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Whisenhunt thinks Rivers can be a Pro Bowler again

Philip Rivers AP

No one has to tell Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt the importance of a quarterback.

When he had one, he was a bright young coach who led a once-scuffling team to a Super Bowl. When he didn’t have one, he quickly became the former coach of said scuffling team.

Now that he’s gone from Arizona, he thinks he has what he needs in Philip Rivers.

I think he can be a Pro Bowl quarterback,” Whisenhunt told Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. “I think he can play at that level again. That’s certainly something I see from him, and hopefully we’ll be able to achieve that this year.”

Whisenhunt went on and on about Rivers’ passion for the game and his experience, saying he “just loves ball. You talk about the ‘it’ factor; he has it.”

What he doesn’t have is the kind of help on offense he used to have, when the early stages of his career with Norv Turner helped make him a star. Now, a shiny new crop of young quarterbacks has come onto the scene and taken teams to the playoffs, and Rivers is largely forgotten in discussions of top passers.

But between head coach Mike McCoy (who has helped draw up winning plans for quarterbacks as diverse as Tim Tebow and Vinny Testaverde) and Whisenhunt (who was a lot smarter when he had Kurt Warner, or Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh), Rivers is in a good spot to bounce back.

“Let me say this, from the standpoint of having been in this league for a long time and having seen good quarterbacks,” Whisenhunt said. “This guy is up there, as far as his ability to process things, his ability to make all the throws that he needs to make and his ability to be a leader and rally these guys around him.”

Rivers has shown that ability in the past, but will need more than coaching to get back to Hawaii again.

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29 Responses to “Whisenhunt thinks Rivers can be a Pro Bowler again”
  1. blacknole08 says: May 31, 2013 1:00 PM

    Give Rivers some legit receivers, an offensive line that can block (hasn’t been the same since Deilman retired), and another Sproles-like back to compliment Mathews and you have a pro-bowler.

    It sucks that Rivers gets the blame when the Chargers nearly downgraded at every offensive position these past few years.

  2. sdb0ltz says: May 31, 2013 1:10 PM

    25 + Teams in the NFL would love him as their starting QB right now.

  3. dalcow4 says: May 31, 2013 1:18 PM

    Any Charger fan can tell you—

    1- Rivers has been running for his life for the last three or four years. AJ left the OL depleted and it slowly went from one of the best to one of the worst. Of course, Rivers never ever publicly blamed the porous OL.

    2- Norv’s system had gotten so predictable. Most plays had the same rhythm and step drop, which led to defenders being able to tee off. Most fans could predict with great accuracy which play would come next at any given time.

  4. thingamajig says: May 31, 2013 1:22 PM

    Based on what Whisenhunt has coached (and help select) he also probably thinks Rivers is a sure bet for first ballet HOF induction.

  5. MTLighthouse69 says: May 31, 2013 1:25 PM

    The Chargers really do need to tone down all of the hype around Rivers. If they aren’t careful, they will build expectations so high that Rivers can’t possibly meet them.

    Rivers has been horrible for the past two years, and he deserves some of the blame for that.

    After all, the year before last, he was the one that fumbled the snap at the end of the game in KC. That cost the Chargers that game. No one can blame the offensive line for that. Also, in that same year he still had VJ to throw to. It wasn’t as though he didn’t have any options at wide receiver.

    It is amazing how average to below average Rivers has become without having Sproles and LT to dump passes off to.

  6. packerbackernj says: May 31, 2013 1:27 PM

    River’s has mastered that 5 yard rainbow pass.

  7. JSpicoli says: May 31, 2013 1:28 PM

    Yeah, he could wear one of those funny polyester shirts with his name on the back and a fingerless glove on his bowling hand.

    Smash cut to 20 years from now and he’s Bill Murray’s character in Kingpin.

  8. schrutebeetfarms says: May 31, 2013 1:37 PM

    Well when half the QBs in the league make it to the pro-bowl, I should sure hope Rivers could be named again.

  9. ambitoos says: May 31, 2013 1:39 PM

    The one thing that I’ve noticed about Rivers is when he’s rushed with the ball, he makes bad decisions. If he has time to throw, he’s as good as they get. If he has a great O-line, he’ll kill the opponent.

  10. humb0lt says: May 31, 2013 1:41 PM

    San Diego Super Chargers! Get used to hearing that song, it’s going to be played a lot this fall and winter.

  11. jm91rs says: May 31, 2013 1:42 PM

    Lots of people, myself included, don’t like Rivers, but he’s not the problem with that team. Put him on a team with some talent and he’ll win games.

    His roster is terrible, and has been for a few years now. It aint his fault.

  12. joetoronto says: May 31, 2013 1:43 PM

    Rivers is an all star shot-putter, that’s about it.

  13. cuda1234 says: May 31, 2013 1:43 PM

    What’s wrong with Philip Rivers? Consider this partial list of guy no longer in the huddle with him:

    Ladanian Tomlinson
    Michael Turner
    Darren Sproles
    Vincent Jackson
    Antonio Gates (injuries)
    Marcus McNeil

    and didn’t they just lose both guards to free agency?

  14. badmude says: May 31, 2013 1:44 PM

    Maybe McCoy and Whiz can change his “shot put” like throwing motion. Like McCoy did with Tebow. Got em to the playoffs.

  15. bigbluenationdb says: May 31, 2013 1:50 PM

    LT and Gates made Rivers. How many screens/check down throws did LT, Sproles or Gates turn into huge plays. He is average at best.

  16. souldogdave says: May 31, 2013 2:01 PM

    Don’t know if it will ever be Howdy Doody time in SD again, Rivers’ famous bravado has been taken down a notch or two…They had a golden path laid out for them, but were tanked by bad coaching and a declining roster. He is the #3 or #4 QB in the division…Manning and Smith have both proven to be superior, let’s see how Flynn does in the AFC West. How’s SD’s O-line coming along?

  17. beauregard says: May 31, 2013 2:10 PM

    Well, lets look at his likely Pro Bowl competition at the QB position in the AFC (In no particular order)
    Peyton Manning
    Tom Brady
    Andy Dalton
    Ben Roethlisberger
    Joe Flacco
    Andrew Luck
    Matt Schaub

    Does anyone outside of San Diego really see Rivers breaking into the top two of this group?

  18. realfootballfan says: May 31, 2013 2:15 PM

    Dan Fouts 2.0. Keep blaming everybody else for why he’s been average the last two seasons.

    Antonio Gates, his number one receiver in the beginning of his career, is a shell of himself. Once that happened a couple of years ago, Rivers was exposed.

    Charger fans will continue blaming everybody else, and yes the supporting cast wasn’t great but wasn’t as horrible as being stated considering how weak the AFC West and ghe Charger schedule in general has been, until this coaching staff runs him out as soon as next spring to save their own jobs.

  19. JSpicoli says: May 31, 2013 2:32 PM

    He’s a pie thrower.

  20. jjackwagon says: May 31, 2013 2:35 PM

    Phyllis has always been a cry baby and continues to be a cry baby. She will never see another pro-bowl unless she buys a ticket.

  21. lightninglucci says: May 31, 2013 2:35 PM

    People like to mention the loss of targets when talking about Rivers’ decline, but he was missing just about all these targets for the first half of 2010 when he was on pace for 5000 yards. It wasn’t until he got them back…and started winning…that his stats came back down to the pack. The top pack, mind you.

    But the poor line play, those major injuries to the left side to go along with an already poor right side, corresponds directly to his declining play.

    Fix the line. Fix Rivers. Does that mean he’ll be a statistical top 5 QB again? Probably not. But he’ll be better than 2011-12.

  22. mrgroovesd says: May 31, 2013 2:37 PM

    Some of the blame can be put on him also. Bad decisions when he’s hurried. But glad Telesco addressed some of the problems and that is the swiss cheese O line. Hopefully they have a good game plan to have the ball released quicker in shorter routes and slants.

  23. danrooneyii says: May 31, 2013 2:50 PM

    sdb0ltz says:
    May 31, 2013 1:10 PM
    25 + Teams in the NFL would love him as their starting QB right now.

    Not the:
    Colts
    Steelers
    Packers
    Broncos
    Patriots
    Redskins
    Falcons
    Saints
    Seahawks
    49ers
    Panthers
    Giants

    But yeah there’s clearly 25+ teams left.

  24. 13arod says: May 31, 2013 2:57 PM

    i believe it he just needs better accurcy and he will be back there soob

  25. yaryers says: May 31, 2013 3:49 PM

    It’s funny to read the comments about how he always used to check down. These people clearly didn’t watch the games. He was known as one of the best, if not the best, down field passer when he had VJ, and his yards per attempt led the league multiple times. Rivers was a long ball tosser who knew when to check down. Now, Rivers’ only option is to check down.

  26. navyeoddavee9 says: May 31, 2013 3:51 PM

    Pro Bowl is a joke, 5th, 6th alternates make it, you want to be a playoff QB, not a Pro Bowler, hell the Chiefs had like 5 or 6 last year.

  27. barbeaux says: May 31, 2013 3:54 PM

    An NFL pro bowl player or a professional bowler?

  28. gbrim says: May 31, 2013 4:23 PM

    Whiz can coach what he inherits, but he is terrible at talent evaluation.

  29. 6250claimer says: May 31, 2013 9:23 PM

    With Whisenpunt as his OC, he’s going to regress. Ask any Cardinals fan who endured the horrendous play calling and lack of creativity in the Cards offense the past several seasons. Nobody’s sad that he’s gone.

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