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Evaluating the Quarterbacks with QB Coach Shane Steichen

Over the coming weeks, we'll be checking in with the Chargers' position coaches and coordinators to get the inside scoop. We continue with Quarterbacks Coach Shane Steichen.

Chargers.com:Although you've been on the coaching staff for a number of years, this is your first time in charge of the quarterbacks after mainly dealing with wide receivers.  What is the biggest adjustment for you personally?

Steichen:The biggest transition from coaching the wide receivers compared to quarterbacks is coaching the details of the pass protections and the run game.  There are checks that go into the run game along with making sure we are in the correct protection calls. All the pass game stuff ties in together when talking about QBs and WRs.

Chargers.com:There is not much to say about Philip Rivers at this point that hasn't already been talked about over the years.  As far as the meeting room goes, what is one thing about Philip that fans may not realize?

Steichen:During the season he is in the film room at 5:00am every Monday after a Sunday game. He is already working on the next opponent.

Chargers.com:With Philip entrenched as the starter as someone who has played so well for so long, what is your coaching style with him compared to the other three QBs on the roster?

Steichen:I like to coach all the quarterbacks the same. Older or younger players; it doesn't matter. You can't get bored with the fundamentals and the details of the position. Philip is unique in that he has been an outstanding player at the position for a long time now, so there are more discussions and consulting with a guy of that caliber. Kellen (Clemens) has been in this league for a decade now so he understands what it takes to be successful in this league. Zach (Mettenberger) has a few years under his belt and is continuing to grow as a pro. Mike (Bercovici) is a rookie and has handled himself well, still (has) a ton to learn, but has taken the details of coaching well.

Chargers.com:For a young player like Zach Mettenberger, what does it mean for his development to have a resource like Philip Rivers?

Steichen:It's invaluable.  It's an incredible opportunity for Zach to come in, be around Philip and learn from him.  It can't be overstated how important it will be.  He is coming in and watching someone who has done it for so long at a high level. 

Chargers.com:To get a young guy like Mettenberger in the system so late in May, I imagine it must be a pretty intense crash course for him.  What are you doing to make that transition easier, and what do you like about Zach's game specifically?

Steichen:It's been good and he's done a great job.  It is a similar offense to what he ran in Tennessee, so it has been pretty smooth for him actually.  What we like about him is he has a huge arm obviously, which people have seen.  He has a cannon for an arm and can make all the throws. He's done a real nice job, and he has a good presence about himself.  His footwork has been good and he is getting the ball out quick.  So we like what we've seen.

Chargers.com:Kellen Clemens has been in the league for over 10 years.  How valuable is that experience in particular when looking at a backup quarterback?

Steichen:Kellen has been in the league for a long time for a reason.  He is very sharp and has had success when his number has been called.  He's had another nice offseason, and he's done a very nice job so far.

Chargers.com:How has it been with Zach and Kellen as two veterans splitting the time behind Philip?

Steichen:It's been good.  They are both competitors. The room has been great, and everyone gets along well. It's been a great atmosphere, and both players are doing a good job on the field.  We like what we are seeing and how they are performing.

Chargers.com:What about Mike Bercovici made him a target as an undrafted free agent?

Steichen:What jumped out on film about Mike is that he threw for a ton of yards in the Pac-12 and he has a good, quick release.  He has good fundamentals, and he's sharp.  He can make all the calls out there and he is doing a nice job so far.  But having a quick release and quick feet are two things you must have in the NFL, and he has that.

Chargers.com:What is the most valuable attribute a backup quarterback can have?

Steichen:There are a bunch, but I think intelligence and accuracy are the two most important.  You have to prepare as if you are the starter even if you are the backup.  If you are intelligent and accurate, it gives you the best chance for success. If you have those two, you can play in this league. You have to be on it mentally to go in there, perform, and win us a game at a moment's notice.  You have to know how the defense is going to play, so as long as you are accurate and intelligent, you have a good chance.

Chargers.com:Can you walk us through what it is like to breakdown film from practice with all four quarterbacks?

Steichen:No matter who takes the reps, when we go back to the room and watch the tape I will give them notes on every single play.  Whether it is a mistake or something good, whatever it is we talk about it.  If it is something we can do better, we all talk about it, and hopefully it is corrected and they all carry it over with them to the field. But the biggest thing is the corrections.  We all as a group watch every single player whether it is Philip doing it or any of the others.

Chargers.com:Finally**, *how much do you lean on the resources you have on this staff who coached quarterbacks in similar capacities, including Mike McCoy, Ken Whisenhunt, John McNulty and Nick Sirianni?

Steichen:It's been awesome, and I do (reach out) when I need to.  All those guys have been great. If there is ever a question that comes up they are quick to answer.  They have all done it before, so it's been great to have them here.

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