The San Diego Chargers are declining because they won two playoff games in 2007, won one in 2008, lost their only playoff game in 2009 and did not make the playoffs from 2010-2012.
Philip Rivers played like an elite quarterback from 2008-2010. Rivers had at least 4,000 passing yards in all three seasons and was tied with New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees for the NFL lead with 34 touchdown passes in 2008. Rivers finished 2009 with 28 touchdowns and nine interceptions while he led the NFL with 4,710 passing yards in 2010 to go along with 30 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Rivers struggled with turnovers in 2011 because his 20 interceptions were tied for third with Washington Redskins QB Rex Grossman. Rivers ranked 11th in QB rating which shows that while he struggled with turnovers, he was still productive with over 4,000 passing yards and 27 touchdowns.
San Diego’s front office did not re-sign Vincent Jackson who led San Diego in receiving yards in 2008, 2009 and 2011 while he led the team in TD receptions in 2009 and 2011. Rivers said that he wanted the front office to re-sign Jackson, but he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jackson led the NFL with an average of 19.2 yards per reception in 2012 and had a career best 1,384 receiving yards which ranked fifth in the NFL.
Jackson’s replacement was Robert Meachem who finished the season with 207 receiving yards and two TD receptions. It had to be frustrating for Rivers because Jackson had a huge season and his replacement was awful.
The Chargers ranked 22nd in receiving yards and averaged 10.7 yards per reception which ranked 30th in the league. This shows that Rivers did not have much help on the roster.
San Diego’s offensive line allowed 49 sacks which ranked fourth in the NFL. The front office is expected to choose an offensive lineman with the 11th pick in round one of the 2013 NFL Draft and has added linemen in free agency, but San Diego lacks a play maker at the receiver position. Also, there is no guarantee that the lineman added will be able to protect Rivers which could lead to more frustration.
Rivers could ask for a trade because he was selected in the 2004 NFL Draft which was the same year that quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning were chosen. Big Ben and Eli have two Super Bowl titles while Rivers has never been to the Super Bowl. The lack of talent around Rivers on the current roster along with his peers winning multiple titles and the front office ignoring what he wanted could make him ask for a trade.
Rivers proved his loyalty to San Diego’s franchise by playing in the AFC Championship game with a torn ACL in January of 2008. However, the NFL is a cut throat league with owners and general managers who will not hesitate to get rid of a player once they feel he is damaged goods. Rivers is 31 years old, so he could be entering the prime of his career, but San Diego’s front office needs to put a play maker around him which will keep Rivers happy and make the team a contender again.