Craig Wheilihan

Harbaugh

One of the hot-button issues all over social media these days is whether or not

the Chargers should keep Philip Rivers. “You can’t win with that guy.” What has

he ever done?” Even when he had a great offensive line and LT at running back he

couldn’t win in the post-season!” Yes, you see it all on social media.

 

Personally, I do not believe that the Chargers cannot win with Rivers at the

helm. In my humble opinion, he needs a better line in front of him so that he

has time to throw and the help of a running game to keep the defense honest.

That, however, is not the angle I want to take with this article. I want to go

back in Chargers history and see how well transitioning at the quarterback

position has gone. After looking at the stats, I think Chargers fans need to be

careful what they wish for.

 

Remember a San Diego quarterback by the name of Dan Fouts? I’m sure you do. He

was the Hall of Fame QB that led the Chargers from obscurity in the early ‘70’s

to one of the most exciting teams in the NFL by the late ‘70’s. He never made it

to a Super Bowl, but he sure was fun to watch. Most Chargers fans give Fouts a

hall pass on his lack of championship rings because of the weak defense the team

had during those years.

 

When Fouts retired, it was time to replace him. Shouldn’t be a problem to draft

an exciting, young QB and take up right where we left off. In fact, it took four

years and six quarterbacks before the Bolts landed Stan Humphries. Not only

that, but the Bolts recorded a less than stellar 22-42 record over that time.

 

Here is a list of starting QB’s over the four year stretch without a true field

general:

 

​Mark Malone

 

​Babe Laufenberg

 

​Mark Vlasic

 

​Jim McMahon

 

​Billie Joe Tolliver

 

​John Friesz

 

Are you ready for a string of guys like that to take over the Chargers next

season? Okay, Malone and McMahon had decent careers. The problem was that their

careers had peaked before joining San Diego.

 

Think that was a fluke? Sorry. Let’s look at what happened when Humphries had to

hang up the old cleats. You guessed it! The Chargers went on a four year, eight

quarterback losing streak. Just a few short years after appearing in their first

Super Bowl, Humphries was gone and it was time to replace him. Again, shouldn’t

be a problem… WRONG!

 

Over the next seven years, the Chargers tallied an embarrassing 35-77 record.

They could not get out of their own way. Even receiving the second pick in the

draft didn’t help them find the answer. Here is the list of QB’s that tried to

get the Chargers train headed in the right direction:

 

​Craig Wheilihan

 

​Jim Everett

 

​Jim Harbaugh (yes, that Jim Harbaugh)

 

​Erik Kramer

 

​Ryan Leaf (yes, that Ryan Leaf)

 

​Moses Moreno

 

​Doug Flutie

 

​Drew Brees

 

I know what you are thinking. “Why did he add Brees to the list? He was a stud!”

Fair question. The answer that I will give you is that it took a couple of years

before Brees looked like he may be the answer. In fact, his first two seasons

were so unimpressive that the Chargers decided to draft a QB in the first round

of the 2004 draft! Eli Manning to the rescue! Oh wait, after further review, the

Chargers decide to trade Manning and in return they receive several players with

one Philip Rivers as the cornerstone of the trade.

 

Fortunately for Brees, Rivers holds out for the first few weeks of camp. By the

time he arrived, it was too late for him to learn the offense in time to start.

Brees would be the starting quarterback for the 2004 season. This result was not

considered to be a lock, or even probable, after the draft. One positive that

came out of Rivers’ decision to hold out was that Drew Brees played inspired

football that season. He played with a chip on his shoulder and led the team to

a 12-4 record.  Now he was almost sure to start in 2005 as you can’t bench a QB

who just took you to the playoffs.

 

Well, the next season wasn’t as impressive and it ended with Brees getting

injured in the final game. Exit Brees and enter Philip Rivers. Ever since then,

it has been Rivers and Rivers alone. His body of work has not been the most

consistent, but he does not miss games and he wins more than he loses (88-56).

That is a lot more than most of his predecessors can say.

 

So, Charger fan, do you really want to start what history says will be a four to

seven year search for a quarterback and take your lumps until one pans out? Or,

do you agree with me that Rivers has a few years left in him and just needs to

protection and maybe a couple more weapons to get the ball too? Give me your

answer in the comment section below.

 

Thanks for the read and Go Chargers!

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