Philip Rivers: Game Manager

Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

John Gennaro hasn't learned his lesson. He's still trying to prove to people that Philip Rivers is not the "elite" quarterback that fans of the San Diego Chargers think he is.

I thought, after yesterday's meltdown, that it might be interesting to see what Philip Rivers' performance splits are. Let's compare how well he does when he's asked to carry the offense against how well he does when he's not asked to carry the offense:

In games with 36 or more passing attempts (84 games):

Completion % TDs per attempt Interceptions per attempt Yards per attempt

61.6%

0.041

0.032

7.23

Not a great completion percentage. The yards per attempt is okay, but not fantastic. The other two don't mean much until we have something to compare them to, so let's do that.

In games with 35 or less passing attempts (71 games):

Completion % TDs per attempt Interceptions per attempt Yards per attempt

66.0%

0.063

0.020

8.53

That looks more like the "elite" quarterback that we like to see leading the Chargers offense. That's a solid completion percentage, the yards per attempt is fantastic, and the TDs have gone up while the turnovers have gone down.

I know this is a bit like the "RUN MOAR" argument at the moment. Obviously, Rivers is going to throw more and take more chances in losses than he is in victory. Right?

36< Passing Attempts: 28-56

<35 Passing Attempts: 56-15

Right. This still doesn't change the argument that you can't really win games on Philip Rivers' arm. I think the San Diego Chargers, since the decline of LaDainian Tomlinson and Shawne Merriman, stand as proof to that.

I don't mean to discredit Rivers. Perhaps a better comparison is Brett Favre, although Favre was a much better athlete and passer than Rivers. If you put too much of it on Rivers' shoulders, he's probably going to be the biggest reason your team loses the game. However, if you surround him with a strong running game, good defense and good special teams....well, you all saw what happened in 2006.

Do I have definitive proof? Not really. I'm not sure that you definitively prove anything with this team. Any negative on Rivers can be argued with "Well, look at the rest of the team!" just like any positive could be argued with "It's easy to look good when you have Antonio Gates, Vincent Jackson and Darren Sproles."

I sometimes have opinions that aren't entirely based in fact because there's no real infallible facts that can back it up, but there's also no way to prove that it's wrong. This is one of them. I think Philip Rivers can be a great quarterback and leader on a team that plays good defense and runs the ball well. I think he can be a poor-to-average quarterback on a team that doesn't do those things well. That is my definition of a game manager.

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