January 1, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) prepares to pass the ball against the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

Greg Cosell: Philip Rivers is the toughest pocket passer in the NFL

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Greg Cosell is regarded as one of the most knowledgeable and trusted football analysts and when he speaks, people listen. Cosell just wrote a piece on NFL.com and claimed that our boy Philip, is the toughest pocket passer in the NFL!

Here is a little snippet from his post:

One critical measure can be summarized as pocket toughness. There are a number of factors that define it. In the NFL, you have to be able to throw the ball effectively when the pass protection, for any number of reasons, is not sturdy and secure. It could be a stunt in which a looping defensive lineman is not blocked. It could be a blitz scheme in which a rusher is not accounted for and gets in clean. In either scenario, the quarterback must look down the gun barrel and release the ball knowing he is going to get hit. More often than not, it’s a situation in which the pocket gradually closes in, and the functional space to deliver the football is significantly reduced. The overriding point is you must throw the ball in the eye of the storm. It’s a compulsory attribute to play the position at a high level.

Rivers does this better than any quarterback in the league. He plays in a Norv Turner offense that puts a premium on intermediate and downfield throws. That features a higher percentage of five- and seven-step drops. The ball, by design, does not necessarily come out quickly. The ideal timing of a five-step drop is 2.1 seconds; a seven-step drop is 2.6 seconds. (By contrast, the ball should come out on a three-step drop in 1.5 seconds.) More time in the pocket means more time for the pass rush to diminish space and minimize that comfortable cradle. Rivers does not flinch in the face of pressure. Even when it’s present, he still steps into his throws and delivers the ball with accuracy and velocity. And he has been doing this since 2006, his first year as a starter.

You definitely have to sit down and enjoy that article!

Philip Rivers will sit in that pocket and will tear up defenses. If that offensive line can give him time, then we will be having a real good time this season. We saw that happen when Jared Gaither came in last year and held down the fort. Philip’s 2012 success will depend on that offensive line! WE BETTER PROTECT HIM!

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