Frank Reich: Philip Rivers’ physical gifts haven’t diminished

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Frank Reich spent several years coaching Philip Rivers when he was a Chargers assistant coach and that history helped the Colts head coach sign off on the team’s move to sign the veteran quarterback as a free agent this offseason.

Reich knew he wouldn’t have to spend a lot of time teaching Rivers the offense because it’s so similar to what Rivers has done in the past. Knowing the offense is only part of the issue, however.

There’s also the question of how well Rivers can execute what Reich and company will want to do in the fall. After a 20-interception season in 2019, there are some doubts about his ability to reach a high level but Reich said his experience with Rivers has him convinced that the skills are still there.

“Obviously, when it came out that Philip was going to be available, it was an easy discussion to see that it was a fit with us,” Reich said, via the team’s website. “Does he still have it all left in the tank at 38? What does he have left in the tank at 38? Just having been there on the inside for the three years I was and knowing the quarterback position like I do, I was so confident that physically he was the right player and that he had not lost anything. All of the throws I saw on film and as I go back and studied him compared to previous throws, I really didn’t notice any physical gifts diminishing at all. I really didn’t.”

It’s a big bet that the Colts have made and it will be some time before they’re able to see if it is going to pay off on the field.

33 responses to “Frank Reich: Philip Rivers’ physical gifts haven’t diminished

  1. If Rivers’ physical gifts haven’t diminished, it means the Colts are getting the same old Rivers….good luck with that.

  2. They act like they just snagged Peyton Manning. They did not. Rivers has only ever been a mediocre QB.

  3. To say Rivers physical gifts/ability hasn’t diminished is flat out laughable and a denial of reality. All you have to do is go back and look at Rivers tape from last season and it is blatantly obvious his arm strength has declined tremendously and has taken a nose dive off a cliff. Rivers constantly under threw passes last season leading to his passes’s to get picked off time and time again, his passes weren’t going where his mind thought he was throwing them. That’s a major problem for a QB and it’s a problem that doesn’t get better, if a defense knows you can’t beat them deep or intermediately between 11-20YDs down field teams are just going to start sitting on his passes and either picking them off or knocking them down. I fail to see how the addition of Rivers makes them a better team.

  4. Regardless, his physical gifts only led to the occasional flashy win, usually with nothing on the line. They were never to carry a team when it mattered.

    Rivers has a total of 5 playoff wins in 14 seasons as a starter, all but one in the wild card round. He shouldn’t even get credit for his only divisional round win because Billy Volek saved the day. Where does that place him in history? Somewhere in the same range as Andy Dalton, Matthew Stafford, or Matt Ryan.

  5. Yes, his ability to throw the ball like a shotput with awful mechanics to the defense remains intact.

  6. He’s had some great talent to play with the last few years and yes they have almost all been hurt at one point or another and he did jack all….he’s washed and jacoby is better…hell Eli is better

  7. “What does he have left in the tank at 38?”

    About two or three dozen more turnovers. Colts fans are delusional if they think Phillip “Pick-6” Rivers is going to get the mojo back from 15 years ago because the old Band is getting back together.

  8. Those legs are shot and will only diminish his mobility even worse. He can barely move outside the pocket and when he does, he flails the ball out of bounds almost every time. Colts WRs are faster than the Chargers receiving corps, so I would expect a lot of short, mid-range passes, and screens because he won’t be able to keep up on those deep balls with TY (5’10) and Campbell (6’0) running down the field. He was mostly effective with the Chargers WRs due to their sizes (Allen 6’2/Williams 6’4) and were able to shield DBs using their size to their advantage.

  9. Rivers is going to be GREAT for the Colts as long as his WRs stay health. Smart QB, with some fire in him….just what the Colts need to win the divison.

  10. Rivers has had good to better WR and TE his whole career. What is going to do with the mis mash of WR the Colts have? This is a band aide that is going to fall off and expose the Colts.

  11. The season just before last season Philip Rivers’ stat line was: 68.3% 4308 269.3 8.5 32 12. His stats went down last year because the offense around him degraded, not because his physical skills degraded.

  12. Bottom line: Whoever was GM when they let Drew Brees walk cost the franchise AT LEAST 1 Lombardi. Rivers failed multiple seasons with some very talented teams that Brees would have taken to the house.

  13. For 1 year as a transition gimmick signing by Irsay, I wouldn’t hold my breath. He threw a lot of INTs last year and Telesco seems to get a lot of unfounded pats on the back for being such a great GM for Rivers.


  14. Story of Rivers’ life: 2006 season. Chargers dominate, go 14-2 but Rivers has little to do with it as he throws for only 3300 yds and 22 TDs with 9 INTs and a 62% completion rate.

    No, it was all Tomlinson with 1800 rushing yds and 28 rushing TDs, the most unbelievable season for a RB ever seen. From scrimmage, LT posts 2300 total yds and 31 TDs.

    Then comes the division playoff game vs NE. LT has a great game with 180+ yds from scrimmage and 2 TDs. Brady has a terrible game with a 53% completion rate and SD defense picks him off THREE times.

    SD needs just a LITTLE BIT of offense out of Rivers and what does he do? 44% completion rate, 230 yds, 0 TDs, 1 INT. QB rating of 56. Rounded up.

  15. “Mr. Reich, A reminder that your annual eye exam is next week. Please don’t skip this one like you did last year.” — Phone message from Frank Reich’s ophthalmologist office.

  16. Ive seen butterflies float less graciously than Phillip’s passes last season. He never had the strongest arm but he has lost considerable zip.

  17. Spanos and Telesco made another massive mistake. They just keep snowballing on this franchise ever since the “re-location.”

  18. The Oline he played behind last year wouldn’t make the Colts practice squad. Not saying he hasn’t declined some, but it’s also been over 10 years since he had solid pass protection. Playing indoors in an offense he helped design with a strong running game he should be more than adequate.

  19. The team went from 12 – 4 to 5 – 11 so I don’t think physical abilities of the QB could have diminished so much in one year, no, can’t happen. It was a matter of one of the worst O lines in the league, Derwin James out for most of the year, a RB who thought he was better than he was, or is, and sat out most of the first half of the season, and Rivers who continually had no fear of floating the ball up there in order to keep the team afloat, or giving themselves hope. Lots of stupid penalties also. Everything that broke right in 2018 broke the other way in 2019 and all the naysayers never truly watched both years, just looked at headlines.

  20. The only gift Rivers has physically is when throws gift balls to defensive backs during a game.

  21. As a Raider fan I’ve watched him twice a year for a long time, last year he didn’t look like himself at all. His play was horrible….The Chargers OL play was just as bad, so we will see this year if he still has it.

  22. In 2016 Rivers threw 33 TDs. The 2nd most he has thrown in a season in his career. And he also led the league with 21 INTs (and a 60% completion rate).

    So let’s not act like last year’s performance was some kind of fluke. If anything, his much stronger 2018 season was the outlier. He has never been the most accurate or the most careful with the football. THAT would be the QB SD USED to have… one Drew Brees.

  23. I watched Rivers play in several games last year. He looked like a shot-putter, not a passer.

  24. That’s true…He still has that same throwing motion as my 4 year old sister!!

  25. His arm was shot last year. I doubt it is coming back next year…or ever. Brissett will be the starter again by mid-season.

  26. He is the most immobile QB in the league. Not saying that will always win games but he is seriously the slowest QB in the league. Name another starting QB that is slower in the pocket than Rivers. Even older QBs like Brady and Brees still move a lot better than Rivers.

  27. What Rivers looked like last year reminded me of what Peyton Manning looked like in his last season. The arm is shot and where Manning was smart enough to eventually learn his limitations and play within them through the playoffs to a Super Bowl, Rivers just kept on trying the same old passes that he could no longer complete consistently. If he doesn’t adapt to his aging skillset, he’s not going to help the Colts.

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