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Rivers Anxious but Patient to Learn New System

Posted Apr 16, 2013

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers will be learning a completely new system for 2013.

Philip Rivers sat down to meet the media following his first practice under new head coach Mike McCoy. 

The initial question he was asked was an obvious one.

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“With all this change, is it more demanding of your time preparing for your season than it has been the past few years?”

Rivers didn’t hold back in his response.

“Absolutely,” he said. “When you did something for nine years, call something the same way for nine years and had the same running backs running the routes on certain plays for that long, the focus was on fundamentals and improving techniques and little tweaks scheme wise.  It wasn’t having to study your base stuff (like I am now). So it’s definitely been different and it will be different throughout the whole next few months.  (I’ll) just continue to grind on the little things over and over.  You’ll never be as comfortable (as you think you are).  You know you have to continue to go and go and go, and when you think you start to get it pretty good, you’re still a ways away.”

As a result, Rivers is kind of like a kid on his first day of school. .  He even admitted to getting some of those first day jitters during today’s practice.

“It’s been a challenge kind of learning it and calling a different play,” he said. “I was nervous today calling plays in the huddle.  I’ve been practicing at the house because you get in there and call plays you never really called in a live situation before.  I know what to do.  I can do it on paper.  But you get out there and call it and it is certainly different.”

McCoy understands it is a whole new language, scheme, and system his star quarterback needs to learn.

“It’s completely different,” he said matter-of-factly. “(Offensive Coordinator) Ken Whisenhunt and the staff are putting in the system we’re going to run.  It’s no longer what (Rivers) has done in the past and we’re moving forward with a new system for him.  It’s really a combination of everything.  We’re going to find out what our football team does best over the next number of months into the season.”

Regardless of all the changes Rivers must adapt to, there is one thing that remains constant.

“He’s the leader of the football team,” said McCoy. “He’s a gym rat. He absolutely loves the game.  He loves to be here as much as he can.  He wants to learn every little detail of the offense. Even out there today, asking some great questions about the next step in what we’re doing.  It’s like ‘Hold on now.  Slow down. This is just day one out there. We will get to that but right now we’re just introducing the base to everybody.’  It’s great to come to work every day when you’ve got someone like that that it means so much.”

While Rivers is eager to absorb the process as quickly as possible, he does know it’s important to take the big picture into perspective in order to make sure he fully learns the new system.  That’s why he’s taking a patient approach to learning it.

“Having to learn a new system, a new offense and a lot of new faces in the building, it definitely got here in a hurry” he said. “But it’s exciting to get going.  I think we have to be patient.  Not patient for winning, but patient for this summer because there’s going to be some days where it’s rough.  I’m prepared for those days where it’s just not very good.  You’re working on some things you’re not real comfortable with but you’re trying to get comfortable with, and you just have to grow through those together and try to be ready to roll when September rolls around.”

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