Philip Rivers does not have it anymore. He threw four picks on Monday Night Football and the Los Angeles Chargers need to draft his replacement in 2020.
The 2004 NFL quarterback class was something special. There are three guys that will earn gold jackets and have busts in Canton in the next decade or so. J.P. Losman will not be joining this holiest of quarterbacking triumvirates, but we’ve seen better days out of Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger than what we’ve had to endure in 2019.
Week 2 was Bad News Bears for both Manning and Rivers. That was the last time both two-time Super Bowl Champions last played in an NFL game. Manning has been not so secretly terrible for years, but Week 2’s loss was enough to have him benched in favor of Daniel Jones, drafted No. 6 out of Duke University having played for David Cutcliffe in Durham, raised to be Imitation Eli.
Roethlisberger saw his Pittsburgh Steelers get their ass kicked by the New England Patriots in Week 1 and then suffered a season-ending elbow injury in Week 2. He has had to coach from the sidelines since mid-September, enjoying the ups and mostly downs of the Mason Rudolph experience.
Then, there’s Rivers in
Los Angeles, having to commute two hours each way every day to watch his franchise play underwhelming football in soccer stadiums, whether if that is in Southern California or south of the border in Mexico City.
Monday Night Football vs. the Kansas City Chiefs was the proverbial final straw. With Rivers turning 38 years old in December, Los Angeles has to accept that what Rivers is giving the Chargers out there on the football field isn’t acceptable anymore. Rivers almost single-handedly cost the Chargers the game. He threw four interceptions in a game that the Chiefs only won by seven points.
Los Angeles falls to 4-7 on the year and is poised to be the epitome of Jeff Fisher 7-9 B.S. this season. Then again, how sure are we that the Chargers will finish 3-2 after their Week 12 bye to even have the right to be called Jeff Fisher 7-9 B.S.?
Regardless, we’ve seen enough out of the most unathletic starting quarterback in the league right now. He can’t run, he can’t execute a lead block, he’s throwing balls off Chiefs’ helmets, he’s fumbling the ball, he’s not letting the ball go from his fingers properly and he’s throwing interceptions like he’s an older AFC Jameis Winston. Is this an ACC Atlantic thing or something?
The worst part in all of this is Rivers was everything for the Chargers for 15 years. He brought stability to one of the four most dysfunctional franchises in football. He played in an AFC Championship on a torn ACL well over a decade ago.
Rivers has been to eight Pro Bowls and will sadly go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks to never play in a Super Bowl. His body of work has him arguably surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famers Dan Fouts and Warren Moon, both of whom played for dysfunctional AFC franchises. Fouts with the Chargers and Moon with a franchise that doesn’t even exist anymore; they’re now the Tennessee Titans.
So when Los Angeles is eliminated from playoff contention in the next few weeks, general manager Tom Telesco has to accept the fact that he must draft a quarterback in the top-12 of the 2020 NFL Draft.
If you want to trade up and draft Joe Burrow out of LSU or Justin Herbert out of Oregon, do what you can to get into the top-five. If you’re willing to give Rivers another year or two, maybe see if an injured Tua Tagovailoa will fall into your lap, or see if a Jacob Eason, a Jake Fromm or a Jordan Love tickle your fancy.
Given that these are the Chargers and stubbornness is their middle name, let’s say it’s still Rivers’ team in 2020. He’ll reluctantly play at SoFi Stadium as the face of the second-tier franchise in this state-of-the-art facility after the Los Angeles Rams. You’ll see more of this sorry crap like we had to endure listening to Booger McFarland speak. And yet, you’ll still have to draft a quarterback.
2021 will give the Chargers bites at the apple to get Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields and potentially Eason or Fromm if they play their senior seasons. Either way, the Chargers have to face reality and understand that Rivers is now a liability for them, no longer the duct-tape solution to all their myriad of problems that come with being a poorly-owned franchise.
I’m sorry, Philip. It’s over.