INDIANAPOLIS – The last cross-country move for the Rivers family occurred when there were just 3 members.
It’s now an 11-person family, which makes for quite the quarantine environment under one roof.
The group of dad, mom, 7 girls and 2 boys are freshly settling into their northern Indianapolis suburb home.
Rivers has moved into his home (although he’s not sure if it’s technically in Westfield or Noblesville) and even though they’ve been here for just a week, the quarterback has already made sure to hit the field for some needed work with his new pass catchers.
Before Rivers helps lead a bigger voluntary minicamp session next week, he’s already found time to throw with Jack Doyle and Parris Campbell twice since moving to the 317.
Doing more of this will continue throughout the summer, Rivers says, with his family not heading out of town for any vacation between now and until camp begins on July 28.
“It’s important that we get together and get some work done,” Rivers said on a Wednesday Zoom call with the media. “I haven’t met many of these guys in person, much less thrown them a pass or had a person-to-person conversation.
“It’s not going out there and throwing a comeback, throwing a curl, throwing a shallow. Those things are good and we need that work, but it’s more a little conversation that comes up or maybe seeing a guy’s body movement. ‘Oh, I felt how he did that at the top of the route and I like how that feels. Or, here’s what I’m expecting.’ It’s all those little conversations that come up in the next few weeks and throughout training camp that will be very helpful.”
As Rivers embarks on the final chapter of his impressive NFL career—one that both parties hope will have him playing for the Colts through the 2021 season—the chatter has grown on if his game is still at an elite level.
There’s a reason why the Chargers did not re-sign the quarterback who has led them since 2006.
While Rivers says he doesn’t feast on such talk, he’s certainly aware of it, following a season in which he tossed 20 interceptions and had the third lowest quarterback rating of his 14-year playing career.
“At it’s core, it doesn’t bother me. I don’t care.” the potential Hall of Famer said. “But at the same time, shoot, we are all human. At times, I think what may have aggravated me a little bit last year was (people saying) that I just couldn’t play anymore. When I heard that, it bothered me, because I wanted to go, ‘Shoot, let’s turn on the tape and watch all the good things.’ There were some bad things last year and certainly throws I want back and certainly some very costly mistakes and I own up to all of those, but there was so much good and I had some throws last year that were probably as good that I’ve had in my whole career.”
With the Colts six weeks out from starting their 2020 training camp, Rivers has had the unique work this offseason of learning some new playbook verbiage for the first time in years.
He’s been busy texting and calling teammates, ahead of the necessary on-field work, away from coaches, coming in June and July.
For the first time in Rivers’ career he’s now about to throw with a totally different personnel group and having to get used to that without a normal offseason program, which would have included 13 team practice settings, with coaches in attendance.
Any worry of missing out on that, in how that might impact things for Rivers and the Colts in 2020?
“Not to make it like, ‘No big deal,’ but I just don’t think it’s going to be,” Rivers says. “I really don’t. I can say I’ve thrown twice with a few guys. It didn’t feel like it was just two times (though). I think a lot of it is being in the same offense and the route technique has all been coached to how I’m used to. They are running a route the way I’ve ran it and believe it, and know it. I think that’s going to make for an easier transition.
“It’s funny though, I’m more excited than concerned. I was a little nervous the night before we were going to throw the other day. I was like, ‘Shoot, I’m throwing to these guys for the first time. I hope I don’t throw a bunch of balls over their head or throw a bunch in the dirt. I don’t want them thinking, Why did we get this guy?’ It’s actually been more excited to get with them than anything.”
The Colts have made it clear—they think a proven rushing attack, a vastly better offensive line and an overall better football team will help Rivers excel in a new uniform.
“Colts fans,” Rivers said on Wednesday towards the end of his Zoom call, “should expect a real versatile and dynamic attack.”