QB Philip Rivers: "There are things we have to do better."

QB Philip Rivers Press Conference Previewing 49ers vs Chargers

On the NFL’s weight rule regarding protecting quarterbacks:

“Yeah, I think the intent of the rule was good, so I think as a quarterback we can appreciate it. Obviously, as a passer you appreciate all the protection they've given us. At the same time, I can certainly feel for those defenders because they're trying. Some of them have been — I don't know what else they can do, some of them they've been calling has been tough. So I understand their frustration. We'll see how it kind of irons itself out, but I do think they're in a tough spot. They have a small target zone and then it's kind of hard for them not to land on it in some instance. So it's really putting it into a judgment of could you have avoided it? Did they really finish the tackle? It's making it hard. I think it's hard for it to be consistent. What one official may see as, ‘Yeah, he did more than he had to do,’ and what others may see, ‘That's about as form tackle,’ — it's just going to be hard to be clearly defined week to week.”

On if the rule seems sloppy:

“I mean, I don't know. I don't know in that instance because once I have my finger on the ground, I'm pretty much going to land how I land, but there is a little bit of gamesmanship in it. I'm sure it lends to the fact of — shoot, we need a first down. You're trying to extend drives, but at the same time you want to compete as true and fair as you can. I don't know that there's a way to solve the problem in a sense other than I think it's, again, it's going to be a judgment. It's the same deal. They're usually a little less bang-bang though. Some of the ones in the secondary, they're so bang-bang, that I don't know if they even see helmet to helmet, it just looked bad. So sometimes you see flags there. Whereas in the pocket, usually you can see. These guys are running full speed and they're big, strong men. So it sometimes looks worse than maybe it was. Hopefully it kind of works its way and gets itself ironed out. We haven't had any that have come up, but again, I certainly side with the QBs, but at the same time, I understand. We want our guys to not cost us a 15-yard penalty when they're trying to do it the right way and end up getting caught.”

On WR Mike Williams:

“Yeah, I think it's just he's really continued what we've said all training camp and all season — just keep stacking days and keep being consistent. He's put together the whole offseason, whole training camp and not missed a practice. You saw him each and every day making a play and him coming on. I think he's just still in this ascend to be the player he wants to be productivity-wise and just game-to-game. Obviously, he had the two huge plays in the game the other day and another big ball over the middle that he caught as well. So he's going to continue to be a part of it. I think he's done more than shown why he was picked where he was picked. Now it's just continuing to improve and sustain at this level of production as the season goes.”

On trying to involve Mike Williams more in the offense:

“I think that's where we're unique offensively. We have so many dynamic guys that can touch the ball on any given play. So Whiz and the offensive staff, all of us, anybody can get it on any play. Yes, do we draw plays where we try to throw the ball to [WR] Keenan [Allen] here? Yeah — this one we're trying to get to Mike, this one trying to get to [WR] Travis [Benjamin] and this one [RB Austin] Ekeler, this one to [RB] Melvin [Gordon III], this one to [TE Antonio] Gates. We have a lot of guysI think it's a slippery slope if you're trying to put guys everywhere to push the ball their way. I think you mix it within our scheme. Some weeks it may be Mike Williams two-touchdown day and other weeks it may be somebody else. I think our guys appreciate that. It's an unselfish group, but I think they understand that's how it works best and that's how, in the long run, it helps each of them not to just be in a certain spot,  push the ball in certain things and just kind of let it play out the way it plays out within the progression play.”  

On how Mike Williams’ performance and the absence of TE Hunter Henry change the offense:

“I don't know that it's changed it. I don't know. I think, again, I think [TE] Virgil [Green] has been a nice addition, done a heck of a job — and getting [TE] Antonio [Gates] back to health. You've seen him contribute to a couple third down conversions last week. Then Mike's coming on again — I don't know who it's going to be each and every week. [WR] Travis [Benjamin] and [WR] Tyrell [Williams] are going to continue to be part of it. Travis has been out the last few weeks, but Tyrell, he had some plays in Buffalo. Those were big plays. It may read four [catches] for 45 [yards], I don't know what his stat line was, but those are big plays in the game, and they affected the defense because they know where these guys are. They know these guys can fly. This guy's big, and he's got a huge range. [WR] Keenan [Allen] can go anywhere all over the field. [RB Austin] Ekeler and [RB] Melvin [Gordon III] are going to catch a combined 100 balls this year, I would imagine. It's exciting as a quarterback and as an offense just to know we can do so many different things. We're not limited personnel-wise to really change it up to mix it up week to week.”

On the beginning of the season for the offense:

“Yeah, one thing to is we're running the heck out of the ball right now. We're averaging over five yards-per-carry, which is huge. So the best offenses that we've had in my time here have been very balanced. [That’s] not to say that we didn’t have big days throwing the ball and some days running it, but just very balanced. That's what it feels like right now. We're really complimenting the run and the pass and getting a lot of first downs. There are things we have to do better. We weren't great in the red zone the other day, and we weren't great early in the game. There were a couple three-and-outs early. Which I think we had the fewest three-and-outs in the league last year or something like that, so we've just got to avoid those. Then the more first downs you get, the more opportunities you get to run it, throw it, and get it to one of those guys, like you mentioned, our playmakers.” 

On WR Keenan Allen:

“I think it's getting a small sample size. It wouldn't shock me if he hits a stretch here where it's eight, nine, ten balls for a couple weeks in a row. At some point that's going to happen. I think we had a couple things up in Buffalo that we saw as it started to get to him and get a little flow. We got one ball batted [down]. That was going to be another catch. We had one, they ran a twist game and got a sack, that was going to be another 35-yard gain. So it just hasn't come up. Some things haven't come up the way we thought, but I don't know that it's anything the defenses are doing to take him away. I think, just again, it's a long haul. This is just a little blur in the season as far as the big picture. I think if he stays healthy and keeps on track, he's going to catch his hundred balls, I would imagine.”

On 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo:

“I don't know him, but it's tough. You hate to see that. Especially the non-contact deal. I didn't see the replay until a few days ago. A lot has been made of he shouldn't have cut back in there, but it happened before there was any contact. So you hate to see that. You feel for him. The year he had last year, finally getting his opportunity to really, you know, be the quarterback of a franchise. Then this year, you know, all the expectations they had. So it's tough anytime you see any guys go down. It seems like there's been quite a few season-ending — seems like there's more. It seems like each week, not just at quarterback, but there are Achilles and ACLs and lots of things going on early in the season, but certainly hate to see that happen to him.”