The NFL has a lot of respect for Philip Rivers.
That's to be expected after number 17 has spent the past 14 years authoring one of the best QB careers in the NFL.
However, it's his fellow quarterbacks who tend to gush over Rivers the most. They know how hard it is to play the premiere position in the NFL, which is why they marvel at what he's been able to accomplish over the years.
Kirk Cousins is a true student of the game. As he prepares to take on the Bolts this week, Washington's quarterback went in depth on why Rivers is one of his favorite passers in the league.
"Oh man, it would be hard to say what I respect (most) because there is so much," he said. "It would be a long list. I respect first of all, his longevity. He's like the Terminator; he just says, 'I'll be back,' no matter what happens. Injuries. Adversity around him. Coaching changes. Roster changes. He just keeps coming back, and his production has never really wavered. Stays healthy. He's tough, obviously. He competes no matter what. Quick release. Accurate. Strong arm. Great feet in the pocket. He can elevate the play of the guys around him. Very intelligent. Calls a lot of the game at the line of scrimmage itself. Handles protections well. I mean, I can go on and on with what he does. I think a lot of the traits that he possesses (are) what I'm trying to develop in myself. What I would like to think as time goes, (is that) I can become that type of player. He along with a lot of the other quarterbacks from his era and generation coming into the league in 2003-05, those are the kind of guys that the rest of us are trying to learn from, chase after and bring our games to their level."
Similarly, Rivers has nothing but good things to say about Cousins. The two have crossed paths a number of times, most recently at the Pro Bowl.
"I think Kirk is a heck of a player," Rivers said. "He's got some scrappiness to him, also. But I think he's a heck of a player. He's having a really good season. Again, you mention some of the injuries, but there's a lot of (reasons) why you end up maybe not being right where you want to be this year (in terms of your record). But he's had another really good season. You pull for a guy like that. He worked like crazy to get a shot, and he got it and he's kept it, and he seems to have really a lot of his career ahead of him."
While Cousins explains he is trying to be like Rivers, and acknowledges he still has a way to go, his numbers this year are eerily similar to the Bolts' passer.
Rivers has completed 272 passes for 3,292 yards, 21 TDs and seven interceptions for a 96.0 passer rating.
Cousins has completed 275 passes for 3,289 yards, 21 TDs and eight interceptions for a 99.6 passer rating.
However, there are also stark differences between the two.
Rivers is known for his quick release, which is why he has been sacked a league-low 13 times of any QB to start all 12 games. On the flip side, Cousins has been sacked on 35 occasions, which is the third-most in the NFL. As a result, he's fumbled the ball a league-high six times.
As Cousins mentioned, he has a great deal of respect for Rivers' longevity. Number 17 recently became the league's iron man as his 188 consecutive starts is the longest running streak in the NFL. Cousins believes the fact Rivers keeps trotting out there no matter what is a testament his toughness.
"You can start to say there's good fortune there and a style of play there where maybe he protects himself, but I would argue no matter who you are, you're going out there with something (bugging you) at some point in a streak that long," he said. "(It's) where your body and mind are telling you to rest, and you have the willpower and toughness to keep playing. Not only to keep playing, but keep playing at a high level. I think it says what his teammates and his coaches and the people of Southern California already know, which is that he's a great competitor, great player and one of the best players to ever play for that franchise."