If you have seen NFL football this season you have noticed that there are several things that are just unexplainable this season. The quarterback position has usually been dominated by the same handful of guys but for some reason, a few of the elite quarterbacks are struggling this season. However, none are struggling more than Philip Rivers has thus far. Rivers has had a bad stretch of games unlike any that he has since joining the Chargers out of college.
Rivers struggles went overlooked at the beginning of the season because the Chargers were winning. Now the Chargers are on a losing streak and Rivers problems have been somewhat magnified. Rivers arm strength has looked somewhat questionable as he has lost a lot of velocity on his passes. He also lacks the great timing on his throws to his outside receivers that he has demonstrated throughout the years.
The loss of Antonio Gates for most of the season could be part of the reason for River’s struggles but it seems more mechanical than that under my observation. Rivers doesn’t have a traditional release. In fact at first glance, he throws the ball like a little kid whose hands aren’t big enough to throw the football. Some would even liken it to a girl throwing the ball.
If you follow the Chargers, you may have noticed that Rivers doesn’t have “pure” arm strength, like Aaron Rodgers does. He can’t really throw off-balance or on-the-run. He needs to set his feet and step up to make his throws or to send one downfield with any real force. Now teams are trying to force him to move out of the pocket by crowding the throwing area in front of him so he can’t step into his throws. Because of River’s mechanics, he can’t make that forceful throw like a Cutler or Rodgers. Marino had similar mechanics as Rivers, but he had a much stronger arm so that type of pass rush didn’t bother Marino as much.
Maybe it’s more than just arm strength. As I look at Rivers, he has some mechanical differences now that he didn’t have in the beginning of the season. When I look at his shoulder level and left knee movement on throws, there is definitely a difference in his movement and release when I compare them to last year. His chest stays too square and his knee isn’t steady on his release. This tells me that either he he’s hurt or his mechanics are falling apart because he is not throwing off his normal progression. There are rumors circulating that he got hurt against the Patriots early in the season, and he was re injured in their game inDenver. I’m not sure if that’s the case but if it is, I’m surprised the QB experts at various sports shows haven’t mentioned it.
The latest theory to evolve in the mystique of Rivers is maybe he is just tired. The man did have an addition to the family. Just recently his wife had their sixth child. That is a lot for any man. I only have one and it is more work than I care to explain. If this is in fact the reason for the demise, then he definitely gets a pass from me. There is nothing in the world like being a father and I would much rather see him spend his energy on his family than his work. As much as I love sports, there is nothing like being there for your family.
Chargers fans shouldn’t be weary. Every quarterback in history has had one or two seasons like this. It is just the nature of the numbers. Keep in mind that it happens to the best of them. Only the strong can over come it.
Stay Breezy ~ I’m Out!