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How Mike Pouncey Made a Unique First Impression on Philip Rivers
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The two did not have a relationship prior to him joining the Bolts, but had heard a lot about one another from contemporaries around the league over the years.
“I didn’t know him (before he signed),” Rivers admitted. “I certainly had respect from afar, but didn’t really know him personally. The guys that have known him and the guys that play offensive line here and other places, they speak nothing but highly about him. Just the player he is, the mentality he brings and all those things you want in that guy in the middle. I’m certainly glad we got him.”
Thus, Pouncey had Monday circled on his calendar so he could finally get to know number 17 and begin their work in earnest.
That day finally arrived this morning when the Chargers returned to Hoag Performance Center for the start of the offseason program.
So, what happened when Pouncey met Rivers?
One might say it got off to an auspicious beginning.
“I was actually sitting in his seat, and he got me up and moved me out of it,” Pouncey said with a hearty laugh.
With that minor gaffe aside, the two have already hit the ground running as Rivers couldn’t be happier to have one of the game’s top centers join an offensive line that surrendered the fewest sacks in 2017.
For now, Pouncey and Rivers’ interactions are limited to the classroom per the CBA. However, the two will spend a significant amount of time studying together.
After all, the quarterback-center relationship may be the most important in all of football.
“It’s a very important relationship like you’ve heard me talk about,” Rivers said. “It’ll start today, the communication. He comes from a place where he’s used to calling out the MIKE and doing all those things, which is a real positive. Obviously, we handle most of that (because) here the quarterback does (that). But he has familiarity with doing that, liking that and taking ownership of those things certainly helps because that means he’s been doing it. So, it’s just a matter of getting on the same page (and) how he and I have to work together, get it down how we see best and how we’ve done it. Shoot, he’s a Pro Bowl player who’s done it a long time, so I don’t think that’ll be a problem.”
“We’ll start doing some center-quarterback exchange stuff,” Pouncey added. “My biggest thing is learning the offense as fast as possible before we get out on the football field. I’m a big guy that wants to be a part of MIKE identification and stuff like that, so once I get comfortable with that, we can do all of the other stuff. But with the new CBA and all of that stuff, it’s kind of hard to get the center-QB exchange because you don’t want to break any of the rules and set the team back.”
Still, Rivers was adamant the two will spend countless hours this offseason building the intrinsic relationship needed between a quarterback and his center.
“It’s a joint effort, but the more we can build trust throughout this offseason program and training camp knowing he already sees what I see, it just provides a level of comfort that we know is getting communicated. That’s got to come with time, but again, his reputation speaks for itself that that won’t be an issue with us getting on the same page pretty quick.”