his call. We sign up to play all 16. They all count and they all matter. There are a lot of teams that are eliminated and the guys are still going to play. We want to finish the thing right and finish the way that we started. We were eliminated two years ago when we went to Denver. We were eliminated last year when we went to Oakland, but they still count. We went out there and I think that it shows a lot about your character. The one thing about it for this football team and all the other 32 teams, when you go out there and play, there are people that matter who are watching and have a say in your future. If you’re not prideful enough and don’t have enough character for it to matter what this team is about and how to finish this season right, then for yourself, it’s going to say a lot of about you individually the next two weeks.”
When you see a team like the Jets, does it make you appreciate the fact that your job really hasn’t been in question here?
“That’s a tough position to be in, but I don’t think that you should ever take anything like that for granted. You prepare every week and play every week not knowing how many games you have left. You don’t wish for that position or hope for that position to be on anybody or for anybody to have to go through it. You never feel comfortable with whatever happens and that you’re still going to be the quarterback, you have to play with the same urgency and understanding that the game you’re about to play is the only one that you’re guaranteed.”
Was the game against the Jets last year when Kris Dielman and Marcus McNeil were injured kind of a turning point leading to where the team is now?
“I don’t know. Those were certainly two impactful guys, two Pro Bowl players that were huge in this locker room and were on this team for a long time. There’s no doubt that it’s had an impact. Was that the turning point, I don’t know. In some ways, it was the start of our skid last year. We rebounded and started off good this year and then we hit a skid again.”
Do you feel that the last playoff game against the Jets was a bit of turning point for where the Chargers are now?
“I think that every year stands alone. Since you mentioned the ’09 team, that specific group of guys, there’s been a lot of change. That team isn’t here. I’m not saying that as an excuse or a reflection of what we do or don’t have, but that ’09 team was different. I think that it’s hard and a lot of ways they’re similar. A lot of us are still here. I’m here and a lot of us are still here. But to say that it was a turning point is tough because there are a lot of guys in that locker room who weren’t a part of that so-called turning point. That was a high point in 2009 to win 11 in a row and I realize how that is. You go back a few years and see how many teams have won 11 in a row, it won’t be very many. It’s been a lot of ups and downs since then. Like I said, if we can win these last two and finish dead even, that’s not good enough, but we can only control what we can control.”
Do you feel like the Chargers lost that playoff game, or the Jets won it?
“They won the game. I don’t ever buy into that whole ‘we lost’ thing. There are other people out there playing, so they definitely had something to do with it. We had some self-inflicted wounds in that game that hurt ourselves, but you can’t take any credit away from them. They’re a heck of a team and they came in here and beat us.” Read