Posted April 08, 2013

Chargers setting up Philip Rivers to fail?

San Diego Chargers
Philip Rivers has committed 47 turnovers over the past two seasons. (Gregory Bull, AP)

Philip Rivers has committed 47 turnovers over the past two seasons. (Gregory Bull, AP)

Just about any way you slice it, this is a make-or-break type of season upcoming for Philip Rivers. The Chargers’ starter at QB for the past seven seasons, Rivers will turn 32 in December, has a cumbersome contract and no ties to San Diego’s new coaching staff.

Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune said on the NFL Network last week that “2013 is the final audition of Philip Rivers.”

And if that’s the case, Rivers is in trouble.

When new head coach Mike McCoy was hired back in January, he inherited a roster that had some nice pieces but fell shy of looking like a Super Bowl contender — and probably even shy of really challenging Denver in the AFC West. While San Diego has made a couple of decent free-agent additions (Danny Woodhead at running back, Derek Cox at corner), the offense especially looks more or less like it did in 2012. That unit, if you’ll recall, was thoroughly underwhelming.

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The hope for Chargers fans has to be that the offensive-minded McCoy’s arrival can bring back the Rivers of old, the QB who won 46 games and threw for 105 touchdown passes from 2006-09. Maybe it’s as simple as just flipping that switch, too, by getting Rivers more comfortable.

But all the issues that plagued San Diego’s offense last season (aside from an increasingly turnover-prone Rivers) still remain. The offensive line, which coughed up 50 sacks in ’12, has not improved much, if at all, despite the additions of King Dunlap, Rich Ohrnberger and Chad Rinehart. The Chargers also, as of yet, have not added any more weapons to a receiving unit that is coming off a disappointing year.

San Diego holds the No. 11 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, so it could address one trouble spot there. The natural fit is at LT, where Jared Gaither hung the Chargers out to dry in 2012 as he struggled with injuries. What if Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson are off the board, though? Would a developing Cordarrelle Patterson fit at wide receiver? Could San Diego trade down and go the quantity-over-quality route?

Rivers no doubt will be watching intently. He and this Chargers team simply cannot go into 2013 with the status quo on offense and expect to improve. Sure, the offensive line could raise its game inexplicably and Ryan Mathews could stay healthy all year, while Malcom Floyd continues his development into a top-flight receiver. Heck, maybe even Robert Meachem might bounce back from free-agent bust land to pitch in some, or Danario Alexander’s reception numbers will continue to trend upward.

The problem is that the Chargers, as they stand, need all of those what-ifs to occur simultaneously to really be a threat in the AFC West.

Short of that, Rivers’ regression figures to continue behind an overmatched offensive line and with an underachieving group of position players.

The natural reaction when any team struggles is to blame the quarterback. It’s happened time and again with Rivers, just as it has with Tony Romo, Mark Sanchez and many other QBs. Rivers does deserve his fair share of criticism, following three straight years without a playoff berth.

As is often the case, however, the letdowns have been far from a one-man operation. Even at his best last season, Rivers could only do so much with the talent (or lack thereof) around him — specifically, up front.

The situation for 2013 does not set up that much better, either. The Chargers have done little more than plug gum into the holes on their leaky line and the receiving corps is the same one Rivers threw to throughout the 7-9 2012 season.

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45 comments
RS1022
RS1022

Rivers is an above average but not great QB, on par with Cutler, Romo and Schaub. All those guys can put up numbers when they have a good team around them... BUT, When the running game goes, the star reliever is gone/out, the line allows pressure, they become turnover over machines. The question is, who are they gone get to replace him? With all of that said above, he is still in the top half if QBs in league (barely).

fmfrijoles
fmfrijoles

The legacy of Norv Turner will haunt the Chargers for a decade. He did it to the REDSKINS and RAIDERS....now he did to the CHARGERS........

 

NORV SUCKS!!!

Jcat71
Jcat71

They'd be nuts. Rivers has watched his team get dismantled by the front office and undone by the head coach. It's different from Romo who has a talented but flawed team around him - Rivers is the one of the few talents left in SD.

David50
David50

Rivers will be starting in San Diego 5 years from now. Who can replace him?????????????

goosepabs
goosepabs

If the Chargers end up cutting ties with Rivers, there's a lot of of teams out there that are willing to make him their QB. so What would the Chargers do after that? Pick a QB in the draft and suck for years unless you're drafting Luck or RG3 or sign a free agent veteran QB or we never know... Mike Mccoy might bring Tebow in San Diego because they had something going on in Denver.. What ever it is, if it happens San Diego will feel the wrath of what Kansas city had felt through the years since the great Joe Montana left.

Ciscos
Ciscos

The fact that this is Rivers "last round up" is fitting in some ways.  As 6mark6 said below, the Spanos clan are morons. From firing Bobby Ross to Marty they've proved, without the laughter, they are truly the dumbest owners next to Mike Brown of the Bengals. Brown looks like Einstein compared to the Span-Goofs.

6marK6
6marK6

We are talking about a franchise that fired Marty when he went 14-2 and then kept Norv Turner around for years. The Spanos family are morons.

6marK6
6marK6

Rivers is the AFC version of Tony Romo. He puts up numbers and is probably better than anything else you can replace him with, but he is not a winner.

joeshine730
joeshine730

Rivers is a loser who never did anything in the big games that mattered. Let him leave as Rivers only flows to loserville.

gary41
gary41

Drafting 11th they should be in position for OT Lane Johnson or WR Tavon Austin, hopefully the latter.  Why would they take Cordarrelle Patterson, who might develop, when Rivers is no longer there?? 

Scramble
Scramble

Does he even have a team to win with this coming season.

DougMill
DougMill

Getting tired of the B.S. conjecture from these hack writers, who during the off season have to invent crap TMZ headlines to keep busy.

rich_b2
rich_b2

Who runs that team?  Getting rid of Marty to hire Norv, not to mention letting Drew go (to win a Superbowl in NO) to keep the hothead because he's taller.

2001mark
2001mark

Shame for a QB with his makeup & talent.  Not sure where else he could fit, Tampa?  Minnesota??  He's our era's Dan Marino.

lucmizell
lucmizell

One really can't judge Rivers based solely on what he did under a man who has thoroughly proven, more than once, that he is a lousy head coach. I have little doubt that Rivers will be vastly improved this year, assuming the new coach is an upgrade.

PWINGS
PWINGS

The writer speculates that the Chargers would be willing to trade down. That's nice! That same speculation has been raised about teams as well. However, that assumes that anyone is willing (desperate?) enough to trade UP. I haven't heard any speculation there. I mean, how many teams are willing to sacrifice multiple draft picks for the opportunity to spend more money on one higher draft pick? There certainly aren't any QB's in the draft that would merit that. Not even close.

GOCHARGERSGO
GOCHARGERSGO

I can't believe this guy used Sanchez and Rivers in the same sentence! I'd Rivers over Sanchez any day. Just shore up the OL a bit better and add a weapon or two and the Chargers are back in the hunt. Their D will improve with Cox in there and another year of seasoning under Pagano.

JRock
JRock

To sum up....River is a good QB but lacks the on field intangibles to make the players around him, and the team, better. See Peyton Manning. Rivers provides little leadership or inspiration. Players around him don't play for him....

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

 @RS1022 Mostly agree, except in regard to Schaub.  \

 

He's never been a "turnover machine", and he's never been the goat of clutch-fail moments the way Romo repeatedly has.  Truth is, he's been an exceptional QB since 2009, and only injury in a couple of seasons and the de-prioritizing of the pass in favor of the run in the Texans offense in recent years has kept him from 4300+ yards and 25+ TDs every season, with never more than 15 picks.

 

I'm certainly not saying he's in the Manning/Brady/Brees/Rodgers tier, but it's unjust to put him on par with the likes of Cutler and the 2012 version of Rivers.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

 @David50 I wasn't convinced after the first question mark, but after the next twelve I became totally sold on your opinion.

 

...

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

 @6marK6 And don't forget when they jettisoned Brees in favor of Rivers.

brian.haslip
brian.haslip

 @joeshine730 "Never did anything in the big games that mattered"Except play with a torn ACL in the AFC Championship Game to try to get the Chargers to the Super Bowl. Last season was the first losing season Rivers has had since high school...I'd hardly call him a loser. If you're gonna talk smack, try to back it up with facts. 

KevinYin
KevinYin

 @rich_b2  i agree about Marty (although some fans who really hated marty-ball would disagree), but mentioning Drew shows that you either haven't been watching football for that long or just didn't pay attention to the circumstances. brees was mediocre or bad for his first three seasons, at times losing the starting spot to Flutie. He did super well in '04 and '05, but then had an awful shoulder injury. Most doctors said he would never get back to his level of play. The Chargers offered $10million a year, most of it incentives, but he got pissy and demanded franchise qb money. Only the saints and the dolphins were interested...and the dolphins rejected him...The saints gambled and gave him the same deal as the chargers but in guaranteed cash . I don't think anyone that can't see in to the future would have kept brees. 

fmfrijoles
fmfrijoles

 @2001mark YOu are comparing Rivers to Dan Marino??? Are you serious?? Marino did way more in his career at the point that Rivers is in his career. Marino will be a HoF....Rivers will be a sidenote of failed Chargers QBs.

T.R.
T.R.

Sounds like Tony Romo who has been stuck for the majority of his career with Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett.

UlisseP
UlisseP

 @GOCHARGERSGO Totally agree. Rivers did show for several seasons that he had the tools. Sanchez on the other hand has only *been* a tool.

Jay26
Jay26

 @JRock Spoken like someone who has only watched if that a handful of Rivers games over the years. Are there many QB's that will go out and play a game with a torn ACL? So that answers the inspiration and leadership question. Now to Peyton Manning ya that guy didn't do as much as he is now because he has a superior team around him in the Broncos. No matter how good a QB you are when your'e OT Jeremy Clary finishes the game with the cleanest uniform of any of the O line, and routinely lets pass rushers a direct line shot at Rivers you just arent going to produce very well. Give him a decent O line and his production will rise dramatically.

StevenKeys
StevenKeys

 @JRock I've gotta' take issue with your assessment of Rivers ("little leadership") and side with Dee+ here, JR.  The Chargers W-L result and Phil's big TO total listed (47) tend to back your claim but when by chance I've seen Rivers interviewed post-game in recent years he shoulders his share of blame in defeat and always remains hopeful.  On top of that, Phil can matriculate with the best of 'em.

 

If on the market in 2014 and healthy, I see teams-in-need lining up Phil Rivers' services.

DeeSleest
DeeSleest

 @JRock You definitely do not follow the Chargers or know much about Philip Rivers makeup.  Inspiration and leadership from Rivers is not lacking.  When you have Norv Turner at the helm, not much of a running game, inconsistency from your few weapons and a quarterback that is gun-shy due to continuously being hit, these are the contributing factors in how Philip Rivers has performed the past few years.  Leadership and inspiration are not intangibles Philip Rivers has ever lacked.

fmfrijoles
fmfrijoles

 @T.R. ROMO is a choke artist. If he was on any other team than the Cowboys he would have already been demoted or traded or his replacement being groomed  for his inability to win in big moments.

DeeSleest
DeeSleest

 @Jay26  @JRock 2012 was a sad year to watch Rivers.  The guy was spooked.  He'd rush to get rid of the ball even when it wasn't necessary.  This is what poor protection can do to a quarterback's psyche.  The guy was gun-shy.  The o-line has been horrible in the past on running plays going back to L.T.'s last two years in San Diego.  The past two seasons, the o-line has been horrible, period.  It didn't matter who was starting. 

JRock
JRock

 @Jay26  Jay, when was the last game the Chargers were down by a TD late and you actually had the feeling that RIvers was going to lead the team back and win the game. Oh, guess that answers that question.

sdguy67
sdguy67

 @StevenKeys  @JRock Agree. If Alex Smith warranted two 2nd round picks, Rivers will bring the Chargers multiple first rounders, There is no way the Chargers are trading Rivers, but anyone who thinks he is the problem, simply doesn't pay attention and knows very little about the Chargers

Scramble
Scramble

 @DeeSleest  @Jay26  @JRock Being a Ravens fan, that fourth and 29 wasn't Rivers fault. When the Chargers were up big time on the Broncos and ended up losing was that Rivers fault. You put Rivers on the Ravens the past five years and we have a couple more super bowl rings. We only won the super bowl because Boldin and Torrey Smith played incredible during the playoffs. Our offensive line stepped up and gave Flacco 5-6 seconds to look over the field. Having the opposing teams defense fall flat on their face didn't hurt either. Flacco would be worse on the Chargers than Rivers, even with all his paper playoff wins.

fmfrijoles
fmfrijoles

 @sdguy67  @GoPSULions  @M as in Mancy  @StevenKeys  @JRock I feel bad for the the Chargers fans. Crappy stadium, Mediocre Team in a bad division and unable to take advantage,Crappy Owner, and their team is highly mentioned to be in contention to move to LA if they don't get a new stadium soon.

DeeSleest
DeeSleest

 @M as in Mancy  @GoPSULions  @sdguy67  @StevenKeys  @JRock Right on the money Mancy.  Unfortunately the Chargers have one of the worst owners in the history of American sports.  Dean Spanos is a laughingstock.  To fire a head coach after a 14-2 season and replace him with Norv Turner (58-82-1), who is a proven loser, is just asinine.  Now Spanos hires a coach to replace "Air Turner" who has zero head coaching experience at any level.  The real estate market hasn't been friendly the past five years.  My thinking now is that Spanos doesn't have the money to hire a good coach nor good players.  Look at who they've signed this off-season.  We're talking journeymen players.  I'm not sure the Chargers could even attract good players if the money was there.  Players knows Dean Spanos is a poor owner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sdguy67
sdguy67

 @GoPSULions  @M as in Mancy  @StevenKeys  @JRock And if Rivers had been on either of those team in the years they won the SB, he would have a ring also. I hate to say it as a HUGE Chargers fan, but as pissed off as I was at Eli, he was right. The Chargers organization, one that hire Norv freakin Turner, and sticks with him for 6 years, is an org that makes terrible decisions

GoPSULions
GoPSULions

 @M as in Mancy  @sdguy67  @StevenKeys  @JRock Rightly or wrongly he gets a lot of flack because of the draft he was part of.  Big Ben and Eli Manning each have 2 SB rings and have Ben has played in another, while Rivers has never even played.  So even if he was unlucky in coaches and support, he will be compared against the other two QBs from his class.

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

 @sdguy67  @StevenKeys  @JRock

 I hate the Chargers, but you guys are right. Rivers is making do with no-name WRs, behind a hideous O-line, no running game, and carrying the corpse of a lackluster defense. I'll put him in the Tony Romo pile of very good QBs on mediocre teams, who seem to get a lot of flack for whatever reason.