In this article we preview the performance of the San Diego Chargers franchise QB, Philip Rivers. Will he play better in 2015 than recent years, or take a step back?
Philip Rivers enters his 12th season with the San Diego Chargers in 2015 seeking his first championship ring. Pretty hard to believe that one, it has been 12 years since he joined the league, and two, both 2004 draft classmates Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning have two Super Bowl rings apiece in that span.
A lot of off field news has circled Rivers this offseason, mainly with the uncertainty of his contract situation as he enters the last season of his current one. There has been news of efforts on both sides to sign an extension, but it doesn’t look like a deal will get done before the beginning of the season. This is both frustrating for Chargers fans and understandable as well. The Chargers don’t know if they will be moving to L.A. at the end of this season, which could fully change their financial situation, and they also don’t want to wait until the salary increases before inking a deal with their franchise QB. Some news has surfaced that the possibility of moving the team is a sticking point on the Rivers side of the negotiation. You see, Rivers is busy in the offseason and has seven children to show for it. Packing up and moving that size of a brood to L.A. doesn’t seem like a good idea to him.
A Deep Offensive Line
One of the things that should keep Rivers’ consistent play the same in 2015 is the depth he has on the offensive line. A standout in training camp so far is top draft pick, DJ Fluker, who is seeing reps at right guard. The other main addition to the line is free agent, Orlando Franklin, who signed a five-year deal with the Chargers after protecting Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos. It’s been said that the offensive line of the Chargers is as good or better than it was in 2009, a year that saw the Chargers go 13-3. It was also a year in which Rivers only had 9 INT’s for the year, tying the best mark in his career. More time to throw equals better decisions, most of the time anyway.
A New Toy in Melvin Gordon
With the 2015 15th overall draft pick, Melvin Gordon, in camp, Rivers has a new offensive weapon to distribute the ball with. Rivers himself has said that Gordon is picking up pass protection schemes quickly, and loves his soft hands while catching the ball. Gordon is also making good impressions with the work on his route running. It’s thought that Gordon could steal some short yardage statistics from Rivers near the goal line, but having a good running game should open up the play-action game as well for Rivers everywhere else.
Stevie Johnson? Oh Hell Yes!
Stevie Johnson must be thanking his lucky stars to be with a QB such as Rivers after the season he had with San Francisco last year. The two have had an almost immediate bond, and with the loss of Eddie Royal to the Chicago Bears, Gordon knows it is his time in the spotlight. An increased focus at camp has been apparent, and Rivers has been giving Johnson accolades for his work ethic and trust in the wide receiver. This should translate to some explosive plays on the field come the regular season.
Antonio Gates? Oh Hell No!
Antonio Gates' surprising suspension for four games to begin the season will definitely create a void on offense for the Chargers. This is especially the case because of the bond that Rivers and Gates have built on the field over the last decade. While this is unfortunate, I think the Chargers will use the absence of Gates to get some different looks from younger, and faster, TE’s on their roster. If they can survive with the backups for the first four weeks of the season the depth at the position will only help come January.
With a great offensive line, new weapons on offense, and a new contract to play for, it appears that Rivers is prime to have one of the better seasons of his career. Most analysts have him in the top fifteen of 2015 QB’s, but I would not be surprised to see him end the year statistically in the top eight. Keep this in mind when making your NFL picks during the 2015 season.