Rivers took the idea a step further Wednesday by suggesting he’d be OK with not playing in the preseason.
“I think I’d be all right,” he said following the second practice of minicamp. “There is something about feeling that ‘game feeling’ again. But I don’t think it’s necessary at this point. If that were to be the plan, I’d be fine.”
To be clear, Lynn hasn’t said he’ll keep Rivers on the sidelines until the Chargers open the regular season on Sept. 8 against Indianapolis.
But the two have begun discussions about how much Rivers will play during an exhibition season that begins Aug. 8 in Arizona.
The plan will be designed to best ready the quarterback for the regular season while also preserving him in hopes to be more fresh later in the season.
“I mean, how many more plays does he need?” offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said. “I think it’s important to establish chemistry, but you have to be smart with how you do it.”
Entering his 16th season, Rivers, 37, hasn’t missed a regular-season start since he took over in 2006. A year ago, he appeared in two preseason games and completed 11 of 14 passes.
Whisenhunt credited that limited involvement to the fast start Rivers had in the 2018 regular season. The Chargers also cut back on the number of throws Rivers made during training camp and each week in practice.
Famous for his competitiveness, Rivers on Wednesday sounded like someone who has accepted that doing less early could yield better results in December and perhaps beyond.
“You almost need them to protect you from yourself,” he said. “I think it can be positive. I think you have to find that just-right recipe that is enough to be ready and prepared … but also be fresh and smart.”
Along with their four preseason games, the Chargers have joint practices scheduled this summer with the Rams and New Orleans Saints.
It is during those workouts that Rivers and many of the Chargers starters figure to get much of their preparation for the regular season.
“Those are about as live as it gets, but you get to wear a red jersey,” Rivers said of the hands-off tops. “To me, you’re getting some real game action when you’re going against two different teams and you’re getting all those reps.”
The Chargers likely will enter training camp with a plan regarding snap counts and participation for their veterans, then make tweaks if necessary.
Several NFL teams in recent years have begun to significantly limit their starters’ participation in preseason games.
“I think it is smart to not rip it and throw it every single day all training camp long,” Rivers said. “Ultimately, you want to have your guys healthy, your whole team healthy, come that first game against the Colts.”
The Chargers will conclude their three-day mandatory minicamp Thursday at their Costa Mesa facility. Most of the practice reps will go to their younger players. … Lynn was asked if he feels increased urgency to win a Super Bowl before Rivers retires. “I felt a sense of urgency two years ago when I first got here,” he said. “My urgency hasn’t changed. We went to get it done in a bad way.” … Edge rusher Melvin Ingram on how he feels at this point of the offseason: “Same way I look — amazing.” … Second-round pick Nasir Adderley, a safety out of Delaware, signed a contract.