The Los Angeles Chargers are currently 3-5 and outside the playoff picture. Can Philip Rivers rally the team?
Philip Rivers, the heart and soul of the Los Angeles Chargers, has been trending downwards over the last few years. The team was struggling, the organization was fighting a stadium battle and the fans in San Diego were completely disengaged with the product on the field.
It appeared as though Rivers was trying to do way too much to get the team into the win column. He was forcing throws and was constantly frustrated on the sideline. All external factors aside, Rivers was not playing at the elite level we were used to seeing him at. It hit many Chargers fans that Rivers was on the backend of his illustrious career, and many called for the organization to draft his predecessor. Although this wish did not come to fruition to those fans, it is something the Chargers are going to have to think about at the the end of this year.
However, despite the talk regarding the inevitable retirement of Philip Rivers, the Chargers may have something cooking this season. Part of the reason for their success is that Rivers does not need to carry the load as much. We have seen what a decent offensive line can do for the running game and how this affects the quarterback play. His numbers have not been spectacular. He has not dominated any team with his arm like we have seen in the past. He keeps his passes within 10 yards typically. However, he has been efficient enough to win games.
Three wins and five losses may not be ideal for Chargers fans. However, after a change of head coach and a relocation, we cannot complain. Nonetheless, the Chargers are very much alive in the AFC playoff picture. The pending question is: Can Rivers lead the team on a playoff run?
It is certainly a tough question to answer given the Chargers inconsistency over the years. Furthermore, Rivers’ prime has passed and he cannot perform to the same level he once was capable of. This is not to say he cannot tear up defenses, however. He is still one of the most savvy quarterbacks in the league and still reads defenses like a magician.
In order for the Chargers to compete for a playoff spot, Rivers must rely on the weapons he has around him. He is accompanied with a strong defense on the other side of the ball and he has multiple weapons on his offense which he can lean on. He does not have to heave the ball down the field 10 times a game in order to put points on the board.
As we saw in the Patriots game, Melvin Gordon can bust the defense open for big runs. Additionally, while Travis Benjamin has been awful in certain facets of the game, we have seen his capability in stretching the field. Ultimately, the Chargers have to get Hunter Henry involved more in the passing game as well. He is too important of an asset to only use in run/pass block.
If the Chargers utilize all of their weapons on offense and remain stingy on defense, they will be dangerous down the stretch.
It is incredibly easy to sit back and point out what the Chargers should do. However, it is ultimately up to them to execute these game plans. It takes a “one game at a time” approach. One thing is for sure, this team feels different under Anthony Lynn.
With all of the craziness in the NFL this season, it is unclear where the Chargers will be come January. However, this year we cannot blame injuries. This team will decide its own fate and we will hold them accountable to that.