Rivers endorses Whisenhunt as a coach

SAN DIEGO – Philip Rivers has heard the speculation that offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt could be in the running for a handful of NFL head-coaching jobs when the regular season comes to a close. According to a report by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the Houston Texans are expected to interview Whisenhunt at the soonest possible chance.

Whisenhunt maintains that his focus is on helping the San Diego Chargers reach the postseason, and that he will not be pursuing any job interviews until after the season is over.

“You would love to keep the same staff for a long time,” Rivers, the Chargers quarterback, said. “But it doesn’t come as a surprise to me. Obviously, it’s a little premature to talk about, but I would have been shocked had he not gotten a couple opportunities.”

Rivers understands Whisenhunt’s pedigree. As coach of the Arizona Cardinals he led that fledging franchise to a Super Bowl and two playoff appearances in six seasons, finishing with a 45-51 record. Whisenhunt also served as offensive coordinator for Pittsburgh during the Steelers’ Super Bowl season in 2005.

Rivers says that Whisenhunt has been important part of his success this season.

“This is Ken Whisenhunt’s offense,” Rivers said. “He’s called every snap, every play. He’s run every meeting. Obviously, his background shows a heck of a lot of success offensively, both in Pittsburgh and Arizona. He’s been great.

“I think the one thing I appreciate – and I could have a long list – is his steadiness. He’s intense. He loves ball, but his steadiness and consistency in his approach every day. When we lost and had a tough stretch, he didn’t get all in a panic. He just said, ‘Stay with it.’ And I think that rubs off on the guys. And it’s been fun working with him.”

Rivers said he never felt like Whisenhunt was a rent-a-coach, using his one season in San Diego as a steppingstone to a better gig.

“I didn’t think that he was coming here to say, ‘I’m just stopping here, and then I’m going to run off somewhere else,’” Rivers said. “That is not indicative of the commitment he’s given. He’s all in here. But I’m just saying, his reputation. He’s a heck of a coach. He’ll be a head coach again; it’s just a matter of how fast.”