Friday, June 28, 2013
Make-or-break season for Rivers?
By Tim Kavanagh
There was a time not too long ago that Philip Rivers was described using that most frustrating of terms -- "elite" -- and that the San Diego Chargers' trade that sent Eli Manning to the Giants in exchange for Rivers wasn't seen as that bad of a move, despite the greater team success enjoyed by Big Blue. Unfortunately, over the past two seasons, Rivers has declined precipitously, and there's now some thought that perhaps 2013 may be his last in a Chargers uniform if the trend isn't reversed.
Veteran NFL agent Joel Corry penned a column for CBS Sports within which he identified 15 players at a "career crossroads." The N.C. State product led the list. "[Rivers] has 35 interceptions in the last two seasons. Only Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman have more interceptions during this span. In 2012, Rivers didn't top 4,000 passing yards for the first time since 2007 and was sacked a career-high 49 times."
Add to that the fact that he's going to be learning a new offense under HC Mike McCoy and OC Ken Whisenhunt, and is poised to count $15 million against the salary cap in 2014, and there's definitely pressure for him to show something this fall.
Speaking of that system, Gary Horton of ESPN Insider checked in with his thoughts on the new systems that San Diego will be running this season. Here's an excerpt:
Gary HortonScheme Changes in San Diego
"Rivers still possesses elite passing skills, but lack of mobility played a role in his 49 sacks a year ago; though you can partially blame that on a poor offensive line, Rivers' 22 turnovers, 15 interceptions and seven lost fumbles are on him. The vertical, slow-developing passing game of the past that featured seven-step drops and a lot of seam routes is out, replaced by a new short-to-intermediate passing game. Three- and five-step drops with a lot of crossing routes and a much more lateral passing game (and a "ball out quick" mentality) should help Rivers and his mediocre offensive line. Additionally, we will see less play-action, at least until defenses actually respect San Diego's run game, and the screen game will be a big part of this offense, almost serving as an extension of the run game. The Chargers also will use bunch formations to protect their WRs from being jammed at the line of scrimmage."