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Reich's Relationship with Rivers a Key Factor

Posted Aug 21, 2014

Entering his 23rd NFL season, OC Frank Reich is still learning just by being around Philip Rivers.

Utter the name Philip Rivers in front of Frank Reich, and the Chargers former quarterbacks coach turned offensive coordinator will go on a tangent about the prolific passer.

And with good reason.

“The first year brought developing a relationship with Philip,” he said.  “Philip’s the central cog to the offense; it all runs through him.  He’s the one that leads it out on the field.  So that first year serving as quarterbacks coach was a great opportunity to get to know him (and) gain an understanding of how he’s thinking, what he does best, what he wants to do, how he thinks under pressure, and then take advantage of that.

Reich and Rivers spent 2013 constantly by each other’s side, so the Bolts’ OC knows first-hand what the quarterback brings to the table.   He also knows that he wouldn’t be ready for this position without number 17 and what he’s meant to him since coming to San Diego.

“I’ve learned a lot working with Philip over the last year,” he said.  “I’ve got to tell you, that’s one of the great things as a coach.  You’re a coach, but when you’re around players like Philip and some of our other players, you realize you’re still learning.  I look at what I learned just this last year being around him, I think it’s made me a better coach and prepared me for this role.”

Reich addressed other topics as well when he met with the media for the first time this season.  He was asked about running a “vanilla” offense in the preseason as not to divulge too much of the playbook.  Reich responded that there’s a lot to be gained by running a barebones game plan.

“We’ve generally been pretty vanilla,” he admitted.  “You slowly start building things.  You try to be as vanilla as you can but you’ve got to run your stuff.  Being vanilla sometimes is a reminder to coaches (to) don’t out think yourself (and) don’t out game plan.  Let the players play fast.  Even these last two weeks when we have had success, it hasn’t been anything too sophisticated.  It’s been the players making plays, doing the same thing over and over again, and executing the basics.”

While they aren’t showing anything exotic, Reich is learning a lot about his players by seeing them perform the pure basics.

“As far as evaluating players, the advantage of being vanilla is it’s just one-on-one football,” he explained.  “It’s ‘Hey, here’s your assignment, can you beat the man in front of you?’ As you go when you really start to game plan specifically, you’re looking to put your players and give them an edge.  Give them an advantage.  How can we create a mismatch?  By changing a formation, by shifting (or) by a different personnel group.  By countering something we’ve done in previous weeks. All those things contend to put our football players at an advantage.”

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