San Diego quarterback Phillip Rivers has been the emotional leader on and off the field since 2006, when the San Diego Chargers elected not to re-sign Drew Brees after a shoulder injury. Being thrust into the spotlight as quarterback of a historic franchise two years removed from college, would have led to the demise of some young quarterbacks but Rivers was up to the task and in his first season posted respectable numbers.
San Diego receives Phillip Rivers, Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding for Eli Manning.
Phillip Rivers was involved in a legendary quarterback swap that years later looks as if San Diego got the better end of the deal. The deal will be debated until the end of time but when Eli Manning said he would not sign with the San Diego Chargers if they drafted him, San Diego orchestrated a sign and trade with the New York Giants.
The Giants would draft Rivers and sign him along with providing San Diego two more draft picks, then trade for Eli Manning. With the two draft picks San Diego picked up two players that became an integral part of their team. Shawne Merriman, a rough and violent linebacker that was an NFL Pro Bowl player for a few years and Nate Kaeding, San Diego’s current kicker.
Although Eli Manning does have a Super Bowl ring before Rivers, when it comes to leadership and pure passing numbers Rivers is still the better quarterback. With the exception of the 2007 NFL season, Rivers has improved every year he has been under center and has never missed a game in four years of NFL action.
Rivers Collegiate Career Belied Special Qualities Early On.
Rivers was dominant for the North Carolina Wolfpack in ACC football and was feared as a pin point accurate passer with a bulldog determination to move his team down the field at all cost. Rivers final statistics at the quarterback position are amazing.
He ranks first in passing yards with 13,484, touchdown passes with 95, completions with 1,087, touchdowns in a season an amazing 34, 400-yard passing games an incredible 7 to go with his 18 300 yard passing games and total touchdowns with 112. Incredibly Rivers was not invited to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony, he finished seventh in the voting.
Rivers in the Shadow of Drew Brees When He Becomes a Starter for San Diego.
Graduating to the the starting quarterback position in the NFL is hard enough, replacing an epic passer in Drew Brees is pressure personified. Rivers stood up to the challenge although he struggled at times, made tougher by the fact that Drew Brees flourished in his new surroundings in New Orleans.
San Diego has never had a losing season in the AFC West under Rivers command, although 2008 was a dismal 8-8 record after a horrific start to the season. Rivers has failed to get over the hump in the NFL Playoffs in his career and has suffered devastating losses in the NFL Divisional Playoffs three time and the NFL Conference Championship once to the New England Patriots.
Phillip Rivers & San Diego Chargers Outlook for 2010 NFL Season.
Phillip Rivers heads into the 2010 NFL season with a rookie running back in Ryan Mathews and a large question mark at wide receiver with Vincent Jackson. Although Ryan Mathews is expected to replace LaDanian Tomlinson, while increasing the number of carries out of the backfield, replacing Tomlinson as an undermining influence to Rivers is the big benefit to Rivers.
Vincent Jackson’s problems after a breakout 2009 NFL season may be harder to overcome. Jackson has been suspended by the NFL for three games and talk is that the San Diego Chargers have Jackson on the block to trade. Jackson was Rivers primary receiver along with tight end Antonio Gates. Without Jackson the remaining 11 wide receivers entering the San Diego training camp instill fear into any NFL secondary.
Rivers may be in for a down turn season but San Diego should still make the NFL Playoffs in 2010. Rivers passing yardage will drop below the magic 4,000 mark and Ryan Mathews could pick up the slack at running back. Rivers will have an above average 2010 NFL season but nothing to write home about.
www.statefansnation.com Phillip Rivers College Retrospective
www.nfl.com Phillip Rivers Player Profile