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Much of the blame for the Chargers recent failures has fallen on the poor play of Philip Rivers. And while he does deserve the criticism he's receiving, many other factors must be taken into consideration.
There are three main aspects that contribute to the success or failure of a quarterback. Those include a consistent run game, solid receivers and protection.
The Chargers run game has been generally good when called upon and I covered the weakness at receiver in the previous slide, but the lack of protection may have the most significant impact on Rivers's reversal of fortune.
The Chargers offensive line was once comprised of three Pro Bowlers. Marcus McNeil, Kris Dielman and Nick Hardwick were the glue that held the line together. The strength of those three made up for the weakness on the right side of the line. Now in 2012, McNeil and Dielman are out of football and Hardwick doesn't have enough around him to pick up the slack.
Last year's perceived savior, Jared Gaither, started the season in neutral with some mysterious back problems. When he has been healthy, his play has been inconsistent and uninspired at best. To his right, Tyrone Greene has proved to be a better substitute than starter. The right side of the line has always been weak, but that weakness is magnified when the team can't compensate on the left side.
With Rivers' lack of mobility and quirky mechanics, the offensive line needs to provide a comfortable pocket for him to find his targets and step into his throws. Rivers has looked distressed this year, resulting in rash decision making and underthrown passes.