Rivers fishes for the starting quarterback job

A year later, Philip Rivers is at camp, again. He showed up at rookie orientation last year but missed much of training camp due to a lengthy holdout that may have cost him the starting job with the San Diego Chargers. This year, he is preparing for the battle and concedes nothing.

After missing out on most of training camp, Philip Rivers saw the starting quarterback job go to teammate Drew Brees. The former North Carolina State quarterback was relegated to the sidelines for much of the year, watching Brees have a dream season.

But the nerves have calmed since this time a year ago. Rivers comes into camp with his usual confident demeanor – and in what appeared to be better shape.

The weight room was an obvious friend to him this offseason but it is his work on the field, in limited reps, that has the animated Rivers excited.

"It felt a lot better this (year) than it did a year ago," he said. "It was good to get back on the field and have a year under my belt. There was a lot of learning going on and I have a lot more confidence than I did last year at this time."

While the only meaningful game action Rivers received in 2004 was in the second half of the Chargers finale against Kansas City – when the AFC West was already wrapped up – he is still the same quarterback the Bolts wanted all along and got in a trade for Eli Manning.

It is the confidence he exudes in and out of the huddle that first caught the eye of head coach Marty Schottenheimer at the 2004 Senior Bowl.

That same demeanor has the second year player thinking that a starting position is within his grasp.

"I am not going to back down," said Rivers. "I am going to strive to do all that I can do."

In the red corner, Brees is coming off a campaign for the ages. With 27 touchdown passes to seven interceptions and the Chargers first AFC West Championship since 1994, along with their first playoff berth since 1995, Brees would seem to have the inside track.

The Chargers invested a lot of money in franchising Brees and have already invested in guaranteed money to Rivers. The one-year deal would seem to trump the six year deal Rivers received.

The returning champ – no longer the chump – has forgotten last season and is ready to move on.

"That is what it is all about – the competition," Brees admitted.

Rivers – he of the one touchdown pass and two quarters of play – speaks as if the competition is wide open. It is the only way he knows how to approach the game.

"It seems like it is a tough situation in San Diego but it is really not," said Rivers. "There have been a lot of quarterbacks who don't play their first year and go into their second year looking like they will not.

"I have a very positive outlook on it. Do I want to be the starter? Yes."

Too bad training camp is still two months away.

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