San Diego Chargers Great Debate: Is Philip Rivers Still a Franchise Quarterback?
For the San Diego Chargers, it’s hard to narrow a season filled with miscues down to just one particular area of the team. If you were to attempt such a task however, quarterback Philip Rivers would have to rank pretty high up on the list of problems seen with the Bolts this season. Even with all of the success that the team experienced with Rivers running the show early in his career, should the club still believe in him as their franchise signal caller moving forward?
While such a question seems ludicrous given his track record as a starter with the club, Rivers’ recent trend line is very disconcerting. An alarming increase in interceptions as well as more fumbles on the ground means that Rivers is putting points on the board for opponents just as frequently as he is doing so for the Chargers.
What really stings the most is his recent propensity to commit the mind-numbing turnovers at the most critical junctures of games. Now granted, a quarterback with relentless pressure bearing down on him as Rivers has faced over the last few seasons is bound to force some unnecessary throws, but to habitually make the same mistakes over and over, that is inexcusable. Perhaps his most damning stat, Rivers’ 45 turnovers since the start of the 2011 season are the most by any quarterback in the league during that time period.
Another thing that must be pointed out is that the Chargers opposition in years past was no where near the level that it is currently. In the past, the Bolts managed to stumble around all season long only to luck into the division title at year’s end at 8-8. Now that Peyton Manning has come to the Denver Broncos, the Bolts have two games a year where they have to play very well to get a win rather than six divisional cupcakes en route to an eventual divisional title.
The organization will have to face a difficult question this offseason: is Rivers part of the future or part of the problem moving forward? Honestly, the way the past three years have played out, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the team turn the page and start anew with a different man under center in 2013. While it would be a bit of an overreaction to fault Rivers for all of the club’s struggles, he has to receive some blame and if Norv Turner is fired as most expect, perhaps Rivers’ close ties to him will send him packing as well.
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