Philip Rivers says he needs to eliminate bad plays

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Pro Bowl quarterback believes a commitment to limiting turnovers can return the Chargers to the playoffs in 2013.

With his production sliding and his turnovers mounting in recent seasons, Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers says a new offense and new commitment has he and his San Diego Chargers team ready to return to form in 2013.

In a story with Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, the veteran signal caller discussed his role in the Chargers' disappointing 7-9 2012 -- the first losing season he'd been a part of in his nine years in San Diego -- and the impact of his increasingly frequent turnover issues.

"There's no question I'm responsible for some of the plays and some of the games we haven't won. I'm not going to shy away from that. But we can go sit in there and watch a lot of tape from last year, and I'll ask you, 'What do you want to fix?' It's just about eliminating some of the bad plays."

Rivers' turnover numbers have risen steadily over the past three seasons. Following a brilliant 2009 campaign in which he tossed 28 touchdowns to only 15 cough-ups, Rivers' combined interceptions and fumbles have increased in every season since, culminating in last season's 28-turnover debacle.

Rivers admitted that those numbers affected his play in 2012.

There's no question that when you have games like that, you don't feel the same way. When you've made that throw three or four games in a row, it's a lot easier to pull the trigger the next time. But when maybe it's been an interception the last couple, it's a little harder to make it. It's human nature.

Meanwhile, the Chargers' fortunes as a team have decreased in an inverse correlation to their quarterback's soaring turnover rate. In the three seasons since their 13-3 mark in 2009, the team has finished 9-7, 8-8 and 7-9.

The team is hoping that a new coaching staff and new offensive system can help reverse that downward trend. They fired coach Norv Turner in January after six years at the helm, replacing him with Mike McCoy. McCoy has brought new offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, who in turn pulls in tow a brand new offense.

While the new system, and especially its new language, initially posed a challenge to Rivers, he said he now feels comfortable with it.

The Chargers can only hope that comfort means fewer footballs in the hands of defenders in 2013.

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