Chargers' Philip Rivers Is off to a Great Strart

Ian PhilipAnalyst IIIApril 15, 2008

  • Led the league in 4th Quarter QB rating in his first year as a starter
  • Led the league in 3rd Down QB rating in his first year as a starter
  • He led the Chargers to a 14-2 record in his first year as a starter
  • Led a mash unit into the defending Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts’ house in their final game in the RCA dome and came away with a victory
  • Led the Chargers to 35 or more points in one half of football three times
  • Led the AFC in passing yards during the play-offs despite playing on two wounded knees without Antonio Gates
  • Has gone 4-0 against the Broncos, the Chargers' biggest division rivals
  • Has posted an overall home record of 16-2, including 15-1 in the regular season
  • Has posted one of the all time great records for a player in his first two years as a starter at 25-6
  • Led the Chargers to a 5-1 record against the AFC South, considered to be the best division in football in 2007
  • Has become the unquestioned leader of an entire team full of superstars after playing through a torn ACL against the New England Patriots

Champ Bailey isn’t going to like this, but Rivers is off to a great start.  You can say he hasn't done anything, that he is surrounded by great players like LT. 

Rivers has unbelievable confidence, he has charisma, he regularly completes passes other quarterbacks won’t even attempt, he’s loved by his teammates (hated by opponents like he should be), and he leads an offense that can win a shootout against any team in the league.  Greatness is not defined by some overweight lug sitting on a toilet pecking away at his laptop on the when a player is in his second year as a starter.  No, greatness is defined over an entire career of solid to sometimes spectacular play with maybe one Super Bowl APPEARANCE (Dan Marino) for good measure.  Quick!  Who is greater:  Troy Aikman or Dan Marino?

Rivers had a horrible start to 2007 with the philosophy change of Norv Turner from Marty Schottenheimer.  After a 1-3 start and terrible quarterback play (due in part to terrible left AND right tackle play), he fought his way through it and was making spectacular plays at the end of the season and in the playoffs.  Many quarterbacks may have folded after a start like that.  Dispite what the experts said, Rivers never lost sight of the ultimate goal.  All the reports in 2007 of Philip Rivers losing his confidence were flat out wrong, now weren’t they? 

On to the question of the Chargers being an elite team or not… 

Are you going to tell me that the 2000 Baltimore Ravens weren’t an elite team, because Trent Dilfer was their QB as they were body rocking the New York Giants in the Super Bowl 34-7?  Are you going to tell me that the 1994 Green Packers were an elite team as they were getting walloped by the NFC runner-up Cowboys 35-9 in the Divisional Play-offs just because they had Brett Farve?  Get out of here. 

A team is an elite team based on how they have done over a period of time or if they’ve won the Super Bowl very recently.  After posting 4 straight winning season, going 5-1 against the so called best division in football, sweeping the Indianapolis Colts, winning their division and making the play-offs three out of the last four years (and they handed out some fairly thorough butt kickings in that 9-7 non-playoff season), and making it to the AFC Championship Game with 5 key players injured (Nate Kaeding, LaDainian Tomlinson, Jamal Williams, Philip Rivers, and Antonio Gates)… 

I’ll say that the Chargers are an elite football team with no hesitation.

TJ also went on to say that defense is definitely not the Chargers problem, but I say defense definitely is the Chargers problem.  The Chargers could not stop the run in either game against the Patriots.  They could not stop the run against the Jaguars.  They could not stop the run against the Vikings.  They could not stop the run against the Titans

Run defense is a HUGE problem for the Chargers.  The Bolts dominated against the pass in 2007.  They may just go with a big defensive tackle if a good one is there when they draft at number 27. 

If San Diego were to get that run defense shored up, they’d be my unquestioned Super Bowl pick.  Say what you will about Philip Rivers and his play, if you can’t run the ball against the Chargers, you can’t win.

…and Andres, I know this is the “Era of the Raiders” and all, but the Raiders better forget about Darren McFadden and go with a COUPLE of big defensive lineman themselves or they’ll never be consistent enough to take the AFC West.  The Raiders traded for elite cornerback Deangelo Hall and that gives the Raiders a great pair, but no more great than the Denver Broncos pair of Dre’ Bly and Champ Bailey.  Last time I checked, Grimace and the Hamburglar were playing defensive tackle for the Raiders.  So tell me, why should the Chargers, Broncos, or Chiefs pass the ball when they can just run it on every down?