Over the coming weeks, I will be performing an analysis of each position group on the Chargers roster. The goal is to break down each group and see how each player faired in 2019. This will help to determine which players should be resigned, which positions need to be upgraded via free agency or the draft, and potential contract extensions for the many players entering their prime. I am pushing for a goal date of March 6th, prior to the start of free agency. Free agency begins March 11th for negotiating and players may enter into contracts on March 13th, the start of the new league year. This will provide me a week to look at potential free agents the chargers should resign, and targets to upgrade their own team.
Starting with a review of the quarterbacks position on the roster, I think it is important to dive further into Philip Rivers 2019 season. The Chargers have a big decision to make as Philip Rivers is a pending free agent. Looking at my previous article on who killed the Chargers 2019 season, I made the case that the blame falls heavily on Phillip River’s 20 interceptions. Many people are looking to blame the offensive line or play-calling, which admittedly, helped turn this year into something providing post traumatic stress for the fans. So I decided to look at tape of every Philip Rivers interception thrown this year to see what caused all his turnovers.
Before you read what’s to come, know that Philip Rivers is at the top of my list of favorite Chargers all-time. It’s painful to go through this, but it needs to be done to accurately make a decision as to whether or not it is time to move on from the long-time leader. I want to provide un-biased, factual evidence to make a determination of what to do with a 38-year-old, fan-favorite, regressing quarterback, especially with the 6th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and two other quarterbacks on the roster, one of which has starting experience and the other being a 5th-round pick last year. So let’s dive in.
1. Colts, 2nd and 6 from Indy 7. Philip tries getting the ball into Keenan Allen’s hands in the end zone. To be honest, Keenan is open here, so it’s not a bad decision, but Malik Hooker jumps the route, and makes a great play. Phillip had great pass protection here. Pass is just be a bit late and its actually a really good play by the safety to get his hand on it.
2. Lions, 3rd and 19 from Lions 28. Chargers down 3 and in field goal position. Philip throws a jump ball to Keenan Allen in double coverage. Defense sent 3 rushers and Phillip had All Day!!! Poor decision and game costing. Check down wide open. Theres no reason to take this shot with the game on the line.
3. Denver 2nd and 5 from about the 50. Ok this one falls on the offensive line. Forced Philip to throw before he wanted and he ends up over throwing. Should have taken the sack, but the teams down 2 scores and needs a spark.
4. Denver, 3rd and 2 from the Denver 2. Chargers down big. Philip Rivers has a clean pocket. Philip forces the ball between 2 defenders and is picked off. Throw it away. This was a bad decision.
5. Pittsburgh, 1st and 10 around midfield. Ball tipped at the line and intercepted. But looking at what Phil was throwing to, it might have been intercepted anyways. Ball should have been to Benjamin as the check down. Lamp is being driven back. This one falls on Phil still. I’ll give each half point.
6. Pittsburgh, 2nd and 10 backed up on the goal line. Need a score to win. This is a bad spot for a turnover. Tevi and Scott are getting embarassed, but it’s not affecting the play. Thrown jump ball over the head of a 6’4 Mike Williams. Keenan wide open over the middle. Here’s another bad decision with game on the line. Notice Philip is overthrowing receivers early in the year.
7. Chicago, 3rd and 9 at the LA 24. This one falls on Melvin Gordon primarily, but Tevi gets beat on the play too and badly. Phil was forced to throw off his back foot. Bears hit the Cha-Cha slide right after. Not cool.
8. Oakland, 2nd and 10 at Oak 33. 0-0 in field goal range early in the game. Phil floats the ball well overhead Keenan Allen. Pressure gets to him after the throw. This is just an inaccurate pass, not caused by pressure, though Schofield did get beat. Here’s another one on Phil. Still arm strength near midseason
Phil-5.5 OL-1.5 MG-1
9. Oakland, 1st and 10 at midfield. 0-3 Oakland. Sam Tevi or maybe Trey Pipkins gets beat by the DE, but what is Phil looking at. Hunter Henry slips on the play, but the safety is in position anyways. Keenan is open underneath. Phil never got to the second read so still falls on the line. Each gets a half-point because that play isn’t ending well.
10. Oakland, final drive. This is the drive I’m most upset with all season. Chargers have 2 timeouts with 52 seconds left to get down field. The ball on the 25. Phil throws to Keenan in double coverage. Interception dropped. 4th down and Rivers is staring down Keenan all the way. 4-and-out on a drive where you have the game on the line, but a penalty gives the Chargers a full set of downs. Phillip goes 4-and-out again! Total, Phillip goes 8-and-out on a drive where he needs to get to the endzone. The final pass over thrown into double coverage. 8 pass attempts no yards, his own interception.
11. KC, 2nd and 9 just outside the red zone. Trent Scott is beat extremely badly. This is a fumble called an interception. This is all on Trent Scott.
12. KC, 3rd and 8 on LA 30. Chargers up a field goal. Phil is forcing the ball between 2 defenders. This is a great play by the defender and a good route combination. Phil might have thrown this late. Check down wide open with a clean pocket.
13. KC, 3rd and 10 on LA 17. Bolts down a TD Fuck it! I see a powder blue spec out there somewhere. No reason to throw this bomb. No pressure. Spray and pray isn’t a good philosophy. This is all Phil.
14. KC, 2nd down knocking on KC door. Phil throws a floater to Ekeler staring him down all the way. Ball was really under thrown and should have been to the corner and not the pylon. Ekeler’s ball or no ones ball. Clean pocket. By the way, Ekeler isn’t the tallest jump ball specialist. Poor decision making my Phillip whose playing desperate at this point in the season.
15. Denver 3rd and 5 on LA30. This is really a great play by the defender staying between Phillip and where he want to thrown the screen. Phil threw it right to the defensive end.
16. Minnesota, 3rd and 17 on LA30. The pocket is collapsing. He didn’t have room to throw. Defender is all over the receiver. Take the sack. I’ll put this on the line.
17. Minnesota, 2nd and 7 from around Midfield. The ball is grossly under thrown here to Mike Williams. It looks like Phil’s arm strength is really an issue at this point of the season. Clean pocket.
18. Minnesota, 2nd down at midfield. The score is a lot to a little. Clean pocket. Fuck it and chuck it football.
19. KC, 2nd and 3 around KC 20. Phil chucking this up in double coverage to Mike Williams, without pressure. Receiving didn’t get open either. Throw this one away or take the sack.
20. KC, 4th and whatever. Down who cares. Not pressured, this season sucks. 19 is a lame number. Might as well make it an even 20 right?
In the beginning of the season, you see Philip over-throwing receivers. Arm strength is there, but 3 quarters through it starts dropping off. Philip just turned 38 years old and isn’t getting younger. He showed a man playing desperate, often looking for big chunk plays when they aren’t there and theirs check downs. He was solely responsible for 15 of his 20 interceptions this season, and he could honestly have had 25-30 with drops. I don’t doubt that he has the spirit or the competitiveness to keep playing, and if he is here next year, the offense need to change. More on that here in a few days. Stay tuned for the next installment of Couch GM: Quarterbacks Analysis.