Despite NFL-leading 6 turnovers, Chargers say they value the football

Vincent Rey of the Bengals intercepts a Philip Rivers pass, one of an NFL-leading six turnovers so far this season for the Chargers. Frank Victores/AP

SAN DIEGO -- For most NFL coaches, turnovers are considered one of the top predictors of an outcome of a game.

Take care of the football, and your chances of winning improve. Run out an offense that hemorrhages turnovers on game days, and you're likely going to get an "L" in the right column of the standings.

San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich said before the season started that a point of emphasis for his group was taking care of the football.

"That's always the No. 1 goal -- protect the football," Reich said before the start of the regular season. "That is the most important thing. The way our defense is playing right now, don't give their offense a short field and make it hard on them. It's going to be hard to go the distance against our defense.

"At the same time, we can't score if we're turning the ball over, so a lot of emphasis on ball security in every manner that we can."

Well, through two games the Chargers lead the NFL with six turnovers. Defensively, the Chargers have done a nice job of limiting the damage, giving up just 14 points in sudden change situations.

However, the same can't be said for San Diego's offense, which has converted four forced turnovers by the defense into just seven points.

Asked how his team can do a better job of taking care of the football, a defiant head coach Mike McCoy responded: "Not turn the ball over."

If it was as simple as McCoy states, perhaps the Chargers wouldn't lead the league in turnovers. But of course, several variables play a role in that statistic, including weather conditions, health and whether a team is ahead or behind during a game.

One of the reasons the Chargers lead the league in turnovers is they've only been ahead this season for a total of 11 minutes and 49 seconds through two games. Because San Diego has had to play from behind for the most part this season, Philip Rivers has taken more risks on offense, leading to more turnovers.

Center Chris Watt talked about the need for San Diego's offense to do a better job of protecting the football moving forward.

"It's a small percentage that you're going to win when the turnover margin is in their favor," Watt said. "So we're going to have to do a lot better job. And that comes to a couple things. That sack-fumble (by Rivers), that's on us. We have to do a better job of protecting him. Turnovers are drive killers, which is a huge thing, too."

Even though the Chargers have been careless with the football, McCoy said taking care of the football remains important.

"This is the NFL; they value the football," McCoy said. "It's all about the ball. They understand that. It's not like we're going out there on Sunday afternoon and trying to turn the football over.

"That's 32 teams, and I think every football team in America values the football. So I don't think anyone is trying to go over and turn the football over. So yeah, we do value it."