December 9, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) passes against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. The San Diego Chargers won 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Rankings: No. 19

Every two days, Rishi Pochiraju will reveal a quarterback on his grand list of quarterback rankings. Each quarterback will receive a grade out of 50 – 10 points for each category. See his page for earlier ranked quarterbacks. Up next: number 19.

#19. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

Philip Rivers’ team has missed the playoffs the last three seasons, and his inconsistent play was a major part of why the Chargers have gone home after Week 17. The last three years have been arguably the worst of Rivers’ career, and his team has fallen into a similar fate.

Changes were made this offseason – San Diego brought in former Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy to replace Norv Turner as head coach. The team hopes that this offensive-minded coach, who is possibly best known for how he adapted the offense to fit the skillset of Tim Tebow in 2011, can turn Rivers into what he was in 2009.

The 2009-and-prior Rivers was on the verge of being categorized as an elite quarterback, but never broke into that class of signal callers. All San Diego is hoping for is that Rivers turns back into what he was in 2009. He definitely still has the physical and mental talent to accomplish that.

Physical traits and athleticism

Standing at 6-5, Rivers has excellent size. He stands tall in the pocket and has no trouble seeing over the line of scrimmage, as well as pass rushers – this size helps him make throws in the face of pressure. Rivers is a pocket quarterback who does not run often, but that’s not necessary with his size and the type of quarterback that he is. Grade: 7.5/10

Arm talent

Rivers has a very strong arm which allows him to stretch the field. However, he did not do this last season due to a lack of offensive playmakers and a below-average offensive line. Rivers, though, can make any throw – he can throw deep comeback routes and often puts the ball right on the money on go routes or fades, something that a quarterback of Rivers’ caliber should be able to do. Grade: 8/10


Mechanics can be an issue for the Chargers’ starter at times. Many of his 2012 turnovers were caused by faulty mechanics in the pocket, such as often having a slow wind-up on his throw and not setting his feet in the face of pressure. Rivers is perhaps one of the toughest pocket quarterbacks in the league, but often, the pressure does get to him, and he makes mistakes due to these mechanical issues in the pocket. He does make up for this at times with great accuracy and anticipation on throws, but mechanics are issues Rivers has to fix if he wants to regain his 2009 form. Grade: 7/10

Mental make-up

Rivers is a seasoned NFL veteran, so he’s seen a lot in his years as a starting quarterback. He is able to effectively diagnose blitzes, coverages, or anything else a defense might throw at him. However, he did make some mental mistakes last year – he forced throws which cost his team possession, and perhaps an opportunity to win the game. Grade: 7.5/10


Rivers is known around the NFL as a trash talker, which isn’t necessarily considered a positive attribute. Despite that, he is a leader of his team who many Chargers players support. He commands the huddle and the line of scrimmage, and seems to have a good work ethic off the field. He’s never been in legal trouble, either, which is becoming more and more occurring with NFL players. Grade: 7/10

Overall impression

Philip Rivers is a tough pocket quarterback with favorable physical traits. He’s made errors over the last three seasons that can be corrected, and with the right coaching and scheme, he can possibly revert to his old ways of winning and heavy production of 2009 and before.  Overall Grade: 37/50

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