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One-on-One with Ian Rapoport
NFL Network’s National Insider Ian Rapoport paid a visit to Chargers Park on Thursday.
See what he had to say about the 2013 Chargers.
Question: You’ve been around the country. How does it feel to be here in San Diego?
Rapoport: Oh it feels fantastic! This is clearly one of my favorite places to visit, not just because it’s a beautiful, idyllic setting and I feel like I’m on vacation, but it’s also one of the more interesting teams. There are a lot of questions in a lot of places, but this is one where you come here and you just don’t know the product they’re going to put on the field. They’ve got a lot of good pieces. They’ve got a quarterback. They’ve got a new coach. They’ve got a really young, energetic, starting over vibe that you kind of really like. So this is definitely one of the places as I conclude my little tour that I was like, I’ve got to make sure I get here.
Question: You saw a little bit of practice. Talked to a few people. Are there any takeaways you’ve gotten from your time here so far?
Rapoport: Yeah, I think a couple things. One, on Philip Rivers. A lot of the focus nationally is certainly on him. Can he rebound from a couple difficult seasons? The thing that stands out to me is he’s getting really good teaching. I mean, obviously Norv Turner was a very respected quarterback coach and teacher of quarterbacks, but I think sometimes even the best needs someone new. You have Mike McCoy. You have Ken Whisenhunt. (They are) two guys really well schooled in how to teach quarterbacks, and I think Philip is really going to benefit from a fresh start. You can already sort of start to see that coming into place. And the offensive line is going to be a little better than it was last year. I like hearing about and I like seeing D.J. Fluker already emerge as the kind of leader that he was at Alabama. He’s got to be the most charismatic guy you can possibly find. I love hearing how he’s worked himself back into the mix. Receiver-wise I hear Vincent Brown is starting to put on a show like he did last year before his injury. There have been some other injuries at receiver, but you start to think if everyone stays healthy, there’s certainly more than enough to work with here.
Question: You’ve mentioned a couple players. Are there any other hidden gems or diamonds in the rough you’d tell fans to keep their eye on?
Rapoport: Well Vincent Brown is one. I know locally a lot of you guys know how good he can be. I thought he was at least one of the top three players on the field here last year when I visited. If he stays healthy I think he’s certainly going to be in the mix. And Ryan Mathews. I think we’ve all nationally at least have kind of forgotten about him. Some injuries obviously he’s been battling. But as far as sheer talent, if he can stay healthy, that’s a guy who especially in this system, if he stays healthy really could break out. Obviously there are some names people know, but it’s like we’ve all forgotten about him a little bit.