Philip Rivers acknowledged it back in April when the schedule first came out – the bye week couldn't come at a better time. With eight weeks in the bag and another eight to go, the Bolts' bye arrives exactly at the midpoint of the 2017 campaign.
Number 17 hammered that point home immediately after Sunday's loss to the New England Patriots.
"I think it's a perfect time," he said. "Obviously, it's at the halfway mark so that worked out nicely to just try to mentally rest a little bit. Losing the way that we did in those first four – the way we lost – those beat you down. Then you're just fighting and fighting to find a way to be tough enough to battle back. I think really, just trying to take a deep breath and get away a little bit and come back fired up – the guys' spirit in the locker room is pretty good right now because I think we just see it…. We are capable, and I think that's why you'll have an exciting, hungry, healthier team come back ready to go to Jacksonville in two weeks."
After a rough 0-4 start, the Chargers fought back to 3-5, setting up a final two months in which Casey Hayward explained "everything is in front of us."
It's for that very reason that Head Coach Anthony Lynn gave the players the entire week off. It's been an emotional first two months of the season that has been both physically and mentally draining. His hope is that the team recharges for the stretch run.
"All these guys (can use a break)," Lynn said. "These guys have been working hard. I gave them the whole week off because this first half of the season, these guys have played in a lot of close games. (Their) backs have been against the wall so many times (and) they fought back. I just felt like getting away from football, being with their family, was something they needed to do this week while us coaches try to figure some things out."
Lynn didn't mince words when delivering a passionate message to his team heading into the bye. He's proud of the job the team has done to fight back into the thick of the race. Still, there's plenty of work to be done. Their margin for error is thin as they head into the third quarter of their season. Still, all their goals remain within reach.
"He was just telling us how we did a good job in the first quarter of the season (with) how we turned the program around," Desmond King shared. "We went 3-1 in the second quarter of the season, and we're looking forward after this bye week to finish the season strong."
"We're starting to see that we are a good team," echoed Tre Boston. "We have some ground to make up, but we've done a good job getting us back into the hunt. 3-5. Two games back from .500. If we have a third and fourth quarter like we had our second quarter, we'll be a playoff team."
While the players get the week off to recharge the batteries, the coaches remain hard at work at Hoag Performance Center, analyzing what went right so far and what needs improvement. In that sense, the bye comes at the perfect time for the coaching staff as well, providing an ample sample size to evaluate.
"Now is the time that we really get a chance to look at it and say, 'OK, this is where we've really got to get better," said Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. "Start focusing on working (that). It's not that we don't do that every week, but it's just hard when you're on such a schedule of so much stuff you have to prepare for. It's good to get this chance to look at it."
"We're reflecting back on some self-scouting," added Lynn. "Guys are doing projects like crazy right now just trying to figure out different ways that we can get better. When the (players) get back, how do we want to move forward and go on from here?"