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?


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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  • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

    Great article Nick! So nice that we are having this conversation during the 2014 offseason, and not the… errrrr… one from the last two seasons. I never gave up hope or thought he was broken. I’m glad that people can finally move on from that frame of mind.

    • Julien Bélair

      Rivers is by far our best player… it is good to take a moment to realize it and enjoy it…when he will be gone god knows which qb we all have…. maybe a ponder, sachez or gabbert type …..

      • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

        Malcom was gushing over him, and rightfully so.

      • Nick Lee

        Yeah he is! we will see what the future holds. Let’s enjoy him while we got him for sure.

  • MachoMenos

    Philip will succeed. But the biggest obstacle remaining, besides our defense, is Jeromey Clary. If football really is a business that deals in winning championships Clary will be long gone before game one of the regular season. A backup is what he is and a backup is what he should be.

  • BruisingChargers

    Nice article Nick, kinda short but to the point. I rarely comment on here but, view this sight daily. I do not think much will change from last year’s approach offensively IE: running the ball more versus passing. Having said that, with the promotion of Reich ( a former QB) to offensive play caller and the recent article about Coach McCoy stating he should have used Ladarius Green more last year tells me that we will probably be passing more this year and going for it more in the red zone rather than settling for field goals. Nice to have a coach that seems to be learning from prior mistakes. Pretty sure we will snag a nice WR in the draft to pair with Allen. So, I believe Rivers best years in the NFL are just beginning. Go Chargers and let us have a GREAT DRAFT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Nick Lee

      Thanks! This should be an exciting year for the offense.

  • 619chargers4life

    Nice write up! Can’t wait for the season to start . Rivers is going to go beast mode and our D should be right behind him to have his back . Oh I can’t wait . Looks like it’s time for the padres to get my San Diego sports fix, for now . But oh I can’t wait for foozeball !

  • Stefanie Smith

    As long as the supporting cast is good for Rivers, he will be fantastic. He’s pretty much the star. Everyone else has to step up…. and mainly on defense. I saw a short article on nfl.com. The writer stated that we are one wideout away from our offense being real deadly. So, hopefully Malcom comes back ready to fly and everyone else plays well.

    Our defense is still questionable… They better step up. Also, I don’t know what everyone else thinks, but I still get a knot in my stomach with our o-line. It is better but still iffy in my opinion. Year 2 for the King and DJ and the rest should be better.

  • Stefanie Smith

    Not that it is funny– They are having that “Is he broken?” conversation about Eli Manning now.

    • 619chargers4life

      So awesome !

    • Gunnar Martin

      I find it hilarious :)

      • Stefanie Smith

        You guys are incorrigible.

  • BruisingChargers

    Stef, Hello, I see you post all of the time on many sites. Are you actually a woman football fan? If so, WAY COOL!

    • Stefanie Smith

      Yes, I am a woman and a football nut. My boss got me into fantasy football at work. He turned me into a maniac. Last holiday party, I got the Joe Montana award: given to the employee who knows the most stuff about football. lol So hilarious.

      Plus I am passionate about the Chargers. I love Rivers and we are so overdue for an SB. San Diego would go crazy. I get defensive a little (maybe a lot) if people criticize the guys on the Chargers that have been around for awhile. I got like Cujo when people suggested we get rid of Rivers.

      • BruisingChargers

        I love any woman that loves the Chargers! I was born in SD and went to boot camp in MCRD there and grew up in SO Cal. I think the Chargers will pick up a few gems in the draft and maybe add a couple of free agents to compliment the draft. We will see!!!!!!!!!

  • Bob

    No

  • Daryl Peek

    As many of you know I was very critical of PR over the last three seasons prior to last year. I was also more forgiving with RM24 than most. Many Rivers apologist and myself were both wrong and right about those we doubted and backed, to the benefit of the BOLTS thankfully. All of that said, I’m geeked up about next season!

    Rivers is top 25 playoff passing yards in NFL history. Of the top 25 he is one of three QB’s who has not played in a Superbowl. Of the top 25 seven have not won a Superbowl. Rivers passed Dan Fouts this past season as Fouts is now 26th. Of the top 25 who are retired and HOF eligible, only Danny White, Jim Plunkett, Randall Cunningham & Ken Stabler are not in.

    Kurt Warner should be eligible for his first year on the HOF ballot this summer. Do y’all think Warner is HOF worthy? If so all PR needs is a ring and he’s a lock for Canton. Next level is within grasp!

    GO BOLTS

    • Stefanie Smith

      At least you see it, Daryl. I was like that about King Dunlap. I was so wrong about that guy. No Pro-Bowler in the King yet, but at least he tries. Also, he has improved the o-line and done pretty well for Rivers.

  • Julien Bélair

    great article you even make me wish Z. Matin falls to us to protect our guy….my second all time chargers favorite (tomlinson will be first forever)