Speculation about a quarterback’s future after a regime change is natural.
“As far as whatever the numbers say over the last few years, and I say this humbly and respectfully, I played in 110 straight games or more, and have thrown a bunch of touchdowns, and over a seven-year period the ratio of touchdowns and interceptions is pretty dang good,” Rivers said, via Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego. “So, I don’t feel like, ‘Oh, man, I’m in a struggling mode,’ or ‘Gosh, if I don’t play [well] this year, I’m out of football.’ “
He shouldn’t feel that way. The actual numbers are 112 straight starts, with 189 touchdowns and 93 interceptions. The pick rate is up (35 the last two years, after 58 his first five years as a starter), but his touchdown rate has been largely consistent.
He’s been victimized by an overall dip in talent the last two years (trying to replace Vincent Jackson with Robert Meachem was a bad idea), and the general malaise that leads to coaches and GMs being fired en masse.
“I think this league’s about winning, more than anything,” he said. “And the bottom line is we’ve been a .500 team for three years. We’ve been out of the playoffs for three years. I look at it that way more than anything. I’m the leader of this group.
“I want to play well because I want us to win. Our goal is to win the AFC West. Obviously everybody’s goal is to win a championship – but that’s the championship we want to win and focus on.”
While Rivers was comfortable (perhaps too much so) playing under Norv Turner, the Chargers have surrounded him with a quarterback-friendly coaching staff including head coach Mike McCoy, coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and position coach Frank Reich.
If they could fix the supporting cast, Rivers should be able to turn things around. He’s proven himself to be all the quarterback a good team needs, and “pretty dang good,” is a reasonable way to describe it.