Found October 05, 2013 on 24/7 Sports Hub:
It was just a couple of years ago that the name of Philip Rivers was often listed among the league’s elite at the QB position. Following back-to-back seasons with more turnovers than big plays and three straight playoff misses Rivers star had dulled in the eyes of both fans and evaluators. With a new management regime and coaching staff in San Diego the idea that Rivers’ time with the Chargers could be nearing the end was a real one. If the Bolts franchise QB struggled again in 2013 the possibility of the team cutting ties with Rivers was a realistic one. But through the first four games of the campaign Rivers has excelled in head coach Mike McCoy’s offense and is again playing like one of the best signal-callers in the game. Rivers ranks among the league leaders in completion percentage at 73.9% (2nd), passing TD’s with 11 (2nd), passing yards with 1,199 (7th) and yards per attempt at 8.44 (5th). His passer rating of 118.8 is also second in the NFL behind only Peyton Manning. He has turned the ball over just twice, both unfortunately  interceptions returned for touchdowns, but after combining for 55 turnovers the last two years (35 picks, 20 fumbles) the Chargers will gladly take that. In fact, looking a little deeper at the pick-sixes, it’s hard to fault Rivers much for either. The first occurred in the fourth quarter of the Bolts season-opening loss to the Texans. With Rivers reading blitz he tried to quickly check down to his hot receiver, RB Danny Woodhead, but Texans LB Brian Cushing read the play perfectly and made a terrific and athletic move to pick the pass off and return it for the go-ahead TD. The second pick-six came courtesy of another LB; this time Sean Lee of the Cowboys. Rivers dropped back and was hit while making the throw by Jason Hatcher. The result was a dying duck of a pass that Lee easily picked off and took back to the house. Bottom line is it is hard to blame the QB for the picks themselves much less the resulting returns for TD’s against. Rivers also appears much more confident in the pocket than he had in recent seasons. Many of Rivers turnovers have happened when the pocket broke down, or he thought it had, and he rushed throws into double coverage or just didn’t put the ball into a good spot. This season McCoy has instituted more three and five-step drops thus allowing Rivers to get rid of the ball before the pass rush gets to him. Something else the Bolts are doing on offense is running a lot of no-huddle. Not to be confused with the hurry-up approach utilized by Chip Kelly’s Eagles, the no-huddle the Chargers are running gets the offense in formation quickly but gives Rivers a chance to survey the defense and call the play at the line. This doesn’t provide the defense with a chance to change personnel and the Bolts can still run the play clock down usually resulting in a positive in the time of possession category by game’s end. Rivers has executed the no-huddle perfectly and has made the right decisions both before the snap and with the ball in his hands. Yes, we’re looking at a relatively small sample size (four games) relative to his prior 32 appearances but not only does Rivers look like a different QB statistically, he looks like a different QB on the field. It’s safe to say that Philip Rivers is again one of the top passers in the game and it might be only a matter of time before he has another chance to prove just how good he is in the postseason.
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