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Chargers By The (Jersey) Numbers: The Quarterbacks

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Time to catch up and start forming the All-Time San Diego Chargers Team.

Jersey # Name Position
1 Benny Ricardo K
2 Darren Bennett P
3 John Carney K
4 Jim Harbaugh QB
5 Mike Scifres P
6 Rolf Benirschke K
7 Doug Flutie QB
8 Steve Christie K
9 Drew Brees QB
10 Nate Kaeding K
11 Jim Everett QB
12 Stan Humphries QB
13 Malcom Floyd WR
14 Dan Fouts QB
15 Jack Kemp QB
16
17 Philip Rivers QB
18 Charlie Joiner WR
19 Lance Alworth WR
20 Natrone Means RB
21 LaDainian Tomlinson RB
22 Gill Byrd CB/S
23 Paul Lowe RB

 

8 Quarterbacks and I believe we're done.  It's time to start making a depth chart and building our all-time team.  We're going to throw away some of the QBs that made it because of poor competition and then I want you to post your QB depth charts in the comments.

Let's start by trimming the fat.
  • Jim Harbaugh
  • Doug Flutie
  • Drew Brees
  • Jim Everett
  • Stan Humphries
  • Dan Fouts
  • Jack Kemp
  • Philip Rivers

Ah, that feels better.  You could even argue to eliminate Brees from the list, but he's good enough to make my list.  Let's compare the QBs to each other and see how they come out.

Statistics (as a Charger):

Record Comp% PassYds PassTDs Int RushYds RushTDs
Brees 30-28 62.2 12,348 80 53 366 4
Fouts 86-84-1 58.8 43,040 254 242 476 13
Humphries 47-29 56.8 16,085 85 73 240 5
Kemp 22-6 47.7 5,996 37 49 371 15
Rivers 33-15 62.3 10,697 78 36 160 1

 

Hmm.  Statistics are tricky when you're dealing with QBs across decades, because offenses have changed so drastically.  Jack Kemp's numbers as a passer would make him a third-string QB at best in today's game, because he completed less than 50% of his passes, but in the 1960s they were enough for him to be one of the top QBs in the game.  Just look at his record for proof.  Actually, these stats may be a little bit better.....

TD% Int%
Brees 4.4 2.9
Fouts 4.5 4.3
Humphries 3.6 3.1
Kemp 4.5 6.0
Rivers 5.5 2.5

 

Now the playing field is evening out a bit.  Humphries seems to be falling behind at this stage.  How about one more stat to try and show the impact these guys had on each game?  Let's factor in their running and receiving TDs as well:

Total TDs per game
Brees 1.44
Fouts 1.47
Humphries 1.13
Kemp 1.73
Rivers 1.51

 

There we go.  Now everyone is on equal footing.  Now, even though he played in a time with less-complex and less-efficient passing offenses, you can understand the impact Jack Kemp made on each game.

Awards and Accomplishments (as a Charger):

Pro Bowls MVP Playoff Rec
Brees 1 0 0-1
Fouts 6 1 3-4
Humphries 0 0 3-3
Kemp 1 1 0-2
Rivers 1 0 3-3

 

Rivers, as young as he still is, is coming out of every category smelling like roses.  He's currently tied with Stan "The Man" for the best playoff record as the Chargers starting QB.  That's tremendous!  The only thing he can't match at the moment is Dan Fouts' 6 Pro Bowls.  Although he should've made it in 2008 instead of Jay Cutler or Brett Favre, and at only 27 he has a while to try and catch and pass Dan.

Stan Humphries and Dan Fouts are in the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame, and Fouts has had his number retired.  Jack Kemp is in the Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame.  From this list of five, only Fouts is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Depth Chart:

So if all of these QBs were playing at the same time and money was not a factor, who would be your number 1, 2 and 3 on the Chargers depth chart?  Here's mine:

Rivers - I know, I know.  He's young and he doesn't have the longevity of Fouts.  However, his efficiency is ridiculous and cannot be ignored.  Philip has come up as the 1st or 2nd best QB in just about everything that I've looked at.  Usually with a young QB the only thing you're waiting for is the leadership to come about, but with him it seems like it's already there.  Although he's younger than all of the veterans on the team, Rivers is very well respected by his peers on the field.  They'll follow him into a battle and be confident that he'll lead them to victory.

Fouts - It was close.  He was almost 2nd and he was almost 3rd.  My entire depth chart came very close for me.  Dan Fouts was everything you'd want in the quarterback and he was able to put up the numbers consistently for a long period of time.  Watching a training camp competition between Fouts and Rivers would be the most fun I could have with my clothes on.  Both guys are born leaders, have rocket arms and understand everything that's happening on a football field.  The biggest factor in Rivers winning this battle is that Fouts didn't become an elite QB until he was 28, while Rivers has been a top QB for two seasons and is still only 27.  As good as Fouts was, Rivers has started off better and has a higher ceiling.

Kemp - This might be controversial.  I know everyone loves Humphries, but he was more of a game manager and a locker room guy.  Jack Kemp threw the Chargers on his back and carried them to victory.  He was taken away by the Buffalo Bills after a major mistake by the Chargers' GM (who has placed Kemp on waivers, hoping nobody would notice), and he went on to have a legendary career in Buffalo.  In 1965, Kemp was the AFL MVP and the MVP of the AFL Championship game in which the Bills defeated the Chargers 23-0.  As a passer, runner and leader, I don't know that Kemp has had many matches.  For that, and for the fact that his success with the upstart Chargers team helped to keep the team in San Diego, he's my third string QB.

 

Anyways, my opinion is meaningless.  Who makes up your Chargers depth chart?  Put you answers in the comment section.  This is a "vote" for the BFTB All-Time Chargers team, so make sure you post your choices.