Rivers on the 'Competitive' Bengals Defense

Chargers QB Philips Rivers talks with the media about OC Ken Whisenhunt's impact, the tough, competitive Bengals defense

On Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt:

"I'll let [Head] Coach [Anthony] Lynn and Whiz do any talking on that. I think Whiz addressed it briefly and Coach Lynn did as well. He's been great. Our time together has been great. Hopefully, it's going to be continued for many more years, but again, I don't know any other details other than that."

On Whisenhunt as an offensive coordinator:

"Gosh, Whiz has had a ton of success in this league. Really, offensively when you look at where he's been, he's able to kind of tailor things for the personnel and what they do best. He's very flexible. He asks a lot of the players, but yet allows the players to be themselves and add their touch to things as long as it fits within [the scheme]. He's a heck of a football coach."

On if shutdown cornerbacks still exist in the NFL:

"Yeah, I think so. It's harder and harder because, obviously, they have to get their hands off sooner and they can't be quite as physical as they used to be able to be. Yeah, there are still a lot of good corners and we've seen quite a few of them. Yeah, I think so."

On what cornerbacks are most difficult to game-plan for:

"I don't know. Quarterbacks will tell you different things. For me, first of all, ones that can catch. Then, it's guys that are unpredictable. A guy that you know what he's going to do, how he's going to play everything and plays it by the book — they're not as scary. That doesn't mean they can't completely shut down someone or make it hard, but they're not as scary. It's the ones that are unpredictable and can catch and you know they're smart players — the ones that can read routes and you know they feel what's coming at them. They're not just kind of locked in on their man. I think, over the years you've seen a lot of different styles and different kinds of cornerbacks. To one quarterback, he may say, 'I don't know if that guy is that good,' and then the other guy might say, 'Golly, that guy scares me to death.' I think it kind of depends on the throws you like, different guys' body language, any history you've had with the guy — a lot of things count and factor in."

On the Cincinnati defense:

"Those guys [Bengals DT Geno Atkins and DE Carlos Dunlap] have been there for some time. They're good players, Pro Bowl players. They've had some injuries. There have been some guys shuffling in and out and in some other places. They have a handful of first rounders in the secondary. This is a team that started off, shoot, at the top of that division and hit a bump in the road. Obviously, they've dealt with some injuries on the other side of the ball as well. This is the team that we have a lot of respect for. As you hear me say every week, it's the NFL. This is a defense that we have respect for and we know that AFC North is a tough division. They're physical, they fly around and are competitive. We'll have to rise to the challenge on Sunday."

On facing teams that may soon be eliminated from contention:

"Well, it's pro football and professional football players. Not speaking necessarily of Cincinnati because I don't think that they're necessarily out of it, but just in general terms, pros will be pros. The guys that aren't pros, they won't be in that situation. We were in that situation there for two years in a row. At some point in the year, when we got to that point where we were mathematically eliminated, it's tough. I think we saw the character of our locker room and how we continue to fight and play the whole way through. Again, I'm not putting Cincinnati in that [category], but you asked me in general terms and, so, I think you're always prepared to play an NFL football game regardless of what the other team has riding on it."

On the dynamic between WRs Mike Williams and Keenan Allen:

"Yeah, I think [that helps Mike play off of Keenan] and, I hope it's evident, the trust that I have in [Mike] as well. Those were, like you mentioned, crucial situations where he made some big plays. Those were really chuck plays, 15-plus [yard] plays to us are chunk plays. I think all of his catches were that. Mike, he's going to have his day where it's eight or nine catches at some point. Obviously, he's gotten into the end zone I think seven times now. What he is bringing to the offense week-in and week-out, he's having a lot of impact."

On rating the win against Pittsburgh:

"It was definitely up there as far as regular-season wins [in my career]. That's about as exciting as it gets until about 9 a.m. on Monday morning and you start looking at Cincinnati. That's the way this league goes — it's week-to-week. As exciting as it can be to win like that, we've lost some like that and you have to move on in a hurry to get ready for the next one because this one this week becomes the only one that matters."

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