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Rivers prepares to usher in new era for Chargers

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.realfootball365.com/nfl/articles/phillip-rivers-chargers040406.php">Realfootball365.com</a>

    <img width="247" height="185" alt="QB Philip Rivers" id="image2051" src="http://bolttalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/03/rivers02.jpg" />
    By Julie Eguch

    As far as challenges go, Philip Rivers is facing a couple of huge ones in San Diego. For starters, he has the unenviable task of replacing fan favorite Drew Brees at quarterback, with the added bonus that he'll forever be viewed as one of the reasons that Brees was run out of town in the first place. As if that wasn't enough, Rivers will also have to live up to the expectations that usually go along with being a first-round draft pick (4th overall) in the NFL draft. The fact that Ben Roethlisberger, who was drafted 11th overall that same year, has already won a Super Bowl for the Pittsburgh Steelers only serves to set the bar even higher for Rivers.

    These challenges should help fire up Rivers and make him all the more eager to prove that the San Diego Chargers can be a competitive football team in 2006 with him leading the way. But it's likely going to be an uphill battle for the former NC State star. He will first have to win the confidence and respect of his teammates -- two things that Brees unquestionably had.

    Rivers will be entering his third year in the league, but he doesn't have much on-field experience to show for it. He has attempted only 30 passes as a pro, and completed 17 of those for 148 yards. The first and only touchdown pass thus far in his young career came in the final game of the 2004 season against Kansas City when he hooked up with Malcom Floyd from 13 yards out. This limited playing time makes it tough for teammates to jump on the Rivers bandwagon right away, particularly since many of them had developed a close relationship with Brees over the years.

    As difficult as it is going to be to show San Diego that there is indeed life in the A.D. (After Drew) era, Rivers does have at least one thing going for him, and that's a boatload of talent. Rivers was a four-year starter for the NC State Wolfpack, and he set numerous school and NCAA records thanks to ridiculous statistics such as 13,484 career passing yards, 95 touchdowns, and a career efficiency rating of 144.16. He proved his durability by starting 51 consecutive games for the Wolfpack, and also showed that he could come up big when the stakes were high by earning MVP honors in all four bowl games that he appeared in.

    But everyone knows that success in college doesn't automatically translate to success in the pros. Rivers' NC State stats aren't going to mean a thing when he's trying to hit Keenan McCardell in stride, find LaDainian Tomlinson in the flat, or connect with Antonio Gates in the back of the end zone while trying to evade an NFL-caliber pass rush. Rivers is going to have to spend the offseason studying film and working out, and will have to show up at San Diego Chargers training camp ready to go from day one. Rivers has been waiting two years for his shot, and now the time has come. He better be ready to meet all these challenges head on because there's no turning back now.

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