San Diego Chargers: A Healthy Philip Rivers is the Closest Guarantee for the Offense

By Kenny Gardner
Philip Rivers San Diego Chargers
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is entering his eighth season as a starter, and he has not missed a game since Drew Brees left the team. If Rivers does not miss a start, he will surpass Tom Brady for fourth on the all-time list for most consecutive starts by a QB.

Rivers’ health is the closest thing to a guarantee with San Diego’s offense heading into this season. The Chargers lost their best receiver for the season when Danario Alexander tore his ACL.  WR Malcom Floyd could have another solid season, but he started all 16 games one time in eight years.

San Diego’s coaching staff is very high on WR Vincent Brown, but the 2011 third round pick missed all of last year with a broken ankle.  Brown also missed almost half of his team’s games during the 2009 NCAA season when he suffered a thumb injury.

Ryan Mathews ranked 12th in the NFL with 78 rushing yards per game in 2011 and 12th in yards per attempt. Mathews had his worst season in 2012 when he ranked 23rd in rushing yards per game, 32nd in yards per attempt and 74th in rushing touchdowns. He has a history with injuries because he missed five games in college with a knee injury in 2008, missed four games as a rookie in 2010 and missed four games last year when he broke his clavicles.

Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has not been the same since 2010 when he battled foot injuries and missed six of San Diego’s 16 games. Gates was tied for the team lead with seven TD receptions last year, but he averaged 36 receiving yards per game and had 49 receptions, his lowest totals since his rookie season.

The offensive line is a concern because they ranked fourth in sacks allowed last year. Rivers took out his frustrations last week by spiking the ball after he was sacked for the third time in four drives against the Chicago Bears.

Rivers is not blameless because he ranks second in the NFL with 47 turnovers over the last two seasons, but he needs help to take pressure away from him.

San Diego’s Week 11 game is on the road against the Miami Dolphins, and if Rivers stays healthy, he will pass Brady with 129 consecutive starts.

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