When the NFL lockout eventually ends, it has been speculated that the product on the field might suffer as a result of extended time off for the game's players. San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers believes the opposite will be true.
"The level of play is going to be the best it's ever been," Rivers told The San Diego Union Tribune this week. "Guys are going to be fresh -- mentally fresh, which is maybe more important than being physically fresh.
"For some guys, it all runs together. Now, with it being how it's been, guys doing their different things, if it gets done like we hope, it's going to be kind of like that lost toy you found."
Rivers added a caveat, saying he believed play would be negatively affected if the work stoppage rolls through July and into August.
"Where the level of play could be hindered is if we don't have a regular training camp," he said. "If we get the regular four to six weeks, I think it's going to be as good as it's ever been."
Rivers is the unquestioned leader of the Chargers, proven by the recently wrapped 10 weeks of players-only workouts that he organized. The Union Tribune reported around 20 players regularly attended the low-key sessions.
"I think it was good for us," Rivers said. "It was an unhyped offseason, which we've never had. ... We're going to come back as hungry as ever. The lockout won't be good for some teams. I think we're one of a handful of teams that know how to handle it. We've got the right guys."
While some teams drew more than 40 players to workouts, Rivers had no problem with the Chargers' more intimate gatherings.
"We have a unique team, in that we have a lot of veteran guys who have used their own (personal trainers during the offseason) for years," Rivers said. "I say, 'Go for it.' "