"He's fully committed. He's Full Metal Jacket. He's all in."
Philip Rivers earned high praise from Oakland Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden on a call with local media members this week.
The offensive-minded coach, who has made his return to the sideline this season after a decade away, is a true fan of the game of football….and even a fan of those who are his team's rivals.
"He's always been one of my favorite guys in the league just because I've had a chance to compete against him in the past, and had a chance to watch him practice and prepare behind the scenes in recent years," Gruden said. "His preparation behind the scenes is legendary, really. I don't know how big his family is now. He might have the biggest family in the NFL, but he's not distracted. He's able to come in there and work and lead the charge every single week. He's still as talented as he has been in the past, his legs are in great shape and they have a creative scheme and a lot of problem weapons to deal with. He's still at the height of his game."
Besides number 17, Gruden knows his team is in for a challenge against a "very physical" Chargers squad.
"They can physically get after you," he remarked. "They're playing really good defense, I think, without (Joey) Bosa on the tape that I've seen. (Corey) Liuget hasn't played, they've been missing some key guys, but they're developing some young players…. Gus Bradley's defense is going to be all that's advertised, especially when they get back to full strength. Really impressed with Rivers and the creative running game that Ken Whisenhunt has put in. They're doing a great job helping Melvin Gordon become one of the best all-purpose backs in football, so we'll have our hands full."
One of those physical players on the defense Gruden discussed in-depth is Derwin James. Much like his feelings about Rivers, Gruden is also a big fan of the rookie safety – comparing him to a former Charger who he coached against years ago.
"Having been in the AFC West before, he just has that Rodney Harrison playing style that I love. I think Derwin James is good in any generation. He can play with high-top cleats like they used to and leather helmets and if you want to play him on your team today, just put him out there and line him up, he'll be a heck of a player in whatever role you use him…. He's an intimidating player, he is a physical presence. I think he's got range to play deep, he's got coverage ability. He can run through you, he can run around you, he can run right over you. He is a dynamite young player, and he'll be one of the building blocks in L.A. for a long time for the Chargers."