In Defense of San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers
Much noise has been made of late regarding the future of quarterback Philip Rivers with the San Diego Chargers and whether or not the team would be better off turning the page from him following this season. This topic has become somewhat divisive in nature so obviously it’s difficult to come down definitively one way or the other. That’s why there will be two pieces published here arguing either side of the case, giving the facts, and allowing the jury (fans) to decide the verdict. Without further ado, here is the case for Rivers.
During his time under center with the Bolts, Rivers has a dramatic downturn in the amount of talent around him. It seems cliché, but a quarterback can’t win games by himself and Rivers has gone from having LaDainian Tomlinson, Vincent Jackson, Darren Sproles, and even Mike Tolbert around him to Malcom Floyd, Ryan Mathews, Ronnie Brown, and Robert Meachem. While these guys have had their moments of production in the past, throwing a bunch of different ingredients together and just magically hoping that they coalesce into something functional isn’t a recipe for success.
As mentioned above, the Chargers used to have a consistent running threat behind Rivers in LT to keep defenses off balance. They also used to have play-calling that wasn’t mind-numbingly predictable from Norv Turner to prevent opponents from keying in on Rivers. What the lack of running game coupled with Turner’s predictability have done is push Rivers to force passes into windows that weren’t so tight in years past. He makes a ton of remarkable throws in these situations, but the critics focus on just one of two of the errors and make it seem like these miscues are all his fault.
The offensive line cannot go without mention either as Rivers clearly benefited from having Pro Bowl players like Marcus McNeill and Kris Dielman on the left side of the line for the early years. Now that both have been forced to retire due to injury, this upheaval has left him running for his life on numerous occasions. It’s difficult to imagine throwing pinpoint passes with a brick wall for an offensive line with 300-pound linemen bearing down on you let alone a sieve.
There’s no doubt that things have gotten more difficult for Rivers and his numbers have slipped as a result, but just imagine if one of his draft class brethren like Eli Manning or Ben Roethlisberger were thrown into a similar situation. The results would likely be very comparable.
Make sure to check back tomorrow for the defense’s case for Rivers and then the final verdict segment will be coming soon. Stay tuned.
Follow Anthony Blake on Twitter @AnthonyMBlake or on Facebook at Anthony Mizarkus Blake