Caldwell is very familiar with Rivers, having coached against him as head coach of Wake Forest when Rivers played at North Carolina State. And while Rivers has had a very successful career in the NFL, Caldwell said he remains the same guy.
“The thing about outstanding players is they don’t change much,” Caldwell said. “He was outstanding back then, and he’s outstanding today. He does a tremendous job.
“You can tell he’s got an unbelievable work ethic. I was impressed with him as a very young guy. And then obviously we saw him a number of times when we were at Indianapolis. He just seems to continue to get better and better.”
While concerned about San Diego’s explosive offense, Caldwell said he’s impressed by how the Chargers defense played in general during the preseason, and specifically Melvin Ingram.
“As a group, they have experience, speed, intelligence, disguise and scheme,” Caldwell said, when asked about San Diego’s secondary. “[Chargers defensive coordinator John] Pagano does a nice job of mixing it up.
“But you couple that with the fact that they have what I think is guys that really rush the passer as well. You have some unusual cats out there that are rushing the passer that are relentless when you look at film, and it certainly creates some problems for you. So it’s really rush plus coverage. And I think they give you both of those aspects.”
Caldwell gushed over Ingram.
“He’s always been a highly productive guy,” Caldwell said. “He can give you all kinds of problems. He looks quick and fast. And certainly he’s one of those guys they’re counting on. I don’t see any down side to his production.
“He’s quite a talent. We'd better know where he is and do a good job on him, because otherwise he’ll wreck the game.”
Caldwell said he has a good relationship with Chargers general manager Tom Telesco from his time as the offensive coordinator and head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, while Telesco worked his way up the ladder in the personnel department.
“We had a real good, close working relationship,” Caldwell said about Telesco. “I have the utmost respect for him. He’s a smart guy. He works at his craft. He certainly a very skilled evaluator, and has outstanding personal relationship-building skills. I could see him exactly where he is today. You knew it wouldn’t be long.”