It wasn't too long ago that Philip Rivers was considered an elite quarterback. Some were even making the case that he was the best outside of the top three in Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. You might as well add Peyton Manning to that list.
The sad reality is Philip Rivers continues to make poor decisions and has failed in San Diego the last two seasons. The question keeps being asked, why? Last year, everyone said Rivers was hiding an injury, resulting in his awful play, but he denied it. I'm starting to think he really didn't have an injury. There are a lot of contributing factors to his failure, most of which aren't in his ability to fix.
Norv Turner will be fired after this season. The one player who will be most upset with this decision is Philip Rivers. Whenever Turner's name is brought up about his job status, Rivers stands behind him every single time. We can see that he loves his coach off the field, but on it, it doesn't seem like he does.
Philip Rivers can say he's behind Norv Turner 100 percent, but does he trust him? No. If he did, he would have half as many interceptions as he does right now. Most of his bad decisions come from simply trying too hard. He feels in his mind he has to make a big play, let alone just a play in order to win the game. This directly reflects no confidence in his head coach.
Philip Rivers has a will to win like no other. Lately, he hasn't been himself. We haven't seen him very vocal during the games or getting upset at certain plays and calls like he usually does. An era is over, and it ended when LaDainian Tomlinson left the Chargers.
The only player on the offensive line that Philip Rivers is appreciating is Nick Hardwick. He's been the most consistent player on the San Diego Chargers over the duration of Rivers' career. As for the rest protecting the quarterback, things are at an all-time low. But hey, it could be worse. (Insert Philadelphia Eagles reference here.)
Although he has the highest completion percentage of his career, Rivers' crucial turnovers overshadow it. His inability to step up in the pocket or have the time to let receivers' routes develop result in numerous checkdowns to running backs. In fact, the Chargers rank last in receptions by receivers and first in receptions by running backs. The lack of protection associates Rivers' lack of confidence.
Playcalling System/General Manager Decisions
It's very disappointing that a fiery, competitive quarterback's career has been basically ruined by a coach and his system. Norv Turner's game plan lives and dies with the run. Ryan Mathews is capable of big things, but Turner does not trust him the way he did with Tomlinson. Losing Darren Sproles was also very crucial to Rivers' game. Ronnie Brown is doing well, but not even close to the threat of the lightning bug.
Turner's play calls have become predictable throughout the years. He has shown some trickery this year, but not enough to scare other teams. His system works great with big, athletic receivers like Malcom Floyd, not with receivers like Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal. An argument can be made that A.J. Smith isn't equipping the Chargers with the right players for Norv Turner, but he's also not adjusting his game plan accordingly.
The San Diego Chargers must fire A.J. Smith and Norv Turner. They should improve the offensive line, bring in more weapons and hire a coach that will instill confidence in Philip Rivers.