Every day the debate about ‘elite’ players in sports rages, and is a term thrown around often. In football it is particularly used when discussing quarterbacks, who not only have to be elite athletically in their play, but smart as well to be successful.
San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich think they have one of the smartest players in the NFL.
“I knew he was an elite passer, but I didn’t realize this was one of the smartest football guys in NFL, bar none,” Reich told Sports on Earth’s Dan Pompei this week. “If there is a top 10 list of smartest guys in the league, he’s on it, promise you. I would watch him in practice, hear the calls he would make, how fast he would process things. He’s dropping back, talking to the backs as he’s moving, telling them who to block, calling out code names for blitzes. He just sees it faster than anybody else.”
Part of the reason he picks it up faster than anyone is because he prepares for it. People talk about Peyton Manning’s legendary preparation, but little gets highlighted about Rivers’ work.
Rivers puts together film and plays it in a meeting with offensive linemen, tight ends and running backs to go over pass protection. Rivers than instructs his teammates about how to react in every potential blitz situation for that particular opponent.
“It’s my favorite part of the preparation,” Rivers said. “When we get a pressure figured out and pick it up, those are the plays that fire me up the most.”