Philip Rivers is going to be the quarterback of the San Diego Chargers for as long as he wants to be. But earlier this week, the Chargers found a guy who may not only become his backup, but may even have a bright future beyond that.
The Chargers claimed Zach Mettenberger on waivers after he was released by the Tennessee Titans, the team that used a sixth-round pick on him in 2014.
Mettenberger played in seven games in each of his first two seasons in Tennessee, throwing for 2,347 yards with 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He had a completion rate of 60.3 percent and finished his time there with a 75.4 quarterback rating.
It seemed he would be the quarterback of the future in Tennessee before the team selected Marcus Mariota with the No. 2 overall pick in 2015. That left Mettenberger’s career in doubt.
However, current San Diego offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was the coach of the Titans when Mettenberger was drafted, and that is likely a big part of the reason why the quarterback was claimed by the Chargers.
The Chargers weren’t the only team interested in Mettenberger’s services. The New York Giants and Cincinnati Bengals both reportedly put in a claim on the QB as well. By virtue of having a worse record than those two teams last season, the Chargers were awarded him.
Source: two teams other than the Chargers attempted to claim QB Zach Mettenberger, the Giants and Bengals.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 18, 2016
In his report on the transaction, ESPN’s Eric D. Williams notes that the Chargers don’t have a clear No.3 quarterback on the roster behind Rivers and Kellen Clemens, but there is really no reason why Metteneberger can’t beat out Clemens for the primary backup job.
In 10 NFL seasons, Clemens has a 54.7 career completion percentage to go along with 16 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. He is also eight years older than Mettenberger.
Mike Bercovici, who went undrafted out of Arizona State, is a guy who likely thought he could make the final 53-man roster by beating out Clemens. His odds of doing that became much tougher when the team brought in Mettenberger, and Bercovici’s best chance to stick with the Chargers will likely be as a member of the team’s practice squad.
At 6’5″, Mettenberger has the kind of size that coaches love from the quarterback position. He has a strong arm and can make all the throws. With two professional seasons under his belt, reuniting with Whisenhunt will be the best thing that could have happened to his career.
He may not be the team’s quarterback of the future, but he could be a great option as a backup for years to come. He is a better option than Clemens or Bercovici and that will show as soon as training camp opens.
Look for an exuberant, rejuvenated Mettenberger this summer in Chargers camp. One who becomes the team’s No.2 QB in the process.