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Highlights from Philip Rivers Fan Forum
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There are many unique benefits that come with being a San Diego Chargers Season Ticket Member. One of them is exclusive access to the team itself. As such, Philip Rivers spent 40 minutes Monday afternoon on a Season Ticket Member fan forum , fielding a wide range of questions . Here are a handful of highlights from the session.
Who has been Rivers’ favorite receiving target?
Rivers: That’s a hard one. I’ve got a lot of favorites. Obviously Antonio Gates and I have been together a long time. I didn’t realize this until this year but he and I have the most touchdown receptions to a tight end in the history of the NFL. So it would be hard to not say Antonio Gates. I think back over the years and Malcom Floyd and Vincent Jackson; gosh, there are a lot of guys I’ve thrown footballs to. But if you make me pick one, I’ll tell you Antonio Gates.
What is the genesis of his unique throwing motion?
Rivers: First of all, I would say the throwing motion as it is today is not as awkward as it’s portrayed. It’s changed over the years, but it is a little different I will admit. I really think it’s an asset to be able to throw it from different angles. But as a kid, my dad was a high school coach and I was his ball boy/water boy since I was four years old. So around his practice fields, the other coaches’ sons and I when we weren’t helping out with the practice would play touch football. And we were throwing a regulation football. So as a five and six year old, I was throwing this ball that was too big for my hand. I could hardly throw it very far, so I had to throw it any way I could. We believe that’s how it developed. It’s a little bit side-armed with a pushing motion. It’s changed over the years, but I still go back to it just as a creature of habit when I get in the heat of the game.
What was his reaction to winning Comeback Player of the Year?
Rivers: It’s always an honor any time you get an award from the league or you get recognized. But there was a piece of me that thought, ‘Golly, where did I come back from?’ I was out there every game the previous year fighting like crazy. It was maybe not my best year but I didn’t feel like I came back from anything. But at the same time, our team did bounce back. I think it was more recognizing our team bouncing back and I did play better. I always see any time a player gets recognized, it’s usually a reflection of the team. So it was an honor I was appreciative of and hopefully we can keep coming back and have even a better year next year.
What are the quarterback’s thoughts on transitioning to Frank Reich as Offensive Coordinator?
Rivers: There will be some subtle changes. There is every year even if (Ken Whisenhunt) would have stayed. You always tweak things to see ways you could improve. But from a terminology standpoint and offensive system, it will be the same. But certainly, (Reich and Whisenhunt) are different. They have different personalities. Ken Whisenhunt was a tight end and Frank Reich was a quarterback in this league for a long time. What position you play certainly (gives) you a different approach to things and you see things a little bit differently. But I’m excited about Frank. He and I have a great relationship. We communicate very, very well (with) him being the quarterbacks coach last year. So now as coordinator, that won’t change. I’m really excited. I think we’ll be on the same page as I was with Whiz. As a fan, I would be fired up because I think you’ll see a lot of the same things and even a year better.
What was his impression of D.J. Fluker?
Rivers: He was great. From day one when he first practiced with us in the spring to where he was when he finished the season, it was unbelievable how much he improved. That’s not to say he wasn’t good in the spring, but he had some things he had to clean up and work on just adjusting to the pro game. We asked him to play right tackle in this league, which is tough, and he played some left tackle. But I think what D.J. brings besides being a good player and being physical is he loves the game. His passion and energy and daily willingness to learn and be his best every day is really unmatched. He gained a lot of the respect from the veterans early on. The guys quickly learned how sincere he was. He was daily. That was him. So he quickly brought a little bit of a leadership aspect in his own way as a young player. We’re going to need him to keep improving, and he’ll be a staple of this offensive line for years to come.
What is Rivers up to during this early portion of the offseason?
Rivers: It’s been a good offseason. Obviously it started too soon as it did for everybody that didn’t play in the big game. We finished off the year getting into the postseason and winning a playoff game. It was a very exciting run for our team and I know it was for our fans as well. So it’s kind of a hard transition because you go from being in the (season) routine to getting a new offseason routine. I’m spending a lot of time with my family and doing a little football stuff here and there to just stay ready. The season will be here before we know it.