The Jacksonville Jaguars, Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals were the only teams that allowed more sacks than San Diego’s offensive line in 2012. Aaron Rodgers ranked first in QB rating and second in TD passes with an offensive line that ranked second in sacks allowed. While Rodgers proved that a QB can have a monster season with a terrible offensive line, Green Bay had a much better receiving core than San Diego did in 2012.
San Diego’s rushing attack took no pressure away from Rivers and the pass attack because the Chargers ranked 31st in yards per attempt and last in rushing touchdowns. San Diego’s receiving core was below average because they ranked 22nd in receiving yards and 30th in yards per reception.
Rivers led the NFL in passing yards during the 2010 season to go along with 30 touchdown passes when only ten teams allowed more sacks than San Diego did. Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd were the Chargers’ top three receivers in 2009, but they missed 22 games in 2010 when Rivers had an MVP type season.
Jackson missed 11 games in 2010, San Diego’s front office did not re-sign him last year and Rivers’ production without Jackson may have led to management thinking that he was replaceable. Robert Meachem was Jackson’s replacement and he finished the 2012 season with 207 receiving yards and two TD receptions.
San Diego’s front office did not re-sign right guard Louis Vasquez, but management added offensive linemen King Dunlap, Rich Ohrnberger and Chad Rinehart in free agency.
San Diego is about $7 million under the salary cap, so depth on the offensive line and in the receiving core will more than likely be added in the draft. I expect Rivers to be great in 2013 like he was from 2008-2010 and in 2012.