The San Diego Chargers are struggling. They went to Cleveland to take on the Browns and managed just six points. The team is now sitting on a 3-4 record, tied for second-place in the AFC West. The Denver Broncos, under Peyton Manning's leadership, are looking like the team to beat in the West. However, San Diego doesn't look like they have the weapons or ability to take them on right now. Part of the problem could be Philip Rivers' arm strength.
Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports suspects Rivers may be concealing an injury that is affecting his arm strength. Silver points out that Rivers has never been known as the kind of guy who is going to throw a bullet, but even a drop in velocity to a mediocre arm will result in plays being much more difficult to execute. Silver had similar suspicions about Rivers toward the end of last season, but the Chargers' quarterback assured him there was nothing wrong. If Silver is correct, and we my never know if he is, what does this mean for the future of the team?
First, let's talk about Norv Turner. If you are to believe Twitter, Turner is the worst coach in the history of the league. Of course, this is a passionate OVER-reaction by fans of a team that should be better. Norv Turner is a talented head coach and can motivate his players. However, he has struggled with this team the past couple seasons. If part of the problem is an injury to Rivers that the quarterback refuses to acknowledge, well it would be a shame if Turner lost his job over that. All a coach can do is trust his leader - and Rivers is that leader. If Turner asked Rivers about the arm and Rivers said he was good to go, Turner would have no choice but to believe him. Now if Rivers is lying about the arm and taking the field when he could be putting his team at a disadvantage, that's not fair to anyone.
San Diego has plenty of time to get back on track, they just don't look like they can right now. Of course, the outlook on a season changes week-to-week in this league, and in two weeks we may be talking about how the Chargers appear to be one of the best teams in the AFC. But that will be a tough thing to accomplish if Rivers in not healthy and not telling anyone.
A few milliseconds lost in the delivery time for a football can mean the difference between a win or a loss. When every player on the field has abnormal speed (when compared to normal people like you and me), a drop in velocity can destroy a perfectly executed play. A pass caught slightly behind a receiver means less yards after the catch even if it was a completion. A pass down the field that simply doesn't travel as far as it should could mean an interception. These are the things Rivers may not be considering if he is actually injured.
And according to Silver, it's not just him that see the drop in velocity.
"I know some league executives and coaches who have similar suspicions."
If other teams can see it, if writers can see it, then surely the Chargers can see it, right? It just doesn't seem that's the case right now. The Chargers will take on the Kansas City Chiefs on a short week this week. They play Thursday Night Football in San Diego, and Philip Rivers is expected to be their quarterback.
Rivers has an 89.6 passer rating this season with ten touchdowns and nine interceptions. He finished last season with more picks than any other time in his career. If he's not careful, the same could happen this year. Especially if he isn't throwing the ball as hard.
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