Phillip Rivers: Can Mr. December become Mr. January?
by Zach Krantz
Mr. October is Reggie Jackson, Mr. November is Derek Jeter, and now Mr. December is Phillip Rivers. That’s right Phillip Rivers. In four years as a starter, he has never lost a December game. But this first game he will play in the postseason this year will be in January. Oops! The emotional Rivers isn’t the most popular guy in the league, he has had run-ins with other players and sometimes his emotions get the best of him. But a guy in his position, at that stage of the game, should be playing with emotion. That’s a guy I would want leading my team. Rivers has been largely overshadowed by Manning and Brees this season, but absolutely deserves some MVP consideration.
The Chargers ended the season with a 13-3 record and the #2 seed in the AFC, winning 11 in a row after a 2-3 start. The Chargers are no longer a running offense with Rivers putting up sick numbers this year, throwing for 4,254 yards, 28 touchdowns and having a 104.4 QB rating. If all goes as planned with higher seeds winning, we could have one heck of a match up with the Colts and Chargers. Maybe this is something Indy doesn’t want; the Chargers have bounced them from the playoffs in each of the last two years. Can Mr., December become Mr. January or better yet, Mr. February. Phillip Rivers joined XX Sports Radio in San Diego with Darren Smith and talked about the Chargers heading into the playoffs, getting the Team MVP, about Coach Norv Turner, and the way the team is reacting to getting to the playoffs.
Asked what his thoughts were on teams resting guys at the end of the season:
“Yeah it’s tough; I think it’s really up to each individual team obviously. But then I think the right thing to do is different for every team. It’s tough that something like that had to happen to Wes (Welker), it’s just so unfortunate. That could happen in week 2; it can happen in the most meaningful game of the year. You got to play smart and try to go that protection route, but at the same time you go play. I thought we had a good approach yesterday, because we did play to win the game. We just chose a different route. Everybody that’s dressed and on this football team is capable as we have shown all year and those guys stepped in there and played well.”
Asked about trying to win the game each week regardless of who is in there playing:
“You know, the Colts, the Saints, whoever was in that position, the Cardinals yesterday were kind of in that position. You kind of earned it, you did win 14, which kind of allows you to approach kind of how you want to I think. I know it may put a little damper on the excitement of the last couple weeks for some of those teams, but it’s hard to decide for those teams or tell them what to do when they have gone out and won 14 games. It seems to me they should have the right to approach the post-season however they wish.”
Asked if there is anything that bothers him about having a bye week when so hot:
“No, I don’t think so. Now we got some guys that can heel up. Mentally you kind of, I don’t know if you refocus, everything gets turned up a little bit. Norv, as I have told you in past interviews, he has put together a great schedule for this upcoming week and the regular game week. It will be good, I think there is a reason why the top two seeds get a bye, and it’s obviously beneficial. If not they would let us keep playing, there is a reason you play for it. I think we will be just fine. I don’t think we have learned anything from the game in 2006 or 2007, I don’t think we go back and say we should have approached it this way but certainly we have been in this position before. It’s a way different team though; this team has grown in many ways and in many ways a totally different team. Certainly the experiences we have gone through since that game, we have been through a lot, we will handle it the right way and we will be ready to go in two weeks.”
Asked if he thought the team was just a more mature team and battle tested:
“For sure, I think that we are 48 games more mature and better in regular season games. More mature, better, better players, we have been through more situations and more adversity. We have played in the AFC Championship Game, we have gone to Indy and won, we have won two home playoff games it’s a way different team then the core that we talk about that played in that game – we have come a long way. We have been battle tested for lack of a better phrase, and hopefully that is going to do us some good in the post season.”
Listen to Phillip Rivers on XX Sports Radio in San Diego with Darren Smith.