Let me caveat that I’m for this if they get rid of one preseason game and expand team roster sizes. In reality, they are only getting one preseason game since the 4th game you don’t usually see starters. However, that game is important for all the guys trying to make practice squads or positioning themselves to sign with another team once they are released. That way the 3rd game becomes the final game (starters playing 2 games) and still allows those players on the cusp of making the team.
Expanded rosters is a must, not only for all the potential injuries that could be accumulated, but also gives those draft picks and free agents a chance to make the team. We all know the Chargers have been great at finding diamonds in the rough. If the NFL does these two things and expands it to 18 games, I’m all for it.
Born in San Diego, I’m pretty sure my parents first swaddled me in a Charger jersey. I’ve been a Charger fan as long as I can remember and have already started passing that on to my little guy. He was rocking a Rivers onesie at about a week old.
Outside of my love for the Bolts, I work in the social media space and absolutely love data. So in my writings you’ll find an optimist (to a blue and gold glasses fault) that uses data to try and determine what’s really going on.
Fun facts about me include:
- I used to be a private investigator (probably why I like data so much and investigating)
- I got Ryan Leafs’ autograph at the 1998 training camp
- While in college studying Journalism, I attended the San Jose State pro day and a little known defensive end named Jared Allen flew in from Idaho to work out. I still have the tape of his workout
By no means am I an expert, but I love looking at things from a different point of view. Love hearing from you all.
Editor’s note: Be sure to follow Justin on Twitter @justang31.
Here are my Top 10 movies at the request of Dave!
1. Christmas Vacation
2. Shawshank Redemption
3. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
5. Sherlock Holmes
6. Batman – The Dark Knight
7. V for Vendetta
8. Pirates of the Caribbean
9. Role Models
10. The Godfather
It’s probably one of the most talked about topics over the past two years. What’s wrong with Philip Rivers? Some have claimed it was injuries, others say it’s the lack of offensive weapons or a bad O-line. Some even insinuated that Rivers had too much going on at home with such a large family. The more likely culprit: a combination of things, none of which involve Philips’ personal life.
A quick way to find the source is to look at the stats. Not just interceptions and touchdowns, but digging deeper into where he was throwing the ball, how far, and to whom. Before we dive in, the assumption is that the years 2008 – 2010 were the golden era to date for Rivers. While 2011 – 2012…ehhh not so much.
Premise: Throws over the middle have worked in the past
While the Chargers don’t throw the ball over the middle a lot, over the last 4 years these throws have made up roughly 13% of Rivers total yardage. The more glaring stat is the success in which they’ve made such throws. From 2008 – 2010, throws over the middle averaged 10.29 yards. In 2011 – 2012 they averaged just 6.92 yards. Rivers success has also been affected. His quarterback rating on these throws from 2008 – 2010 ranged from a low of 94.1 to a high of 140.9 on an average of 66 throws. Over the last two years, the QB rating dropped to 85.7 in 2011 and just 68.7 last year on an average of 65 attempts.
Analysis: Who here thought Eddie Royal was going to be a middle of the field threat? I know I did. Clearly this was something that worked in the past. Whether it was weapons or play calling, something wasn’t working over the middle the past two years. How many times do I have to watch Tony Gonzalez run a 10 yard hook and think, yep…Gates can do that.
A lot of people talked about the lack of a deep threat really hurting the Chargers last year. That losing Vincent Jackson was going to really hurt the Chargers. Without a deep threat, maybe those underneath throws have become all too predictable. But in reality, throws under 10 yards have always made up the majority of the Chargers offense.
Premise: Rivers deep ball isn’t the best throw he makes
In reality roughly 35-40% of Rivers yardage comes from throws under 10 yards. In both 2009 Rivers threw 233 passes under 10 yards and had a QB rating of 109.4. In fact the further down the field he threw it, the worse his QB rating got. In 2011 and 2012, throws under 10 yards were Philips’ worst. He threw a combined 12 interceptions (he threw 6 on all throws in 2008) on throws less than 10 yards and had QB ratings of 83.8 and 84.8 respectively. Now you may be thinking well that’s because he didn’t have a deep threat. In actuality, in ’11 and ’12 Rivers best throws were 11-20 yards. The semi-deep ball was working.
Analysis: The loss of VJ definitely hurt and that was well known. But there’s much more to it than that. It seems in 2010 when the Chargers had a lot of moving parts due to injury, they kept it simple and found success doing just that.
There are of course countless stats we can analyze. But when we point to what has happened to Philip Rivers, there are contributing factors to the decline in stats.
Losing Tomlinson – He was a double threat. Both running and receiving. Hard to replace a Hall of Famer
Losing Vincent Jackson – He takes the top off a defense, opens up everything underneath
Losing Sproles – This is the underneath guy that absolutely made things happen
Losing Dielman and McNeil – This can’t be understated. Two Pro Bowl lineman in one year and you see Rivers get sacked 49 times
Antonio Gates Health – Probably the biggest beneficiary of the throws over the middle. When he’s at his best, not many are better
Playbook – It seems to always takes WRs a while to learn the Norv Turner route tree. This made it hard for young guys to contribute early
A Struggling Running Game – Without the threat of a running game, teams can play Rivers differently
Looking at that list, it’s kind of a bummer. But with all of those things happening, it’s no wonder we’ve seen the decline in stats. It’s also what gives me hope with Mike McCoy. I’m paraphrasing, but hearing him say, what do our players do best, we’re gonna do that. It’s simple, and maybe that’s just what the Chargers and Philip Rivers need.