Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus, recently ranked the quarterback situations of all 32 NFL teams. Unlike when Rotoworld did this exercise in May, Monson only looked at the top two quarterbacks on the depth chart and he was only focused on 2016 rather than the future of the position.
Monson sees Philip Rivers as a player in decline, though still better than most signal callers in the league. Anyway, here's what Sam had to say about the 2016 Chargers:
Only four QBs were pressured more than the 39.7 percent of dropbacks Rivers felt heat on last season.Philip Rivers at his best is a fantastic quarterback, but is now 34 years old and has performed steadily worse over the past two seasons. The situation in San Diego has pretty much matched that decline, so it’s far from all on him, but the question remains of how good he can be this late in his career. The most worrying red flag about Rivers’ play is that when kept clean in the pocket in 2015, his play was not good. He had a passer rating of 100.8 on such plays, but much of that was due to work after the catch from his receivers; his PFF grade was actually below-average. This is the area of the game where even the worst QBs typically grade positively, and Rivers wasn’t excelling. When blitzed, his grade was extremely poor, and this again is an area where experienced QBs typically perform well. Right now, his performance is trending downwards, but the top of this list is full of QBs of the same age or older, so maybe he can turn it around.
When defending Rivers from the negative grade handed out by Rotoworld, I cited the collapse of the offensive line and the fact that we should see an improved product there this year. Monson already accounts for the terrible line play, and he also offers stats that show Rivers as less than stellar with a clean pocket. Part of that has to still be attributed to phantom pressure felt by Rivers thanks to his regularly getting buried by defenders. Expecting to get hit even when there's room to work cannot help but have an effect. That's not entirely a defense of Rivers, though, as you would hope that he would be better than that.
Also, in the past, Rivers excelled when blitzed, but in 2015 he was apparently very poor in those situations. This is part of a downward trend noted by Monson, but hopefully, we get to see an upswing in 2016 now that he will have a competent offensive line and competent offensive coordinator. Hey, maybe they can even get a running game going with Melvin Gordon and co.
The aging process for quarterbacks is often sudden, unfortunately. And as I have mentioned before, "great quarterbacks are great until they simply are not anymore (see: Manning, Peyton)." That said, if Rivers still has the ability to play, his situation is so much better this year that you can't help but be optimistic as a fan of Rivers and the Chargers.
And don't forget about Zach Mettenberger. Or do. On second thought, do forget about him.