Rivers to Remain Quiet in Denver
QB Philip Rivers (Doug Pensinger/Getty)
QB Philip Rivers (Doug Pensinger/Getty)

Posted Sep 10, 2008


It marks the second upset in a quick span for the Chargers -- chatty quarterback Philip Rivers is zipping his lip.

On the heels of the disappointing opening-game loss to the Panthers on Sunday, Philip Rivers has told everyone he will not be revisiting last year's holiday scene at Qualcomm Stadium. That one in which Rivers was seen jawing in the direction of Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler when the Chargers iced their victory.

"I'm not going to get into it through you guys, through the media, all week long," Rivers said. "I'm just not going to do it. I'm going to talk football about Denver and see what kind of team they are as I get to prepare for them and go play the game."


QB Philip Rivers
Chris McGrath/Getty

Rivers said he was shouting at his defense when it made the stop that clinched the victory. But it appears Rivers is yelling at Cutler on the You Tube video clip that is getting plenty of hits this week.

"Whatever happened to me is gone," Rivers said. "It's eight months ago and I'm going to move forward."

Rivers said he plans on speaking with Cutler, just like he has every other time in the pregame warm-ups. Rivers has long said Cutler has among the most upside among quarterbacks in the league.

The Chargers hope something else isn't barking come Sunday -- LaDainian Tomlinson's toe.

Tomlinson was seen limping slightly after the game and X-rays were taken just to make sure the two-time defending NFL rushing leader will be OK Sunday.

"I think it's still too early to tell but I don't think it's anything too serious," said Tomlinson, who rushed for 97 yards in Sunday's loss. "Obviously taking a look at it (Monday) morning, there was nothing that came up on the X-rays or anything like that. So that's a good thing.

"Now it's just dealing with the soreness. It's something I've had before so I don't think it will be a big problem."

The Chargers are hopeful the toe mimics Rivers and is quiet leading up to the team's first game against an AFC foe.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--OLB Shawne Merriman was every bit a physical presence and had his usual speed -- so said coach Norv Turner. But those watching him more objectively saw someone lugging around a bad wheel. Thus Merriman, who played with two torn ligaments against the Panthers Sunday, decided to undergo surgery to repair his left knee and will miss the rest of the season.

"Shawne informed me he did not feel right and thought it best to shut it down," Chargers GM A.J. Smith said in a statement. "The road to winning the AFC West just got more difficult, but not impossible. Nothing is impossible. Shawne is a great player and an inspirational leader. He will be missed. We wish him a successful surgery and a speedy recovery."

--QB Philip Rivers was sensational in the opener, spitting out a 125 rating and not turning the ball over. The performance did much to cast aside doubts he would be compromised after undergoing serious knee surgery in the offseason. Rivers was on his game.


RB LaDainian Tomlinson
Donald Miralle/Getty

--RB LaDainian Tomlinson shook off the rust of not having a carry over the summer in a game and warmed up as the game progressed and the run blocking became better. But it's worth watching if a sore toe restricts Tomlinson in Denver. He said it's no big deal, but it's still worth keeping an eye on.

--TE Antonio Gates is playing on a tender toe and now a sore hip. It's painfully obvious Gates is a shell of himself when trying to turn the ball up field and explode off his toe. Gates had a touchdown catch Sunday, but his toe is going to cause a good dose of pain whenever he tries to cut on it this season.

--WR Chris Chambers had just one catch, although it was good for 44 yards and a touchdown. But the Chargers had problems getting their wideouts involved. Among the reasons was Rivers facing a stout pass rush, which didn't allow him to hold the ball and the wideouts to test the coverages downfield. If the pass blocking continues to struggle, that doesn't bode well for Chambers and the other wideouts.

--DT Jamal Williams was missing in some key series and the Panthers were able to run the ball when the Pro Bowler was missing. But even when Williams, who has bad knees, was able to play, the middle of the Chargers' run defense was gutted repeatedly. Williams' health is a concern.

--ILB Matt Wilhelm was inconsistent in stopping the run and didn't set up deep enough when Jake Delhomme whistled a pass past him for the game winner. Wilhelm needs to pick up his game.

--ILB Derek Smith was OK in replacing Stephen Cooper (suspended) but no more than that. Like ILB Matt Wilhelm, there were consistency issues on assignments in stopping the run.

--CB Antoine Cason, in his NFL debut, showed well. He worked in the nickel and dime packages and had six tackles, a pass defensed and a forced fumble. It was a good start for the team's top pick.

--RB Darren Sproles showed his explosive burst, which makes him dangerous whenever he gets his hands on the ball. He had a kickoff return for 41 yards and a punt return for 12.

--LT Marcus McNeill is hopeful of getting the OK from doctors to return to practice this week. He hasn't played in any preseason or regular-season games with a spinal injury.



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