This exhibition season has seen many of the same problems for Rivers that have persisted over the past two regular seasons – sacks and turnovers. Outside of Mark Sanchez’s astronomical 52 turnovers for the New York Jets in 2011 and 2012 combined, Rivers’ 47 giveaways are the second highest total in the NFL. Sharing a spot with Sanchez on any list related to quarterbacking is never a good thing.
In addition to his propensity to give the ball to the opposition, Rivers was also sacked an AFC-worst 49 times last year. The preseason game with the Chicago Bears saw that problem resurface as Rivers was dropped three times. He failed to find the end zone one time during the three exhibition contests he participated in, and his two interceptions and one fumble only add to the level of concern.
So the Chargers had to be concerned about trying to fix these issues with Rivers this offsesaon, right?
You might not want to say that to the man under center. He’s pretty touchy about that subject as he told the Los Angeles Times:
“The thing that’s gotten to me this offseason is, ‘Who’s going to fix Philip? That phrase, I almost laugh it off. That drives me nuts, really. There’s no question I’m responsible for some of the plays and some of the games we haven’t won. I’m not going to shy away from that. But we can go sit in there and watch a lot of tape from last year, and I’ll ask you, ‘What do you want to fix?’ It’s just about eliminating some of the bad plays.”
If that’s the way he wants it to phrased then so be it, but there’s no question the Chargers have to find a way to return Rivers to the quarterback that was on the verge of elite status back in 2010. That’s where new head coach Mike McCoy and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt come into the picture.
The system that these two have devised will focus on getting the ball out of Rivers’ hands quickly in order to mask some of the team’s deficiencies on the offensive line. While the Rivers that we saw in the preseason looked an awful lot like the guy we saw the past two years, perhaps the Bolts are still holding their cards close to the vest to avoid giving opponents a heads up on what’s in store when San Diego is on their schedule this year.
Whether Rivers likes it or not, someone’s got to fix him in the 2013 season. Let’s just hope McCoy and Whisenhunt can get him to buy into that notion and cut down substantially on the bad plays that have plagued the outspoken QB for the past two years.