2011 was no good for the Chargers. Most of the season was even worse for quarterback Philip Rivers, who made a slew of negligible turnovers early in the season, and even cost his team a critical division matchup against the Chiefs with a fumbled snap.
Rivers helped his Norv Turner get a(nother) mulligan after 2011's debacle, but said on CBS Sports Network's ROME Thursday that "it wasn't coaching" that caused the Chargers to struggle last year.
"We didn't get it done last year. It wasn't coaching," Rivers told CBS' Jim Rome. "We didn't get it done. We lose six games in a row. We throw 20 interceptions. We fumble a snap. I could go on and on about things we did that kept us out of the postseason. Norv and his staff are the right guy and staff for this job, now us players have to go get it done."
Rivers did acknowledge that he played some part in helping to bring Turner back to San Diego in 2012, thanks to speaking with Dean Spanos about the team having Norv's back, but couldn't confirm that he actually kept Turner from losing his job.
"I don't know what role I played in [bringing Norv back]," Rivers said. "And I wasn't trying to be persuasive, but I did speak for the locker room in talking to Mr. Spanos and saying, 'Look, just so you know how the locker room feels. We love Norv and we play hard for him. The guys would hate to see him go.' Just so he knows what kind of respect and feeling there is in that locker room."
No time has annually higher expectations than San Diego -- regardless of the talent level (and make no mistake, it was lower last year than in years past), people expect the Bolts to win, and win big. They get no free passes, because they have no Super Bowl titles with Rivers under center.
And there won't be any excuses if San Diego doesn't make the playoffs this season, regardless of the fact that they lost their best playmaker in Vincent Jackson. Rivers understands that, and implied to Rome that the chemistry is as good as it's been in San Diego in a while.
"We lost a great player. Vincent, what he's meant to this team in the locker room and on the field, he's a part of many of our highlights when you watch the games on Sunday afternoon, but you know it happens every year," Rivers said. "We lost Darren Sproles the year before. You're going to lose players every year, and you replace them with great players, which we did. We brought in Meachem, we brought in Eddie Royal, we've been more active in free agency this year since I've been here.
"And I think we have more guys on our team that love to play football, and you think that's just the case with everybody, and certainly we all like to play, but we've got more guys here than we've ever had that love to play the game and I think the more guys that you get that have that feeling the better chance you have."
If the love of football and the talent level that San Diego has translates to wins, the team will do well and make the playoffs. If not, it'll be hard to pin the blame on anything other than coaching, whether or not that's the case.
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