The San Diego Chargers finished their 2012 season with a 7-9 record and missed the playoffs for the third straight year. It is easy to point the finger at Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers because he struggled at times in 2011 and 2012 and is the highest paid player on San Diego’s roster, but he is not the only problem.
Rivers said that he wanted San Diego’s front office to re-sign Vincent Jackson, who led San Diego in receiving yards in 2008, 2009 and 2011, but they let Jackson go and he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Jackson’s replacement was Robert Meachem who had career lows with 207 receiving yards and two TD receptions compared to Jackson who had a career high 1,384 receiving yards, which ranked fifth in the NFL. Jackson also led the NFL in yards per reception to go along with eight TD receptions. Meachem had knee surgery before last season so this could explain his struggles along with learning a new system, but signing him was an injury risk.
Rivers ranks second in the NFL with 47 turnovers over the last two seasons, but he also ranked eighth in touchdown passes in 2011, ninth in TD passes last season and 11th in QB rating the last two years.
There was no excuse for Rivers being tied for third with Washington Redskins QB Rex Grossman with 20 interceptions in 2011, but the 2012 season can be looked at as mistakes made by the front office.
The Lighting Bolts had a terrible offensive line, which ranked fourth in sacks allowed so the front office did not put the right players around Rivers to protect him.
San Diego ranked 27th in rushing yards, 31st in rushing yards per attempt and were tied for last with the Oakland Raiders in rushing touchdowns so the rushing attack took no pressure away from Rivers.
San Diego’s best receivers are Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd who are both injury prone. Antonio Gates continues to decline and Ryan Mathews is injury prone as well.
The Chargers made the playoffs in Rivers’ first four seasons as a starter, but have not made it sense then. Rivers has to take some of the blame, but the front office needs to surround him with healthier players.