Saturday, August 3, 2013
Rivers looks to return to form with Chargers
SAN DIEGO -- The quick, 10-yard slant pass from Philip Rivers hit Malcom Floyd in stride, and bingo, it was good for a touchdown and the Qualcomm Stadium gathering roared its approval.
It came Saturday during the team's annual Fanfest workout, and the Chargers are hoping it's a sign of things to come.
For the Chargers to erase their streak of three straight seasons of missing the playoffs, they need Rivers to return to form. Once mentioned among the game's elite quarterbacks, Rivers has scuffled the past two years and is eager to regain his previous form.
If he does so, it'll be under new head coach Mike McCoy, and an offensive staff which is full of new faces.
"There is a freshness to it, a challenge to it of speaking a different language and all those things," RIvers said. "But it's exciting, it's fun. I've enjoyed it. Now the fun is about playing and having a great season. Now it is time to go. It was a fun process but now it is for real."
The Chargers' enter their next phase of camp Thursday night when they host the Seattle Seahawks in the exhibition opener for both teams. Rivers said he's comfortable in how he's absorbed the new offense and what might be on the horizon.
Under coach Norv Turner, who was fired at the end of last season, the Chargers' offense went from being a team strength to the key reason why they had their first losing record since 2003.
But all Chargers eyes are on the future.
"It's a gradual process and Thursday we want to come out and play well," said Rivers, who threw 26 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions last year, while losing seven fumbles and getting sacked a whopping 49 times. "But Thursday is not going to define what our season is going to be. I've seen a lot of teams not do great in the preseason and have good years.
"But we know what we need to do well Thursday."
A quick start would be beneficial on and off the field. The Chargers' fan base must be convinced the team can rebound under McCoy, a rookie coach, with a team loaded with inexperience players. Despite an attractive home schedule, Chargers season ticket sales are down and not one game has sold out yet.
Coming on the heels of a season in which four home games were blacked out, the Chargers are trying to win back their fans' faith.
"Hey, we haven't had the type of seasons that we wanted the last few years, but when I look back over the last nine years I've been in here, we won a ton of football games in this stadium," Rivers said. "A lot more than we have lost."
Now the Chargers' fingers are crossed that Rivers can find his top-shelf game again.
"He's done a great job," McCoy said in evaluating Rivers' camp performance. "He's bought in to what we're trying to do and done exactly what we have asked from day one here."
The day is coming fast when the Chargers face another team. The face of the franchise, Rivers, is hopeful it's the start of a new era.
Also Saturday, wide receiver Vincent Brown missed practice with a sore hamstring. He missed all of last season with a broken ankle.