Old Face, New Place: Can Philip Rivers Thrive In Indianapolis?


by Ray Kuhn

To say that it is going to be strange seeing Philip Rivers in a uniform without a lightning bolt will be an understatement. The 38-year old had spent his entire career with the Chargers, but there was a divorce this off-season and the quarterback will now be calling Indianapolis home. While it is clear that Rivers has lost a step from the prime of his career, he still has plenty left to offer. So what can we expect for 2020?

Even though he will be donning a new uniform, one of the biggest obstacles in play has already been overcome. There will be some level of adjustment since it is a new organization, a new offensive line and new receivers, but the coaching staff and playbook won’t be entirely new.

For two seasons, quite successful ones in fact (2014 and 2015), Rivers played under both his new head coach (Frank Reich was the offensive coordinator in San Diego) and offensive coordinator (Nick Sirianni was the quarterback coach). Sirianni was also on the Chargers staff for 2016 and 2017. According to Reich, the result of this, is that Rivers will have roughly 80-85% of the playbook down. Under normal circumstances there is a clear benefit to that, but with the current situation and the uncertainty surrounding the off-season it cannot be understated.

Last season Rivers did throw for 4,615 yards, but his touchdown total dropped to 23 while his interceptions rose to 20. When he played under Reich, it was also the prime of his career, Rivers had perhaps his best stretch with an average of 4,539 yards, 30 TD and 16 INT.

For the most part there isn’t much about Rivers that has changed, and 7 INT came over the course of two weeks last seasons. At this point in his career there clearly isn’t any upside, but there is no reason why he can’t throw for another 4,000 yards. In fact, there is only one season in Rivers’ career in which he threw for less than 4,286 yards.

We do have to keep in mind that he isn’t going to pick up any rushing yards, but there is still value in a quarterback passing for 4,000 yards. With an ADP of 120 as the 24th signal caller coming off the board, Rivers is essentially free. As a second quarterback you can do a lot worse, and there is some value in him this season as long as you don’t have to rely on him.

Make sure to check out all of our 2020 prospect rankings:

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PositionLast Updated
First Baseman--
Second Baseman04/15/20
Third Baseman04/20/20


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