Tag:Philip Rivers
Posted on: June 26, 2011 5:25 pm

Rivers: Lockout will make NFL players better

Posted by Will Brinson

It's commonly believed that the lockout -- now more than 100 days old! -- will result in some pretty shoddy football whenever the 2011 season begins. In fact, our own Mike Freeman inked a column about this, pointing out that reduced playbooks and less conditioning will 

But the opinion that the quality of football will suffer isn't universal; in fact, Freeman cited Falcons' coach Mike Smith as saying nothing much would change in that very piece. But Chargers' quarterback Philip Rivers -- iyes, the same guy who's 'going stir crazy' amid the lockout -- has an entirely different, and somewhat surprising stance: he thinks the quality of the NFL's product will be "the best it's ever been."

"The level of play is going to be the best it’s ever been,” Rivers said, per Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. "Guys are going to be fresh -- mentally fresh, which is maybe more important than being physically fresh. For some guys it all runs together.

"Now, with it being how it's been, guys doing their different things, if it gets done like we hope, it’s going to be kind of like that lost toy you found."

I'd probably disagree with Rivers on his stance, but there's definitely something to his theory.

Football is about practice and repetition and whatnot, but it's also a job, and anyone who's ever held a job knows that never getting a break from work can cause mental stress and burn out even the most mentally tough of workers.

Of course, Rivers' theory is also contingent on the fact that NFL teams will get some training camp to prep for the season.

"Where the level of play could be hindered is if we don’t have a regular training camp," Rivers said. "If we get the regular four to six weeks, I think it's going to be as good as it's ever been."

If, as many people -- myself included -- believe, the lockout ends by the middle of July, it's entirely likely that we'll see teams get just enough practice time to test Rivers' notion.

And if he's correct, it's going to be pretty easy to forget this whole summer of discontent that's haunted the NFL.

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Posted on: June 9, 2011 8:58 am
Edited on: June 9, 2011 4:46 pm

Rivers not headed to UFL if lockout drags on

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Philip Rivers is often mentioned as one of the NFL's best quarterbacks. The unquestioned leader in San Diego, he was part of a 2004 draft class that included Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger. Poll 100 fans, and the majority would take Rivers over the other two, even though he's the only one without a Super Bowl ring. Which just reinforces the point that it takes more than a franchise QB to win championships (although it's almost impossible to pull off without one).

Like most players, the lockout has left Rivers with no day job and a lot of time on his hands. To keep busy, he has organized team workouts to keep some semblance of order amid and otherwise weird offseason.

On Wednesday, Rivers spoke with XX Sports Radio (via SportsRadioInterviews.com) in San Diego about everything from an eight-game season to whether the UFL (!) would be an option if the NFL season is pushed back or canceled.

The league has contingency plans for a shortened schedule should it come to that. And while it's not something anybody wants, recent history suggests that it won't have much of an impact on the eventual champion. Which might explain why, in Rivers' mind, whether eight games or 16, a Super Bowl title is a Super Bowl title.

“Oh, eight game season (is) crazy," Rivers said. "Shoot you only played 10 in high school. Play eight, get in, let’s go. It counts the same.

"I certainly won’t feel bad if that’s the case and we’re able to go on and win it. Definitely eight games over no season. Certainly prefer 16 over eight, but there needs to be football of some sort. I’m not ready to concede to the fact that eight games is a possibility. We still have two months to get something done.”

Rivers admitted that he "just can't really even believe [a lockout] can happen" because "I don't have a back-up plan." He even went so far as to tell his wife that "I’m playing football somewhere, sometime this season."

That led to the inevitable follow-up about if that meant the UFL was an option.

“No... . I’m not going that far. I just can’t imagine not playing football and it’s not happening. I think everybody else feels the same way. Hopefully both sides with this lawsuit and negotiations feel the same way too. Ultimately it’s like that research paper that’s due, you’ve known it for three months but for some reason you’re sitting up at the last night typing it at midnight. It’s not midnight yet…"

Translation: "I love football, but not enough to risk the rest of my career, millions of dollars, and the chance at some titles just to play with the Sacramento Mountain Lions."

For now, Rivers, like the rest of us, waits. Just don't expect him to keep you updated on his offseason goings on via Twitter because he's not a fan. “I understand it can be a great tool and it can be super positive," he said. "It just seems to me to be something else to manage that doesn’t seem to be necessary.”

We have no idea what you're talking about, Philip.

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Posted on: June 5, 2011 6:57 pm

Smith out of Carolina 'not a foregone conclusion'

Posted by Will Brinson

We've covered at fairly decent length the saga of Steve Smith and the inevitable conclusion of him playing football somewhere other than Carolina next season. (The hottest rumor? The Chargers.)

But maybe we're all just jumping on our conclusion mats a bit early; Panthers coach Ron Rivera says, according to Joe Pearson of the Charlotte Observer, it's "not a foregone conclusion" that Smith is headed out of town next year.

"We had a great conversation. He was honest. He was forthright," Rivera said. "He did kind of leave me at a point where I was wondering exactly where does he want to go with this? I will wait until we sit down and talk when the time comes."

Hmmm. That last little bit doesn't sound quite as sure as the "not a foregone conclusion" part.

In fact, Rivera almost seems to be using the phrase as a nice way of saying "It's only a 99-percent chance that he's gone" rather than advising people to assume that Smith will leave.
Smith's Saga in Charlotte

He has to do that though, because Smith's under contract through the 2012 season, and if it's painfully obvious that he both sides want him gone, it's much more difficult to get good value in a trade.

That being said, there are plenty of teams who could use Smith's talent and unique skillset -- the Chargers actually really stand out in that category -- and once the lockout's lifted, it sure does seem like Smith will essentially be considered in the same category as "free agents."

He just has the added bonus of not needing a new contract before the season starts.

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Posted on: May 26, 2011 10:48 am
Edited on: May 26, 2011 10:54 am

Rivers on Steve Smith rumors: 'Bring him on'

Posted by Will Brinson

Steve Smith is considered done in Carolina. Even though he hasn't said he wants to be traded, and even though he's handling things with the Panthers in a classy way, everyone expects him to move on in 2011.

One of the rumored landing spots that Smith would prefer is in San Diego -- he's a California guy, the Chargers are good and he wouldn't be unwelcome.

"Bring him on," Bolts QB Philip Rivers said on Rome Is Burning Wednesday. "Hey, we've got a great deal of weapons here. I certainly appreciate each and every one of them. Any time you can add a guy of that caliber, I'm all for it."

The Chargers do have a pile of weapons, but as 2010 taught us, injuries and holdouts can quickly take a toll on the old depth chart.

Starting the year off with Vincent Jackson, Malcolm Floyd and Antonio Gates is ridiculous.

Ending the year with Legedu Naanee, Seyi Ajirotutu, and Randy McMichael is even more ridiculous.

Smith might be older at this stage of his career, but he's still got plenty of home-run pop. Plus, he's been working in a fairly constricted Panthers offense with lower-end quarterbacks his entire career.

If Norv Turner got a hold of his abilities and paired it with Rivers' arm and Jackson and Gates to keep opposing defenses at bay, it's possible Smith could post the best numbers of his career.

Which is probably why Rivers was smiling so much when talking about the rumors that have Smith heading out west.

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Posted on: May 5, 2011 5:41 pm

Steve Smith wants to be a Raider or Charger?

Posted by Will Brinson

It's pretty common knowledge that Steve Smith wants out of Carolina. Or, at least, since he refuses to talk about his situation, so it's common knowledge that Smith is doing everything -- including cleaning out his locker and attempting to sell his Charlotte-area home -- to indicate that he wants out.

But where could he go? Well, Chuck Carroll of FootballNewsNow.com reports that Smith is interested in going to either the Raiders or the Chargers next season.

Smith is a native of Lynwood, California, so if the report is true, it makes sense from the perspective of Smith, 31, wanting to get closer to home as he wraps up his career.

The actual part of trading him is tricky, of course. First, there has to be a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and/or league rules in place. Right now, that seems kind of far off.

Secondly, um, Oakland? Because, they have, um, a quarterback? I kid ... kind of. Hue Jackson's an offensive guy, he'd know how to utilize Smith, and Jason Campbell's at least going to have more success than Jimmy Clausen in 2011. (Or, at the very least, you can definitely make that argument and not get anyone fighting you on it.)

And finally, could a deal between the two teams work? Oakland would probably make a play -- Smith is FAST and we know how much Al Davis likes SPEED. But would San Diego give up a talented youngster or an early-round pick for Smith when it's already clear that they can operate successfully with low-end wide receivers on the field? I'm not so sure about that.

That being said, Smith doesn't exactly control his destiny in terms of where he'll end up playing in 2011, and you can expect the Panthers to use his value in an effort to try and rebuild on the fly.

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Posted on: April 3, 2011 2:34 pm

Offseason Checkup: San Diego Chargers

Posted by Will Brinson


Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups.

2010 was a weird year for the San Diego Chargers. They had all the tools necessary to contend for a Super Bowl, and in a season when parity reigned supreme, that should have equated with success. It didn't, though, because the San Diego got off to one of its patented slow starts, performed epically horrible on special teams, and couldn't close out inferior teams.

Statistically, though, it was all there. Philip Rivers was a machine on offense, piling up big stats despite throwing to guys like Legadu Naanee, Patrick Crayton, Randy McMichael and Seyi Ajirotutu. Part of what got those A-listers on the top of the Bolts' receiving stats was injuries (well, most was injuries), and part was the holdout of Vincent Jackson. Oh yes, and Mike Tolbert -- just like everyone expected -- was the team's leading rusher.

Defensively, San Diego thrived despite not having an elite pass-rushing presence. In fact, just like on offense, they were the No. 1-ranked team in the league. And yet, again, no playoffs. It's a really odd conundrum, frankly, and it's either a really weird fluke or it's indicative of a bigger problem within the organization. Given the Chargers' typically annual success, the jury's still out on the latter, but another slow start and sloppy manner of missing the playoffs could change that in 2011.

Special Teams, Depth

It's not all that hard to pinpoint the problems for the Chargers in 2010. Pretty clearly, special teams cost them a couple of wins and therefore a shot at the postseason (plus, likely a divisional title). 

Of course, fixing special teams is much easier than, say, fixing a giant hole at quarterback, and it's entirely possible that with the right personnel moves, the Chargers will be fine in that area in 2011. In fact, once some veterans were plugged into the special teams unit, San Diego was much better at the third leg of football than it was earlier in the year. (At that point, though, it was just too late.) 

Perhaps the bigger problem for the Chargers in 2011 will be the status of certain players. Vincent Jackson was franchised, but depending on how the CBA shakes out, he could be gone. It seems somewhat reasonable that he's around for one more year. Malcolm Floyd could be out the door as well, meaning the Chargers' depth at wide receiver could be crushed back to late-last-year levels. If Kevin Burnett, Stephen Cooper, Eric Weddle, Jacques Cesaire, Travis Johnson leave, the defense is going to take a hit too. It's part of the problem with the way A.J. Smith built the team -- if the labor negotiations don't favor the league, San Diego's depth suffers.

1. Defensive End
As might have been said 5,000 times in these previews thus far, it's a pretty good year to need depth at defensive line. So it wouldn't be surprising at all to see the Chargers nab a defensive end with their first-round pick. J.J. Watt, Cameron Jordan and Adrian Clayborn are all highly likely/possible picks for San Diego at No. 18.

2. Linebacker
Shaun Phillips had a monster year in 2010, but San Diego needs to beef up their linebacking corps, unless they actually think that Larry English can end up performing to his first-round expectations. (And, speaking of which, not exactly a great last pair of years in the first round for A.J. Smith, huh? Ryan Mathews and Larry English aren't exactly justifying their top-20 status.) English could still justify the selection, but there's some serious talent that would fit San Diego's scheme in guys like Robert Quinn, Akeem Ayers and Ryan Kerrigan, the latter two of whom should fall to 18 pretty easily. Quinn's a guy that would be a steal at 18 and could also be a trade-up target for Smith if hops up the board again in 2011.

3. Wide Receiver
Talk about an up-in-the-air position for the Bolts: if Jackson and Floyd end up leaving, they're going to need some serious help here. Buster Davis isn't going to pan out and while Antonio Gates should technically qualify as "depth" at wideout, having Naanee and Ajirotutu as the top receiving options just isn't going to cut it. Smith and Norv Turner know they can have success with less than elite talent, though, so seeing them take a wideout with an early pick would be a bit surprising.

Look, the Chargers are capable of winning it all in 2011. Statistics don't mean everything (obviously), but if a team is the top offensive AND defensive team, it means there's enough talent on the roster to bring home the Lombardi Trophy. Living up to the lofty expectations this franchise has set for the past few years in 2011 will require two things: not making simple mistakes and actually remembering that football starts in September.

It would help, too, for the Bolts to address some of their defensive needs as well. And for their last two first-rounders -- English and Mathews -- to play up to their potential. Should all of that happen in 2011 and the Chargers don't win the division and/or at least make a run to the playoffs, it's entirely possible that Norv Turner's job could be on the line once again. At this point, there's no viable reason for a team with this much success -- statistically speaking -- not to be converting their high-end performance into more wins.

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Posted on: March 24, 2011 10:17 am

Hot Routes 3.24.11 lockout side effects

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

Posted on: March 14, 2011 12:33 pm

Hot Routes 3.14.11: Interest-free loans

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • The Panthers will get an up-close look at Ryan Mallett on Tuesday when they conduct a private workout for the Arkansas QB. This obviously is big news because Carolina holds the No. 1 pick.
  • Several teams, according to a report in SI (via the Baltimore Sun) , have dropped the name of Colorado CB Jimmy Smith off their draft boards. Plenty of questions about his character.
  • George Whitfield, who’s coaching Cam Newton these days, tells Chris Russell of ESPN 980 in Washington that Newton is so far from a finished product that it’s scary. He also said Newton’s QB model is that of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger.
  • According to Ravens S/prize fighter Tom Zbikowski, his next fight is set for March 26 in Atlantic City against the dreaded TBA. So far, Zbikowski is 2-0 with two first-round knockouts. Chances are good that, in a couple weeks, he’ll be 3-0 with three knockouts.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com