Q: Does the team enjoy this sense of “being hidden in the shadows”? Personally, as a lifelong Charger fan, nothing makes me happier than to see my team being slept on and then have them tear it up, as they have been this year. – Robert Garcia
A: It’s hard to be in the shadows when you are 11-3 and tied for the best record in the AFC. But I do agree there is something to be said about “being slept on.” The Chargers seem to thrive embracing this role, but in the end, it really doesn’t matter at all. Head Coach Anthony Lynn was asked this very question last week, and I thought his answer best sums up the team’s attitude:
“Over dog, underdog, doesn't matter to us. We just take it one week at a time and we just try to be the very best that we can be and what people say about us, we really don't control. We try to pay attention to things that we can control.”
*Q: I’m so (freaking) proud of this team, dude. I’m proud of Mike Williams for stepping up when Keenan went down. I’m proud of Damion and Philon for holding it down while Brandon Mebane and Corey Liuget are out. I’m proud of Justin Jackson and Detrez for stepping up with Melvin and Austin out. I’m proud of Mike Davis for stepping up. I’m proud of this team! – Adam Shaw *
A: I couldn’t agree more, Adam. The character of this team is pretty special, and you’re right in all those players you named stepping up and rising to the occasion. Football is a total team sport where all 53 players are needed at one point or another. There’s one more name I want to add to your list – Sean Culkin. He’s missed the last two games with a back injury, but the second-year tight end has been an impact player who’s flown under the radar. He only has one catch on the year – and it was a pretty impressive one at that – but his blocking in the run game has been phenomenal. In fact, he’s often on the field to start the game and set a tone as he’s started nine of the 12 games he’s appeared in. It’s impossible not to root for guys like Culkin, so I wanted to make sure he gets his due as well.
Q: Your Philip Rivers story about his children made me well up. My dad’s been gone for six years now, and we would always watch the Chargers together. He’s a special guy. – Daniel P.
A: I tend to avoid putting these types of comments into the mailbag and prefer to answer your questions, but I’m really touched by the responses I’ve gotten to the story I wrote on Philip Rivers through the eyes of his children. Philip really is a special human being, and while we all see him between the white lines on Sunday, it was a privilege to get the chance to show you the type of father and family man he is. It’s probably in my top three in terms of stories I’m proudest to have written.