Oct 20, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) calls an audible during the first half of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Can Philip Rivers Take the Next Step?

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How about a break from all the free agency talks and draft analysis? For a brief moment, let’s take a look at something we already have: a quarterback in his prime. Philip Rivers just completed his 10th season with San Diego, and the 32 year-old has racked up 32,369 passing yards with 221 passing touchdowns. He is 25th on the all-time passing touchdown list, just ahead of Ben Roethlisberger and just behind Eli Manning. And with a decent season in 2014, he could pass the likes of Steve Young, Donovan McNabb and Jim Kelly in that respect, and with a year like 2013 he could catch up to the Chargers great Dan Fouts. Not too shabby. Yes he has had his struggles, but who hasn’t? Can he turn it up one more notch, take the next step and become one of the NFL’s most elite quarterbacks? An argument can be made that he already has.

He will be going into the 2014 season a 32 year-old. Some say that would put him past his prime, but let me tell you of another quarterback named Drew Brees and the season he had when he was 32. It was 2011, Brees led the NFL with 5,476 passing yards, and actually set the NFL record that year. He also led the NFL with 46 passing touchdowns. He then led the NFL in both categories the following year as well. Also, take a look at Peyton Manning’s resurgence, breaking records at age 37. Tom Brady is 36.

Now I know Drew Brees is Drew Brees, Peyton Manning is Peyton Manning and Tom Brady is Tom Brady. And I know they all have their systems that help them succeed. My point is, age with quarterbacks is overrated and over-analyzed. So why can’t Philip Rivers be up there too? He is coming off a year with 4,478 passing yards and 32 passing touchdowns. He actually led the NFL in completion percentage with 69.5%. Heck, he was named AP Comeback Player of the Year and went to the Pro Bowl. Rivers is our guy. With the right protection and the right weapons, he can exceed those numbers in 2014. The Bolts solidified the offensive line by retaining Nick Hardwick and re-signing Chad Rinehart. Rivers also has Keenan Allen, a Rookie of the Year candidate, catching his passes. With the draft looming, another weapon could be on the way. Rivers is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and he will prove it yet again in 2014.

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