Could you imagine being in Philip Rivers' spot, a first-year quarterback facing a Dick LeBeau defense?
Shoot, I face them every day in practice. It's not fun as a third-year guy, let alone a first-year guy. They're a fun defense to watch. I love watching those guys, the way they fly around, the way they make plays. You never know who's blitzing. You never know if Troy (Polamalu) is going to do a somersault before he blitzes or what's going on out there.
Last year's game out there was kind of like a playoff atmosphere. Do you expect that again this year?
Yeah. Last year was a Monday night game and it definitely was. There was a lot of energy and a lot of excitement out there. This is a Sunday night game, so I'm sure it won't be a lot different. It will be pretty crazy out there.
How tough is their defense with (Shawne) Merriman and those guys?
They've got a great defense, it's more than just Merriman. They've got a lot of guys up front with (Luis) Castillo and those guys, and the secondary is obviously very good. It's going to be a challenge for us and we're going to need to play our best football.
How well do you know Phillip Rivers?
I know Phillip a little bit. I wouldn't say we're best friends, but I know him pretty well. I know a lot of what he's gone through, we talked about it before the game last year, about being behing Drew (Brees) and this and that. I'll be interested to talk to him and see how everything's going with him.
Do you guys ever talk about what could have been had the draft had fallen differently?
No, we never really talked about that.
You have mentioned you kind of have a chip being the third quarterback taken. You've gone against Eli (Manning), now you get to go against Rivers.
It'll feel good to get out there. Like I said, I've got a great defense on my side, as does he. It will be a little added incentive.
You guys had a couple of drives last year where you were very crisp working against their defense last year. Has the secondary gotten better?
Yeah. Their whole team has continued to grow together. They've got 10 guys back and like I said, it's a very good football team in every aspect, all phases. It's not going to be easy for us by any stretch.
Has the bye been beneficial to you? What did you get out of it?
Yeah. I got to rest a little bit. I went home, it was my mom's birthday. I also went to Indiana and got to see coach (Terry) Hoeppner.
When you look at what you've done the first two games, what do you think you need to get better at?
I think as much as people may not believe this, I think we've been playing pretty well offensively. There's been a couple of mistakes that have been made that have hurt us. But overall, we're just about a hair off on offense. We're really close to clicking. And when we do start clicking and those wheels start turning together, I think we can be pretty good and pretty dangerous. But I don't think we're as far off as people think.
What'd you get your mom for her birthday?
I got here a bunch of things.
Can you elaborate on that extra incentive thing?
It's not really anything against him. I like playing San Diego because they had a pick. Anybody that was in the top 10 because they had a pick, I like to play against. It feels good.
You clearly think some of that was Miami of Ohio related?
Definitely. Going to a small school doesn't help. But that's all right, I love being here now.
With what you've done already do you think you've shown some people?
Yeah. We played them last year and we beat them and that was fun. But I don't want to just do it once. I'd like to beat every team we play every time we play them.
Coach (Bill) Cowher said he talked to you guys Monday about not looking around the division. Did he have to say that or did you already know that?
Not to me. I don't know about the other guys. For me, it's all about us. It doesn't matter to me what the other guys in the division are doing. We just need to start winning football games.
You said at the end of training camp that all you and Hines (Ward) needed was a day of practice together to get on the same page. Have you even had that yet?
We've been getting there. I think Hines and I are on the same page. But the other team, they get paid a lot of money too. They get paid to stop us. They're pretty good players too. Teams have been doing a lot to stop Hines, doubling him and tripling him. They've been trying to run guys underneath where he's going to be. Give those other teams a lot of credit. But Hines is a Pro Bowler. He's one of the best receivers in the game right now. He'll find ways to get open and I'll get him the ball.
You are seeing triple?
There have been times, especially last week, where there were guys underneath him, behind him and on both side.
A lot of the guys have said they would like to play some afternoon games. Do you like prime time games?
It doesn't feel like we've had a real season yet because we've only played one Sunday afternoon game. But you know it's fun to play those prime time games because you know that alll eyes are on you. It's night, the lights are on and the energy's there. I don't mind those either.
It means you must be pretty good too.
It must. Something's been going right.