INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers today spoke to local reporters via video conference call. What were the top takeaways about Rivers' move to Indy, the process of throwing on the side with his new teammates, getting re-acclimated to Frank Reich's offensive system and more?
Here are some highlights from the session, which you can watch in its entirety above:
» Rivers, his wife and their nine children have made the big move to Indianapolis in recent days: The whole Rivers family — all 11 of them — have officially been in the Indianapolis area now for about a week after making the move from Florida.
"It's been great," Rivers said. "Haven't really moved in a long time. The last time we made a big cross-country move, it was just my wife and I and my oldest; she was 2 years old. So quite a different move with 11 of us."
Rivers said the "transition has been smooth" to Indianapolis after living different areas — on the West Coast with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, and then also maintaining a family home in Western Florida.
"I'm getting a feel for the weather," he said. "The summers, I'm getting a feel for these summer nights. They've been beautiful. And (I'm) getting used to it getting dark after 9 o'clock. It's been a little crazy. We've been out playing and look up and it's 9:05 and still light outside.
"But it's been a good transition so far — we're still getting settled in — but our whole family's happy to be here."
» Rivers actually being in Indy means he can actually meet — and throw to — some of his new teammates for the first time: The COVID-19 pandemic has mostly led to Colts players sticking to their respective hometowns across the country to conduct virtual meetings and workouts over the last several weeks. While some players here and there have been able to figure out ways to work out together if they live close enough to one another, the expectation is a bulk of the players will start heading back to Indy in the coming weeks to prepare for the start of training camp, which is tentatively set for the end of July.
Since Rivers had to make his move to Indianapolis anyway, he's taken advantage of being in his new hometown by calling up some new teammates who were already in the area; twice already he's been able to throw with those guys — he mentioned wide receiver Parris Campbell and tight end Jack Doyle specifically — and more work is expected to ramp up off to the side next week.
"It certainly is important to all of us, important to all our guys, that we get together and get some work done," Rivers said. "Because we've gotten great work done at the (virtual) meetings, but certainly, I haven't met many of these guys in person, much less throwing them a pass or had a person-to-person conversation.
Rivers said thanks in large part to the virtual meetings, he's noticed a smooth transition in recent days when he has tossed the football around.
"We start throwing and it really doesn't feel like the first time once we get out there, because we really have been, in some ways, speaking the same language, depending on how long the player has been here, for many years, and then we've been hearing it together now the last seven, eight, nine, 10 weeks. And then now we get on the field, and it seems like we're ahead of the curve a little bit from that standpoint."
» Rivers isn't sweating a lack of work with his receivers come Week 1: While off-site throwing sessions will "continue intermittently throughout the rest of the summer," Rivers said, really the first opportunity he'll get to run through the entire offense with all of his teammates on hand will be training camp. And by the time training camp rolls around, the Colts could be about seven weeks — or less — from the start of the 2020 season, which is on the road Sept. 13 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
There is great value in running through various routes and concepts with his pass catchers as soon as possible, before camp begins; little nuances at the top of the route or just those little timing quirks that every quarterback and receiver have can start to be ironed out, for example.
But Rivers also isn't nervous about the prospect of starting off the season at a slower pace due to a lack of ideal work with his new teammates.
"I mean, not to kind of make it like, 'No big deal,' but I just don't think it's gonna be (an issue). I really don't," Rivers said. "I've thrown twice with a few guys and I go, 'Man, it didn't feel like it's just two times. It really doesn't.' And I think a lot of that, again, is being in the same offense and it's, you know, Nick (Sirianni), Frank (Reich), and along with the other coaches, the route disciplines, the route technique, it's all been coached the way I'm used to, you know? It's like, they're running the route the way I ran it and believe it and know it. So I think that's going to make for an easier transition from that standpoint.
Rivers said he's "more excited than concerned," and the now 17-year NFL veteran even admitted to feeling some jitters before throwing with some of his new teammates for the first time in recent days.
"I want to make sure they know I can still throw it," Rivers said. "Shoot, I don't want to come in here and make them go,' Why did we get this guy?' So it's actually been more exciting to get with them than anything."
» That Reich-Sirianni connection is already paying dividends for Rivers: Both Reich and Sirianni spent considerable time in the past with Rivers as members of the Chargers' offensive coaching staff; they were together three seasons from 2013-15, the last two seasons of which Reich was offensive coordinator and Sirianni was quarterbacks coach.
Because of that, despite the virtual nature of the offseason workout program this year, his first with the Colts, Rivers has felt right at home as the team has installed its offense.
"It's really exceeded expectations in terms of what we've been able to get done," Rivers said. "I really could not have imagined getting as much done as we're getting done. I think that's a credit to the coaching staff."
"It's been unbelievable — seamless — from different coaches presenting, to different coaches sharing their screen and sharing video and going to this and that and doing virtual walkthroughs and Ryan's (Kelly's) making calls, we're sending guys in motion. I mean, it's been awesome. So had this not been my first year here, I would have said, 'Shoot, I don't know what more we could have gained by being in the building from a meeting standpoint."
Rivers acknowledged some changes in the terminology since he last played in Reich and Sirianni's system, but has embraced the challenge of learning something new.
"That has actually been fun to do, kind of a challenge to have to flip through the notebook and look up things that you're used to knowing like the back of your hand," Rivers said. "I've had to work it down a little bit."
Overall, Reich said "Colts fans should expect a real versatile, dynamic" offensive attack in 2020.
"I mean the one thing that I can say that has been confirmed is the guys up front and the way we run the football is pretty awesome. So obviously we're all excited about that — I'm fired up about that. And so that's where it starts, and usually good things come from that," Rivers said. "But it's going to be very multiple and very dynamic."