New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison addresses the media during his conference call on Thursday, October 9, 2008.
Q: The Chargers have struggled offensively, particularly on third down. In that regard, that makes them like everybody else - right?
RH: No, I disagree with you. I don't look at them as really struggling offensively. Last year at this time LaDainian Tomlinson roughly averaged about the same amount of yardage that he is averaging now. Then I think he went on to average about five yards a carry last year. Actually, on third down and long yardage situations they are really good. They struggle on third and short but they are a good team. They are going to be ready Sunday night to get back on track. They are a team that is very familiar with us and we are very familiar with them. They are a team that needs a victory right now.
Q: How has the San Diego Charger's passing game developed over time with quarterback Philip Rivers?
RH: He has so many weapons. [Chris] Chambers is obviously a weapon. [Antonio] Gates is the best tight end in the league and also [Vincent] Jackson. They have many guys that can go down the field and make plays as well as [Darren] Sproles who has become an integral part of their offense. I think [Philip] Rivers can make all the throws. You have to be able to put pressure on them, whether that is with your front four or by blitzing them. You have to be able to show them some different looks to try and force them to turn the ball over. Each and every week that is what we want them to do - to create turnovers like we got last week.
Q: What are some things that linebacker Mike Vrabel does that does not show up in the stat sheet?
RH: People don't understand that with our defense, you can't judge guys based on numbers all the time. I think numbers in our defense are very facetious. I think Mike Vrabel, with his presence, has the ability to do so many different other things whether it is rush the passer, drop into coverage or make calls. He is just all over the place. He can play outside linebacker or defensive end. He can do a multitude of things. I think that is a huge part of our game plan because you have to have so many guys play different positions. Such as Adalius Thomas who can line up as a defensive end, outside linebacker or even a middle linebacker. A lot of times, your play isn't really indicative of what your numbers might say. Guys are playing good football and we just have to continue it.
Q: Is it special for you to go back and play at Qualcomm Stadium?
RH: That was my home for nine years. The San Diego Chargers gave me an opportunity to live my dream and to be a part of a Super Bowl team and a team that struggled at times. We went 1-15 (2001 record). At the same time, it taught me so many valuable lessons. The city embraced me and the fans were always great to me. I was able to do a lot of great things in the community. Being that I am playing my first time back there, it is going to be a special moment because I started my career there. I get a chance to go back and play in front of a lot of family and friends. It should be a fun time.
Q: How long did it take for you to get past the San Diego Chargers releasing you after the loyalty and good play you gave them for so many years?
RH: Once I came into training camp in New England, I realized it was over and that I had to turn the page in my professional career and it was a new chapter. Initially as a young person with not understanding the business side of it, you get really ticked off and become a little bitter. After sitting back looking at the situation, you understand that it is a business and there is nothing you can do about it. I took advantage of my opportunity here and some great things happened for me here.