Coming off a resurgent season for the grizzled vet, us diehard Los Angeles Chargers fans are left to wonder how the post-Phil era will look like because it is a lot closer than we might care to admit.
For several years I have been a strong advocate for Philip Rivers being the most underrated quarterback and have gone so far as to defending him from internet trolls and hitting them with several well-known facts about the 35-year old. Facts like his 192-game streak where he has been behind center or how he’s ranked 6th all-time in both passing touchdowns and completions.
Beyond the Numbers
Rivers’ legacy lies beyond the countless records he has broken, but with his commitment to his team. The young Chargers squad has as much superstars as flaws, as we saw throughout the start of their 0-4 2017 season. Rivers has put up great numbers, ranking second in passing yards and ranking in the top 10 in just about every other category. Most importantly he has been able to avoid throwing interceptions with a healthy 28-10 ratio.
Unfortunately the one-dimensional quarterback is becoming a rare sight in this day and age where we have defensive ends running 4.4 40-yard dashes and we have even heard Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn mention on several occasions the need for an athletic quarterback to succeed in the NFl. Rivers is a well-known pocket passer and with the play calls and scheme Lynn is attempting to implant in the Chargers, we see Rivers with less pass attempts and less chances to bring his team back when they blow a fourth-quarter lead .
We could go several different routes when it comes to life after Phil because the Chargers haven’t seen any promising quarterback backing up Rivers since Billy Volek stepped up and got the Chargers a win in the 2007 AFC divisional game against some guy named Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. Throughout the years, the team has depended on Rivers’ durability and haven’t made much effort to find a quality backup or have simply been too focused on fixing other holes to draft any promising young quarterback.
Unfortunately at 35, Phil only has three to four years at the most and his backups aren’t very encouraging at all. Behind 17, there is Kellen Clemens, who is 34 years and really doesn’t possess any particular skill that Phil doesn’t posses. And then we have 23-year old Cardale Jones who Lynn brought from the Buffalo BIlls in his departure. Jones really didn’t put up any good numbers in the preseason and often struggled with hanging on to the ball for too long and also struggled with his touch, throwing three interceptions and barely completing 60 percent of his passes. There are three different scenarios I can see play out as we see the end of a great era and we witness the end of a first ballot hall of fame quarterback.