“Our expectations are high, they always are high. I think all 32 teams have the goal of winning a championship, that goes without saying. We have to get back to winning the AFC West, a thing we have let get away from us the last three years. We won about four in a row there. You have to give yourself a chance to get in the postseason.”
That’s what San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers told NFL Total Access as the Bolts prepare for training camp to get underway on July 24. And obviously he is spot on with the belief being present for all 32 teams made up professional football players heading into the upcoming season, but is that hope misguided when it comes to the Bolts?
Rivers in particular has regressed as much as anyone on the roster during the past three seasons as the lack of a solid offensive line has really worn on him. 117 times sacked during that time period can’t be comforting when dropping back to pass and it has shown in some sloppy footwork and mistimed throws along the way.
What has many optimistic (including Rivers) is the arrival of new head coach Mike McCoy and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. These two come into San Diego with a fresh outlook on things to purge the old schemes of Norv Turner and gives Rivers a better chance at success. Turner tried to mold Rivers into a deep-ball passer when he is most effective if he can take his drop-backs and fire the ball as soon as his final step has been made.
Decision-making in the Turner offense was more dictated by the designs of routes rather than what the quarterback sees. Putting the decision-making process back into the hands of Rivers will allow him to thrive at what he does best in 2013.
Last season was the first time since 2007 that Rivers failed to reach at least 4,000 yards passing. Ultimately that may happen again this season, but it will be more because of the dedication to the running game rather than any fault of the man under center. This team must regain some semblance of balance if it wants to get back to the top of the AFC West and reach the postseason as Rivers intimated.
Obviously McCoy and Whisenhunt will take it upon themselves to keep this offense operating smoothly this season. General manager Tom Telesco adding Danny Woodhead to the rushing attack with Ryan Mathews signals that there will be a serious devotion to running the football this season. Although quarterbacks generally love to drop back and throw it as often as possible, something tells me victories are the only statistics Rivers is worried about in the upcoming campaign.