COSTA MESA, Calif. — As Philip Rivers prepares for his 16th NFL season, his preseason work is looking somewhat different — regardless of his preference.
14 moves in the preseason , only threw this past year and is expected to be limited in 2019. There is even talk of the preseason hanging out . “When you have some players who are old, established players — like some of ours are — I’m not opposed to it,” Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said Wednesday when asked if they would consider sitting their veterans out of the preseason.”
Said Rivers when asked about limiting his repetitions,”As a competitor, as somebody who enjoys training, it is always challenging. You want them to protect you from yourself. It can be favorable. You have to find that right recipe so you are ready and prepared to go have a great season, but also to be fresh and be clever.”
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The strategy clearly worked last year. Rivers played at an MVP level — 32 touchdowns and 4,308 passing yards — and the Chargers (12-4) had their very best record since 2009.
The best part for Rivers was how he felt, although numbers are great. Following the season — which finished in the AFC Divisional Round — Rivers said he”felt great” and limiting his repetitions before and during the season was a catalyst for that. Coincidence or not, Rivers’ 508 pass efforts in 2018 were his fewest since 2009 the Chargers won more than 12 games.
It’s difficult for the exercise warrior to tone it down. We are talking about a man who commutes over 70 miles from San Diego.
“When you talk about repetitions, he has always been one of the hardest working men on earth,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn explained. “When he is out there, he works hard. That is what makes him one of the best — his preparation. He’s planning to prepare the same, but we need to take a number of their toll off of him.
“There is going to be some resistance (to limiting reps), but that is exactly the same with all great players.”
The trio of Lynn, Rivers and Whisenhunt is entering Year 3, so that there aren’t many question marks concerning X’s and O’s.
Nevertheless, the ever-stubborn Rivers always needs to do things his way — even if he is familiar with the machine.
“I think he wants to do everything,” Whisenhunt said. “But last year we did a good bit of (limiting him) through training camp and we’ll probably do the same this season. He started off the season hot last year and lots of this was part of the plan.”
If Rivers can endure the long summer when preserving his body, the Chargers must make a deep postseason run.
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