After accounting for 25 of the 28 giveaways the 2011 San Diego Chargers had during their disappointing 8-8 season, including a career-high 20 interceptions, quarterback Philip Rivers is looking to improve his ball security.
"That was obviously the thing that stood out last year," Rivers said of the turnovers, via Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego reports. "It's one thing if we couldn't get a first down or convert third downs or couldn't run the ball or couldn't have any big plays. We had all of those."
Gehlken notes that the Chargers averaged just one turnover per game in their eight wins and have a minus-13 turnover differential during their current two-year playoff drought. The Chargers were just one win away from winning the AFC West in 2011 and can point to their six-game losing streak (including two divisional losses in overtime) in the middle of the season as the reason why they weren't in the postseason.
Half of Rivers' 20 interceptions came during that six-game losing streak before, as NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal pointed out Wednesday night, looking like himself down the stretch. That could carry over into 2012 naturally, but Rivers is making ball security a point of emphasis this offseason.
"You can't assume the other things are going to happen," Rivers added. "We have to continue to work hard to stay high in the league at converting third downs and all those other categories. But certainly, a continued emphasis on protecting the football -- that's game to game. If we can do that, we have a much better chance at winning the game."