QUARTERBACK PHILIP RIVERS
(on the winning streak in December)
I think you want to win them all. You want to win every time you line up. I don't think you really think about that streak, but you obviously, the fact that we've been able to win in December the last four years it's helped us get going into January. So, the fact that this is the last one in December, it's not the forefront, but it'd be nice to be able to extend it to next season by going and getting this win. Obviously that's not at the top of the list, but it would be nice to keep that going.
(on if this is like a homecoming for him playing close to his home state of Alabama on Christmas night)
It is. It's about as close as you can get. Obviously, about two hours away is home. There will be a bunch of family at the game and coming that way. So, it is. It is nice going back going back and playing close to home. Obviously, it's tougher on some of our guys. I feel fortunate that it does fall close to home.
(on the number of tickets he has for family for the game against the Titans)
There's a bunch of them. It's probably 70-plus.
(on if he's disappointed that he will not face David Thornton and Keith Bulluck)
I tell you, you never want to see guys get hurt, it's unfortunate. Those are two really solid players. Obviously, Keith's been there a long time and Thornton coming over with the Colts, two really good players. I hate to see those guys go down, you really do. Certainly they'll have guys step and go, but certainly losing two key components to their defense.
(on if there is any lingering bad blood between the teams)
It really hasn't. We've even been asked about that out here locally. Those games are long gone. I read a quote from Kevin Mawae out here in this paper that it's obviously not in any of their minds or hasn't been talked about there. It hasn't been talked about here. It's a physical team, it always has been. It's obviously been one of the reasons why they've been such a solid team year-in and year-out. We're going to expect a physical game and looking forward to it.
(on if he has intentionally tried to tone down his confidence)
Well, I think over time the perception that was created then, you just over time spin it the other way. I think I never go out of my way to play with any extra emotion or go out of my way to tone it down. I just try to be myself and go out there and have fun. I play the game like I did in the backyard there in North Alabama growing up. I think over time, those things have kind of disappeared and I think you begin to be seen as I am which is just a competitor that loves the game. It's really nothing more than that, likes to play with a lot of passion. I think for the most part all of those things have blown over and aren't really there anymore.
(on if he feels he gets overlooked compared to Peyton Manning and Drew Brees)
I think I'm most concerned with helping this team win games. We've won a bunch of them in the last four, five years, four years. We want to make a run in the postseason and obviously it starts on Christmas night helping out our chances for that. But I think you have to continue to play as consistent as you can and as high level as you can year after year. The guys you mention, when you mention Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, they've done it at a high level for a long time. I think the more you do it year after year, respect and recognition and things like that will come with it.
(on if there is a pass first mentality in the league)
I tell you, this league kind of seems to go in circles from whether it's run heavy or pass heavy. These last few years you've seen a lot more no-backs, empty backfields, throwing the football. You're just seeing more of a pass happy league. I don't know for whatever reason why that is, but we still know here that our system and our scheme is built on running the football. Everything kind of stems from that whether it be the play-action, it goes from there. I think we've had success throwing it. We haven't had statistically the numbers as we've had in the past running it, but yet the threat is still there. The past few weeks, the games we've had, we've had big runs and sustained the run when we needed to. It's been a nice balance.
(on Billy Volek)
Billy's doing great. Billy was a great addition to this football team. I feel fortunate to have him in the meeting room every day and on the field. He's a sharp guy that can throw a few reminders every now and then and really is fun to compete and work with. We really push one another. He's played a lot of football and I think too, as I think whether he's a starter or not, he's brought some leadership with him to this team. He really fits in well with this football team, it's been a great addition.
(on getting his contract worked out before the season)
I was extremely grateful first and thankful to even have the opportunity to have it done and get an extension and to be committed to for an extended amount of time. To be the quarterback here in San Diego, I was obviously excited but certainly I think that was a top priority from both the Chargers and my standpoint was to not let it creep in and be a distraction to this team or this season. Let's get it knocked out before we're even late, late into training camp. I think with both of our understanding of that we were able to get that done to where it doesn't become a distraction. I've seen it become distractions with other places and other things. So, we were fortunate that that didn't happen. It was certainly nice to put that aside. As you mentioned, put the business side to it to the side and just go play football which is what we're best at and what we like to do most.
(on what sparks a turnaround and how dangerous is that team down the stretch)
Well, I think, to see what Tennessee's done really going 7-1, 0-6 and then won seven of their last eight. I think first what you've got to have is a great group of veteran leadership and I think that's evident there in Tennessee and then just a group of guys that take it one week at a time. I know we were 4-8. If you look at the big picture, and you look at 0-6 and look at the Colts and you look at some of these teams, you can find a way to be not very motivated. If you zero in on yourself and say, 'We're in the National Football League and we get a chance to go play 10 more Sundays they've kind of guaranteed us.' We were 4-8, they promised we could play four more. We just went and played one at a time. Tennessee has bought into a similar mindset and they're playing as well as any team in the league right now. We know what it was like, as we talked about earlier, going there in '07 and how tough it was. We had three points on the board going into the fourth quarter and then the playoff game here. It's going to be a playoff type game, the only game on in town. It will be exciting.