Bolts set to roll with Rivers


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Jan 22, 2006
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Bolts set to roll with Rivers

By: JAY PARIS - Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO --- All Chargers hands on deck, please.

"Training camp is where you begin the actual journey, as it were,'' coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "It's kind of like getting on a big ship and pointing it in some direction and off you go and you go together. You know there will be some rough seas from time to time, but we are excited about the chance to get started.''

The first full squad practices are today at Chargers Park, as the team's rookie orientation part of camp is history. Players with names even casual Chargers fans recognize have arrived, and it's time for the Bolts' rubber to hit the road.

Or is it the rudder to penetrate the water, in deference to Schottenheimer's analogy?

Whatever, most eyes today ---- and most camp days ---- will zero in on the new driver, skipper, director of the Chargers' offense: quarterback Philip Rivers.

"We've been practicing all summer, been doing some of the same stuff,Ý but you attach the word training camp to it and it means a little bit more,'' Rivers said. "Things will be moving a little faster on Saturday.''

The Chargers would love to engage the fast-forward button, getting Rivers cued up quickly. Rivers replaces Pro Bowler Drew Brees, who left for New Orleans after nearly earning saint status among Chargers backers by winning 20 games and an AFC West title the past two years.

But the Chargers aren't cursing their fate, confident they have another winner waiting in the wings in the 24-year-old Rivers.

"He's tough, man,'' wide receiver Eric Parker said. "Some quarterbacks are leaders verbally and some are by example. And he is a mixture of everything.''

Rivers has been everything the Chargers hoped for the first two years. He patiently waited his turn, bit his lip about not playing, and prepared each week as if he was the starter.

Starting today, he is.

"I think every day I want to be more and more consistent,'' Rivers said.

Parker said Rivers showed a steady resolve in two years of sitting. That wasn't lost on Rivers' teammates.

"He still worked, no matter what,'' Parker said. "It wasn't his decision (on not playing). He just controlled what he could do and everything has fallen into place for him.

"A lot of people would have complained but he's just tough. That is why he is going to be successful on the field.''

While on the gridiron long enough to throw but 30 passes, Rivers is no NFL novice.

"He is far from being a rookie player,'' Schottenheimer said of the third-year pro. "The thing that stands out about him is he got excellent instincts about football. There are some people who have an intuitive ability when it comes to making decisions in football.''

Parker's mind is made up. And he swears he's not alone in his thoughts in the Chargers' locker room. Parker said Rivers deserves his shot and he has the team behind him.

"He is just a good person, and that's very important,'' Parker said. "If you are a standoff guy, you are not going to have the same respect and love shown toward you. He is just a very good person, in addition to being a great football player.''

With Rivers, the Chargers seek solid over spectacular. If Rivers uses his head as much as his accurate right arm, they're upbeat about his chances.

"He'll have a lot of guys around him that will do that little bit extra,'' Parker said. "The coaches will tell him just don't do anything but your best and do your role. He won't overextend himself and make silly plays. He will play within himself; he is smart.''

CHARGERS NOTES ---- The practices at 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. today at Chargers Park are open to the public. ... S Bhawoh Jue (shoulder, knee) said he expects to participate after being limited in the offseason workouts. ... LT Roman Oben (foot) will continue to work on the side in his rehabilitation from two surgeries.
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