San Diego Chargers: Is It Time for Chargers to Move On from Philip Rivers?

Mike WalkuskyContributor IDecember 14, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 9:  Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers drops back to pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on December 9, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The San Diego Chargers' 2012 season has been extremely disappointing, and it has led to fans questioning whether Philip Rivers should be the quarterback of the Chargers in the future.

Rivers has made terrible decision after terrible decision this year. His poor performance comes on the heels of an absolutely horrid 2011 season by Rivers' standards.

Some fans have pointed at his subpar numbers and believe that Rivers' tenure as the quarterback of the Chargers should end.

Conversely, another subset of fans believe Rivers will revert to the great quarterback he once was if he were only provided with solid pass protection. 

There's no doubt that constant pressure from opposing defenses has been a huge factor in Rivers' ability to find receivers downfield. Rivers has been sacked a whopping 37 times through 13 games.

In addition to the poor offensive line play, Rivers has had to deal with an amorphous group of wide receivers. During the offseason, fans were excited about a wide receiver group consisting of: Malcom Floyd, Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal and Vincent Brown. Out of the four, only Floyd has been an effective player.

Brown broke his ankle during the preseason and hasn't logged a single snap in 2012. 

Meachem and Royal have both been slowed by injuries. However, when they have been able to play, they have been extremely disappointing. Meachem's most memorable play of the season was dropping a sure touchdown against the Cleveland Browns.

The Chargers' most effective receiver has been midseason free-agent pickup Danario Alexander.

Furthermore, Antonio Gates' performance has made it evident that his skills are declining rapidly.

With all this in mind, does Rivers deserve all of the venom spewed at him?

Yes and no.

Rivers has made some terrible decisions when he hasn't been forced to. However, the 37 sacks he has endured would make almost any quarterback feel like he's going to get hit on every play.

Rivers' poor decisions are far from inexcusable, but they are understandable. 

It is imperative that the Chargers acquire Rivers some protection for the 2013 season.

Jared Gaither was supposed to be the solution to keeping Rivers' jersey clean in 2012, but that plan blew up before the season could get started.

The ideal situation would be drafting one of Texas A&M's offensive tackles—Luke Joeckel or Jake Matthews—to be their left tackle of the future.

At the other tackle spot, the Chargers should look to replace the below-average Jeromey Clary. To fill his spot, the Chargers can hope Gaither can stay healthy, or they can try to fill the position through free agency.

Rivers should be given the opportunity to start the entire 2013 season, but drafting a developmental quarterback in the next draft could be a smart move. 

Some college quarterbacks who could be interesting if they are available in the third or fourth round are Matt Scott, EJ Manuel, Tyler Bray and Landry Jones. 

Before Rivers is run out of San Diego, he needs to have an offensive line that can keep him upright and a full season with Alexander, Floyd and Brown.

There are no alternative options at quarterback who would give the Chargers a better chance to win in 2013.