Posted January 15, 2013

Mike McCoy hire puts Philip Rivers in the spotlight

San Diego Chargers
Philip Rivers' 88.6 rating in 2012 was his worst since 2007. (Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Philip Rivers’ 88.6 rating in 2012 was his worst since 2007. (Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Need more proof that the NFL is a quarterback’s league? Just take a listen to the reasons Mike McCoy reportedly landed the San Diego Chargers’ head coaching job.

You’ll hear a lot about how McCoy molded a Tim Tebow-led offense, making the playoffs in 2011, and about how McCoy then reversed field and worked Peyton Manning into a comfort zone for an impressive 2012 regular season coming off his neck injury.

And now, with McCoy headed to San Diego, mission No. 1 is clear: Bring back the Philip Rivers of old.

Perhaps the most damning of all Norv Turner’s wrongs this past season was that his offense, quarterbacked by Rivers, slipped to 20th in the league in points and 31st in yards. The drop in scoring was particularly troublesome — this marked the first season the Chargers had finished outside the top five in that category since 2003, when Drew Brees was slinging passes to David Boston on a 4-12 team.

From a pure talent perspective, the current version of the Chargers probably falls somewhere between that downtrodden bunch and the one that finished 13-3 in 2009.

In other words, McCoy is set to inherit a decent but unspectacular roster. The Chargers certainly do not match up all that well, on paper, with the Broncos, as the two rosters currently stand. McCoy will face a tough challenge to stop the backslide and make the Chargers a playoff contender again quickly.

Any chance of that happening starts on offense — McCoy’s forte. Prior to his four years as the Broncos’ quarterbacks coach and then offensive coordinator, he spent nine seasons on Carolina’s staff, all on the offensive side of the ball.

He’ll look around the San Diego locker room and see some talented pieces, too. From Rivers to tight end Antonio Gates, running back Ryan Mathews and wide receiver Malcom Floyd, there are enough weapons there (even with an offensive line in need of an upgrade) that San Diego’s offense could make a quick leap back.

That is what the franchise will expect with McCoy at the helm.

Rivers, the centerpiece of all this, may be running out of chances. Now 31 years old, he regressed badly in 2012, with former primary target Vincent Jackson catching passes in Tampa Bay. He also does not have a playoff win since 2008, a stat that stands out even more against Manning’s credentials.

The longtime Charger will have every opportunity to revitalize him game under McCoy’s watch during the 2013 season, but the leash may not be much longer than that.

McCoy, though, offers plenty of hope that Rivers and his offense could bounce back in a big way. Plus, by swiping McCoy from the divisional rival Broncos, San Diego scored a blow in the AFC West race — the second straight year Denver has been damaged by such a move; the Broncos lost then-defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to Oakland after last season.

The Chargers would love it if that factor closed the gap in the division.

They also would be thrilled if McCoy delivers in bringing Rivers back to his old form. This league revolves around quarterbacks, after all, and the Chargers have one that they want badly to rally around again.

15 comments
Dana2
Dana2

Just a quick correction: 

 

"defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to Oakland" was not a "blow" or "damage" by any means.  

The bronco defense improved greatly this year under the leadership of Jack Del Rio, while the raiders were a miserable 4-12 under Dennis Allen.    Whether McCoy's move to the chargers proves to be a "loss" remains to be seen.

 

 Peyton Manning is likely wiser than 90% of all the current offensive coordinators in the league.

 

THINK before you post your column.

JasonMacBride
JasonMacBride

I listened to McCoy speak at his introduction - to say the very least it was not impressive. 

JoeZientek
JoeZientek

Philip River is one of the most over rated QBs in the game.  Big ego, little results, no leadership.

BudkisMandel
BudkisMandel

Fail.. Gates is not getting any younger, Ryan Mathews is done.. he is a china doll who cannot walk down a flight of stairs without getting hurt and Malcolm Floyd is hardly their best receiver. Alexander is their best WR, but they will get rid of both Meacham and Royal and hopefully find a WR that they can retain. It is comical to think that they let Vincent Jackson walk for nothing, they let Wes Welker of the Patriots walk for nothing, they let Sproles walk for nothing, they let Turner walk for nothing, the team was a disaster under AJ Smith.. Now 26 players are free agents so you will see hopefully a brand new O line, WR's and a running back.. none of which they have. They have to build from the ground up.. so expect a 3-13 season next year. Rivers is a great quarterback on a junkie team.. they had their chance, but AJ Smith fired Schottenheimer for going 14-2..  Stupid is as Stupid does.. and the Spanos family have proven that they are a bunch of Forest Gumps.. Richer than heck, but dumber than rocks... must be nice inheriting all that dough

Iron Mountain
Iron Mountain

Your both wrong, Rivers had the worst O line in the NFL the last two years, they couldn't pass block or run block.

Rivers couldn't step up into the pocket, because his center was getting run over constantly.   

Anybody in the know about the NFL knows Rivers is an unbelievable competator, played an entire playoff game witha completely torn ACl a week after having torn knew cartiledge surgery.   On top of the worst O line, he had no #1 receiver and no running game to keep defenses honest.    

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Philip Rivers' biggest problem is Philip Rivers, not any coach. He is one of the biggest crybabies in professional sports. He is done. You can stick a fork in him.

testharder
testharder

Philip Rivers is the slowest... QB... in... the... NFL. He used to have this great shuffle to buy more time, but that has not been a part of his game for a while. Just go away Phil, SD needs a mobile QB to better deal with natural fluctuations in the quality of the offensive line.

pah205
pah205

 @JasonMacBride What does impress you then?  Funny I think that he is prepared and will be a breath of fresh air..he will bring discipline...and focus ....I wanted someone else, but am fine with this choice.....looks like he's going to take care of business...NOW IF ONLY the GM AND OWNERS LET HIM DO THAT with money for moves!!!!

larrybradford
larrybradford

 @JoeZientek I agree completely. Remember Rivers came out with Eli, and Big Ben....He is nowhere even close. As a so called big time QB, he really sux IMO....Plus he needs to keep his childish mouth shut. He inspires the other team with his motor mouth....

AdamNelson1
AdamNelson1

 @JoeZientek over rated? hmm lets see a 4 time pro bowler, 1 team all-pro several years, 2008 AFC Championship he manned up and played with a torn ACL. Sounds like whining coming from people with shi**y QB's

pah205
pah205

 @JoeZientek You obviously do not really know or understand PHILIP RIVERS...first he is not one of the most over rated QB's in the game....Second...his ego is anything but BIG..he is a "big kid" actually and what you see is not EGO..it is a competitor and you would/should know that if you watch him play and even when he is hurt or has NO PROTECTION or weapons at all.    

pah205
pah205

Rickapolis ACTUALLY NO Philip Rivers is NOT one of the biggest crybabies...you all see what you want to see....Philip is a competitor and talks but if you knew him..you would KNOW that nothing he says is personal nor is it laced with foul language..he is a good hearted person who is playing the game he loves and why not .....HE LOVES IT and CRYBABY..don't think so!!!!  

pah205
pah205

 @testharder I will give you that Philip is pretty darn slow..he freely admits it...but well he is not one of these young superstars who have speed and mobility but that doesn't make him less then a great QB..pretty sure if you look at some of the great ones..they weren't "swift" either....and the offensive line should be there fore a reason....

 

SDRHYTHM
SDRHYTHM

 @larrybradford  @JoeZientek Don't hate because we have a competitor. You'd be jockin him if he was your team's QB. Guy loves to compete. He's a devout Catholic and never swears. How can you say he's got an "ego". Love you commenters tho, probably chief or raider fans, thinkin you know everything about these players. You see them for 60 minutes on Sundays and act like theyre your neighbor. Grow up. He's a competitor. Is he slumping, sure, who doesn;t hit a rough patch tho. His issue is he's a pocket QB who had no pocket or confidence in his pocket the past two seasons.