There seems to be a consensus among NFL players and coaches when it comes to playing on Thursday night: Nobody likes it, but it’s a necessary evil.
After flirting with Thursday games in select weeks for years, the league has gone to a game every week this season.
The Chargers take their turn with a short week as they head to Denver to face the Broncos this week. Needless to say, nobody is pumped about having to play a division rival on short rest.
“It’s no secret that players aren’t super excited about Thursday night games,” said linebacker Jarret Johnson. “But the good news is it’s all equal. We’re all dealing with it. They’re sore too. So it’s just one of the many adversities of playing in the NFL.”
Of course, Johnson’s a seasoned veteran with a lot of games under his belt. Some of the younger players don’t seem too concerned about the physical aspect of the quick turnaround. Rookie running back Branden Oliver brushed off any questions of the effects of the short week.
“My body feels good. I’m ready to go,” he said.
Quarterback Philip Rivers is more concerned with getting over the injuries the team has been dealing with.
"It’d be nice to have about 2 1/2 weeks, with all we got going on," he said.
Coach Mike McCoy said the team’s system is in place, especially against a division rival they’ve seen plenty of times.
“Everyone in the league is doing it,” he said of the short week. “We have a good plan. I thought we had a great plan last year.”
The Chargers are wise to learn from the game plan from last year’s Thursday game – also on the road against the Broncos. They won that game, 27-20, the second of four straight victories to finish the regular season.
“It gives us some confidence,” Johnson said. “That was probably our best ball game last year. Now, that’s not going to help us on Thursday night. Just because you did it last year doesn’t mean you’ll do it again.”