Several weeks ago, in response to a Greg Cosell piece profiling the 2011 season of San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, I wrote the following:
Philip Rivers definitely has the tools and skillset to bounce back from his subpar 2011. I’m just hoping he has enough surrounding him to realize his true potential. Losing Vincent Jackson is a huge drawback for the Chargers passing game. Mike Tolbert worked wonders for the Charges offense in short yardage situations and bailed them out repeatedly on 3rd downs, but he’s in Carolina now. With Antonio Gates getting older, fatter and slower as the years pile on, and the up until now unreliable Ryan Matthews the focal point of the running game, Philip Rivers will need to be at his absolute best for this team to succeed.
If Evan Silva of RotoWorld.com is to be believed, I have to revise that passage.
After reviewing all 20 of Rivers’ interceptions from last season, Silva came away with a quite alarming report on what he observed.
Rivers is going on age 31, and I think it’s fair to wonder if we’ve seen the best he’s got. I think it’s a distinct possibility that Rivers has peaked, particularly if his velocity doesn’t return this season. His pass attempts to the intermediate sections of the field floated throughout last year, lacking zip. His bomb tries were all too often underthrown, frequently dying at the end of their trajectory. Can Rivers still be a 25-plus touchdown quarterback, complete passes to open receivers, and lead San Diego to plenty of 2012 wins? I’d say so, absolutely. I’m just not sure if he’s going to get any better.
My reaction up above was more based on the history and reputation Philip Rivers has built over his five pre-2011 seasons. Up until last season, Rivers played the quarterback position as well as any of his peers.
The piece Mr. Silva put together analyzing Rivers’ 2011 mishaps was phenomenal and could be used as a blueprint for quarterback evaluations. However, I still feel that judging from his complete body of work, a return to elite form for Rivers is not out of the question and should be expected. I’ll chalk last season up as an aberration that can be blamed on the phantom injury league insiders claim Rivers suffered from. The 2012 season should be an entirely different story for the Chargers’ QB.