INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers today spoke to the local media via conference call. What did he have to say about the stats and attributes he uses to determine his success, why he compares running back Jonathan Taylor to former Charger Michael Turner, his evaluation of Jacob Eason so far and more?
You can catch the entire session above, but here are some top takeaways:
» Rivers has a few main attributes and statistics he looks at to determine quality quarterback play: There's one attribute over all others, however, and that's wins and losses, because as Rivers said, "Our job as an offense is just to score one more point than the other."
But, looking at the big picture as a quarterback, Rivers said limiting turnovers, a solid completion percentage and a high yards-per-attempt figure are his biggest goals from week to week.
"Specifically quarterback play, the first thing to me is not turning the ball over," Rivers said. "I think that's the first thing if you look at, shoot, if you turn it over three or four times, it's already not been a good day.
"And then completion percentage, yes, because I think when you're throwing completions, especially to the guys we have that are on the other end of it, then you're probably getting first downs and moving the ball and doing the things you need to do to get in the end zone," Rivers continued. "I think definitely yards per attempt is important — if you're completing a high percentage of your passes and your yards per attempt is up at 7 1/2, 8 yards, that could be saying 70 percent of the time you're gaining eight yards a clip and not turning it over, those things are certainly winning football from an individual standpoint as far as how you look apt yourself critically."
» Rivers compares rookie running back Jonathan Taylor to Michael Turner: The comparison game can get a little tricky sometimes, simply because you don't want to attach too big of expectations to a young guy, but Rivers has played in the NFL long enough to see flashes of former players in his current teammates with the Colts.
When it comes to Jonathan Taylor — the Colts' second-round pick in this year's draft out of Wisconsin — Rivers said he can't help but think of his former teammate with the San Diego Chargers, Michael Turner.
With the Chargers, Turner was mostly a change-of-pace guy behind future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson, but still averaged an impressive 5.5 yards per carry in his four seasons in San Diego; with the Chargers in all, he ran the ball 228 times for 1,257 yards and six touchdowns.
Turner really blossomed when he joined the Atlanta Falcons in 2008; he earned First-Team All-Pro honors that year and was selected to his first of two Pro Bowls, and finished his Falcons career with 1,411 rushing attempts for 6,081 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and 60 touchdowns.
The Taylor-Turner comparison makes sense when looking at the two backs' builds: Taylor is listed at 5-foot-10, 226 pounds, while Turner was listed around 5-foot-10 and 244 pounds, but the comparisons don't stop there.
"They're similar in size, and people forget how fast Michael Turner was, but he could really run," Rivers said. "Same with Jonathan."
Taylor, of course, logged a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at this year's NFL Scouting Combine, the best time of any running back at the event; coming out of Northern Illinois in 2004, Turner ran a 4.49-second 40.
» Rivers has been impressed with the work rookie Jacob Eason has put in — particularly his arm strength: While Rivers wouldn't consider himself an avid college football fan from year to year, he said he was well aware of Eason, from his beginning at Georgia to his time at Washington.
And once the Colts selected Eason in the fourth round of this year's NFL Draft, Rivers said he's just continued to see the kid put in work and grow.
"They're in a different boat without the OTAs and the time in person to get a lot of the reps," Rivers said, referring to the rookies not having any on-field work this offseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "Reps are limited for him, but he's the made the most of them. … He's a good addition to the room and certainly improving every day."
Rivers said Eason's arm strength, particularly, has been impressive to see up close.
"He can really throw it," Rivers said. "I mean he threw the other day in individuals that I just shook my head a little bit and said, 'I can't do that. I can't make that throw.' He's got a big arm. Strong; seems to see it really well."