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Spotlight - QB Philip Rivers

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://subscribers.footballguys.com/2007/07spotlight-RivePh00.php" target="_blank">Footballguys.com</a>

    By Mike Brown

    <img src="http://bodogbeat.com/wp-content/uploads/philip_rivers_week_11_1.jpg" title="Philip Rivers" alt="Philip Rivers" align="right" height="259" width="199" />Few prognosticators (aside from myself and Maurile Tremblay) expected Rivers to actually be an upgrade over Drew Brees, but that's exactly what he was in his first year as a starter in San Diego.

    Rather than show his experience, or lack thereof, he simply went out and helped lead the Chargers to a division title and the best regular season in franchise history. Granted, he had a TINY bit of help from that Tomlinson guy, but the same could be said that Tomlinson probably doesn't have an all-time legendary season if Rivers came in and performed like a typical first-year starter.

    The offensive machine in San Diego didn't just not lose a beat with Rivers; it flourished. The team appeared unstoppable at times, unbelievable at others. And the remarkably consistent Rivers proved he was well worth trading away Eli Manning for him a few years back.

    Rivers' overall season statistics don't look overwhelming at first glance -- 3,400 yards and 22 TD -- until you realize that head coach Marty Schottenheimer really put the clamps on Rivers early in the season (especially when the team had leads against Oakland and Baltimore). Norv Turner, the new head man in San Diego, historically has had teams that also run the ball quite a bit. With Turner taking over the offense, it'll be interesting to see how much more or less work there will be for the passing game. And will the difference in numbers be offset by an overall improvement in quality?


    * Say what you will about Norv Turner as a head coach, but you cannot argue with the success of his offensive teams, whether he was the coordinator or the head guy. Going from Marty Schottenheimer to Norv Turner will never be confused as a negative for a team's offensive prospects.
    * Rivers is already solidly considered to be one of the league's better passers, yet has started just 16 games in his career. It's far from a guarantee, but it's entirely possible that he's just starting to get good and isn't near his peak yet.
    * While there was massive turnover with the staff, the on-field personnel is the same for the most part. Essentially, as long as LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates are on the field, it's going to be difficult to NOT put up top-10 numbers.
    * Speaking of Tomlinson, does anyone think he's going to put up another 30+ touchdowns? Never say never, but it's highly likely his numbers regress quite a bit -- even if it's "all the way down" to 20-24 scores or so. The Chargers aren't going to suddenly become a garbage offense, meaning those extra 6-8 touchdowns have to go somewhere, right?


    * Rivers is still young and inexperienced, having started just sixteen career games. With a year in the league and with the opposition having far more film on him than before, he won't be sneaking up on anyone this time around.
    * You won't win any money betting on Rivers winning a footrace. Without those crucial rushing stats and without the passing skills of Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, it'll be difficult for Rivers to crack that top-5 status on passing stats alone.
    * Outside of Tomlinson and Gates, there isn't an established elite talent on offense, and none at wide receiver. Granted, those guys are two of the best talents at their respective positions in league history, but it never hurts to have a deep threat to get you that quick 40-yard strike. Vincent Jackson may become that guy, but he can't be called that just yet.

    Final Thoughts

    There have already been whispers about getting LaDainian Tomlinson a bit more rest this season. Coming off one of the all-time great performances in sports, it would be difficult to do anything BUT take at least a slight step back. What that means for Rivers is up for debate. It could simply mean that Michael Turner gets some more carries. It could mean that Rivers throws the ball a bit more. Then again, with Norv Turner in town as the new coach, it could mean the offense improves greatly and there will be more than enough footballs for everyone to remain happy and put up fantasy-relevant seasons anyway.

    One thing certainly appears fairly obvious to me at first glance. Rivers finished the 2006 season ranked as the ninth best quarterback in fantasy football. In 2007, he has a new head coach that is far less conservative than the one leaving town. He's got a potential playmaker at receiver in Vincent Jackson (something that was not the case a year ago). He's got another year of experience and another off-season and training camp to learn from his mistakes. And for a fiery, emotional player like Rivers, he's had an off-season to sit and stew over the team's premature exit from the postseason a year ago. Anger won't necessarily make him play better on the field, but it could help him work harder in preparation for the season. So, to finally get to that one thing that appears obvious to me: Rivers won't get worse.

    I know, there's the whole argument about him being inexperienced and teams having a book on him. That's understandable, but the theory is typically that quarterbacks make their biggest strides between their first and second years as starters. He can build on the little experience he has by incorporating the vast tools he's also got. And if teams have a book on him, you can be certain that the Chargers have a book on them as well. It's tough enough to game plan for Tomlinson and Gates. If Jackson is merely adequate, watch out.

    To be fair, Rivers likely won't put up numbers that rival Peyton Manning anytime soon no matter how good the San Diego offense gets. But there's no reason why he can't at least get to the cusp of the elite QBs as soon as this year.

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