The Los Angeles Chargers returned to practice Wednesday with an 0-2 record after a pair of last-second losses.
The Kansas City Chiefs enter the week with a 2-0 record, sitting atop the power rankings after a pair of impressive victories.
Philip Rivers has been around the league long enough to know what the speculation is on the outside considering this situation. He approached the podium for his weekly press conference at Hoag Performance Center fully expecting a certain set of questions:
Is this a must win game?
How do you keep a positive outlook?
Are the Chargers in a hole considering the other three teams in the AFC West are all undefeated?
While this isn't the position the Bolts want to be in, Rivers expressed optimism for the 2017 campaign. After all, we are only two weeks into a marathon season with plenty of football yet to be played.
Past experience proves to Rivers why there is no need to panic.
"I know there are all the stats out there of how many percentages of teams start out 0-2 make (the playoffs)," he said. "I know all those things. But we have 14 games left. I just know the years we've been on runs, we were 3-1 one year and went to 3-2, and then won 11 in a row. Shoot, the year we were 13-3 we were 2-3 I think, and then won 11 in a row. And then we were 5-5 the year we went to the Championship Game, and then won six in a row."
Number 17 has been encouraged by how the team has played for the most part, putting themselves in the position to win. Although the end result is all that matters, there is something to be said for the manner they are performing.
In order to get on one of those runs the team has gone on in the past, they need to get that first win.
Sometimes, that may be the hardest one to pull off.
"You've got to win one game first," Rivers said. "We all know that. But there's a lot of football left. I think this team sees what we're capable of. We showed it in spurts. Like I said, we haven't been playing sloppy, bad football. We didn't have a turnover last week. Our defense is holding teams to 19 points. Yes, there are a lot of areas to improve, but there is just so much good there that that gives you the belief that we're going to get it turned around and headed in the right direction."
As the veteran leader of the team, Rivers knows it's his duty to convey that optimism inside the locker room. The majority of players were not part of those past runs, so letting them know 0-2 is only the beginning of the 2017 campaign and not the end is paramount.
"Both experience in the league and actually living it out (gives me confidence)," he explained. "Being in these struggles, and then finding your way out of them. We've also more recently been in these struggles and haven't found our way out of them. So I've been on both sides of it. So I think we just have to. We have a young team. These guys who come from these big colleges, if they start off 0-2, they're out of the playoff race. They're out of everything. So it's different here."
Rivers also points toward numerous NFL teams in recent years who were written off, only to come back and have success.
"We can go through a long list of teams you almost wrote them off at 3-5 or 4-5, but then they end up winning the Super Bowl those years. The Giants, I think. Pittsburgh. There's a handful. So, we have a lot of football left. This team's hungry and has the right approach. There's no worry or concern. There's an urgency, but the guys still have a heck of a positive outlook."