Philip Rivers has faced the Chargers defense for nearly one month straight. That comes after weeks of going against them over and over again during the offseason program.
Perhaps no one has better insight into what makes San Diego's defense tick more than number 17.
To that end, while impressed in many areas, the quarterback stressed one thing stands out to him more than anything else.
"It's the way they are playing together," he said. "It's a unit that has lot of energy and are flying around, but they have been playing together. Out here on the practice field you can hear the way they are communicating and working together. We got to get a taste of it for four series the other night. It was as good as you could play. Two turnovers, a three-and-out and score seven points."
As Rivers noted, the defense was lights out against the Arizona Cardinals during the four series they played Friday night. In fact, Head Coach Mike McCoy said that the plan heading into the game was to give the first team an entire half. However, after playing the way they did in the first four series, McCoy made wholesale changes after seeing the way the starters established the way they wanted to play.
It's impossible to expect the defense to play to that level throughout an entire season, which is why Rivers said any team that did that would naturally go 16-0. Still, it was an encouraging performance that has the Bolts confident going forward.
"You can't quite expect that for four quarters all year long (from them), If we do, we'll (not only) win the division (but) we'll win all of them! They showed that when going like that and (the offense) gets going why the expectations are high in the locker room."
In order to attain those expectations, Rivers knows the Chargers have to drastically improve in AFC West play. San Diego went 0-6 last year vs. the Broncos, Chiefs and Raiders. While they have high aspirations, the QB said it won't be an easy task in what he considers one of the toughest divisions in the NFL.
"I think it's got the chance to be one of the more salty, tough divisions in the league. A few years ago it was regarded by many to be a weak division. Now I think it is arguably one of the best. We know what Denver has been. They won the Super Bowl last year and have been the division champs for a handful of years in a row, so they are the top dogs until they aren't. Kansas City got in (to the playoffs) last year and won a playoff game. And shoot, Oakland is kind of the hot team. We lost all six games (against the AFC West last year) so we can't put ourselves up there yet. But I do think our expectation is to win the division. That is our expectation, and we believe in here we can go from the very bottom to winning the division. (There are) a lot of things (we) have to do to make that happen, but it will be all four teams, I imagine battling for a long time. I don't think it will be clear cut."