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Clemens on Rivers: “Everything I Expected and More”
There are many reasons Kellen Clemens is thrilled to be a San Diego Charger. There’s his fellow quarterback, Philip Rivers, who has exceeded Clemens’ high expectations as a player and person. There are also the weapons on offense, a litany of talented players he feels fortunate to call his teammates.
For those reasons and more, Clemens is excited about what the future holds now that he is in San Diego.
“I tried not to have any set expectations when I signed,” he said following the most recent OTA. “After I signed I had an opportunity to have some conversations with Philip, and I had some conversations with (Danny) Woodhead to get a feel for the people in the building and how they do things. Everything started out great, and it’s gotten even better the longer I’ve been here. I’m ecstatic.”
Selected 49th overall in 2006, Clemens has appeared in 40 games with 21 starts over his career, completing 338 of 620 passes (54.5%) for 3,944 yards and 15 touchdowns. Last year with the Rams Clemens appeared in 10 games with nine starts, completing 142 of 242 attempts (58.7%) for 1,673 yards and eight touchdowns for a 78.8 passer rating.
Even though he started most of last year with the Rams, Clemens is embracing his backup role in San Diego. While he’ll be ready should his number be called on game day, he’s been focused on assisting Rivers any way possible. The two have spent countless hours together since he joined the team on March 13, and Clemens is impressed by Rivers.
“It’s been awesome because he’s been everything I expected him to be, and a little bit more to be honest,” he said. “He’s a great pro and a hard working guy. He still keeps it loose. I’ve already learned some things from him like leadership and little things he does within this offense. So it’s been a great first few months and a great first few practices. There’s a lot of creativity, a lot of flexibility and a lot of ownership that they give to us. The more I’m able to watch him the more I’m able to pick it up.”
For as impressed as Clemens has been with Rivers, number 17 feels the same way about the new passer.
“He’s been great,” Rivers said. “He’s a veteran player and a guy I actually knew a little bit prior to coming here. He’s a true team guy. He wants us to win and he told me very early on that he’s here to help. If his number is called he’ll be ready to go. It’s been a seamless transition and it’s good to have him here.”
Brad Sorensen is the other quarterback in the room, and he too is grateful to have Clemens in the fold.
“He’s been a big help to me,” said Sorensen. “We became great friends right off the bat. He’s real easy to get along with and is super knowledgeable. And that’s big for me because I’m trying to grow and learn, and he’s got a lot of tips for me. So it’s been great having him around.”
All together, the three passers form an impressive quarterbacks stable.
“It really is a great room, and that’s important because we’ll be spending more time with each other than our families when the season rolls around,” Clemens said. “It’s a blessing to be a part of this with those guys. There’s a respect that’s paid to Philip because of what he’s accomplished in this business. I know how to do that and Brad has been great too. Brad is a hard working guy and has a very, very strong arm. At the same time he doesn’t say a whole lot, but that’s who he is and it works for him.”
While important, there is more that goes into making a successful quarterback than a close-knit position group. As impressed as Clemens is by Rivers and Sorensen, he’s equally effusive of the talented weapons that compose the Chargers’ offense.
“My goodness!” he said. “I haven’t had much of a chance to throw to Malcom (Floyd), Keenan (Allen) or (Antonio) Gates. Eddie (Royal) I have a little bit and Ladarius (Green) a little too. But having a chance to watch all those guys is unbelievable. And then I’m working with the two’s and you look at that talent, you see guys like that could easily be with the one’s. Working with guys like Vincent Brown, Dontrelle Inman and Tutu (Seyi Ajirotutu) has also been unbelievable. Plus, we’ve got three starting tailbacks so somebody has to fall back to working with the two’s depending on the rotation. So you’ve got a stud sitting back there too. It’s been really impressive so far. It’s been fun to watch and be a part of.”