The Wolfpacker

November 2013

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 133 of 139

■ pack pros W Five Best Starts To The 2013 Season hich former Wolfpack standouts are off the best starts this year? 1. Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers — Rivers has been an absolute revelation for the Chargers, ranking among the league leaders in completion percentage (first, 73.9), passing yards (second, 2,132), quarterback rating (second, 111.1) and touchdown passes (tied for second, 15). Most importantly, he has cut down on the 47 turnovers he gave up over the past two years. In addition to his three-to-one touchdownto-interception ratio, the veteran passer has not even fumbled this year — in the past two years, he fumbled 24 times, losing the ball 12 times. Rivers has thrown for at least 184 yards and one touchdown in every game this year, and he has three performances with more than 400 yards through the air. His completion percentage and quarterback rating after seven games would stand as new career bests, and his projected total for passing yards (4,873) would also set a new career high. Rivers is on pace to throw for 34 touchdowns, which would equal his career best set in 2008. The veteran has also surpassed a few milestones this year, becoming just the 37th NFL quarterback to throw for 30,000 yards in his career. He also surpassed 200 touchdown throws this year and was just the 34th in league history to do so. "We're very fortunate to have Philip Rivers as our quarterback," first-year head coach Mike McCoy said. "We said from day one here what type of player he is. He's bought into the offensive system. He's had some great players around him. "When you get good players around you, good things will happen, but it all starts with the quarterback and he's one of the best in the business." 2. Mario Williams, DE, Buffalo Bills — This is the Mario Williams that the Buffalo Bills envisioned they made the former No. 1 overall pick the highest paid defender in NFL history. The defensive end had a respectable 10.5 sacks last year thanks to a strong finish, but he has been the elite pass rusher and game changer the franchise paid for this season. Williams may have single-handedly won the week two tilt against the Carolina Panthers when he totaled six tackles, including a franchise-record and personal-best 4.5 sacks in the game. He has notched a pair of twosack efforts since then, and again played a huge role in the final outcome in the 23‑21 win over the Miami Dolphins Oct. 20. Williams sacked and forced Miami quarter- San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is on pace to throw for 4,873 yards and 34 touchdowns, both of which would be career highs for the 10-year veteran. photo courtesy san diego chargers What They're Saying What people around the NFL are saying about former Wolfpackers. • "I think Manny has done extremely well playing the edges, forcing it and really making a lot of plays in the run whereas I think in the past people wondered if he's strong enough and can hold the point [of attack], so that's worked extremely well for us." — Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone on the impact on free agent addition Manny Lawson • "I don't know what we would do without him. We would be a much different team. I don't know how you can measure it at this point. He has become such a special asset of our team. He's instrumental to everything we do." — Seattle Seahawks' head coach Pete Carroll on quarterback Russell Wilson • "Earl has been good. Everybody makes mistakes. He's a rookie, and he is going to learn. But he is doing good. He is flying around, making calls like he is the quarterback back there. That is very good." — Veteran Philadelphia Eagles' safety Patrick Chung, whose injuries have opened the door for rookie Earl Wolff to get on the field 132  ■  the wolfpacker 132,134.Pack Pros.indd 132 10/22/13 11:53 AM

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