Although they did extensive work scouting this year’s quarterback class, one of the reasons the Los Angeles Chargers did not draft a young signal-caller is that they believe Philip Rivers has a lot of gas left in the tank.
Rivers turns 36 in December but has not missed a start in over a decade, with 176 straight.
“Philip wants to play forever and that’s what you want in a quarterback,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said during an appearance on ‘The Jim Rome Show.’ “I’m always leery of these guys that tell me I think I’m going to play another year or two. I want the ones you got to push out, you got to run off. Those are the ones that love football and can’t get enough, and that’s how Philip is.”
Lynn added that Rivers has lost 10 pounds working in his team’s offseason conditioning program led by new strength coach John Lott.
“He looks rejuvenated,” Lynn said. “He’s got a little zip on the ball. He can have three or four more productive years easily in my mind.”
I asked Lynn after last week’s draft why the Chargers passed on selecting a quarterback, and he said the team did not want to reach at that position.
“We definitely think Philip can still play,” Lynn said. “Whoever we drafted was going to have to come in and sit for a while because I think Philip is going to continue to play at a high level.
“If a quarterback had been there that we felt really good about, then yeah, we evaluate that position like we do the other 21 spots and very easily could have taken a young quarterback, and brought him on to develop him. But we weren’t going to reach. We definitely weren’t going to do that. And we feel good about the guys we have as well.”
So for now, the Chargers will go with a quarterback group that includes veterans in Rivers and Kellen Clemens, along with developmental prospects in Mike Bercovici and Eli Jenkins.
One thing the Chargers did to make Rivers’ job easier is draft a playmaking receiver in Mike Williams in the first round. They also picked up three offensive linemen in Forrest Lamp, Dan Feeney and Sam Tevi.
Lynn said Williams provides another matchup issue for opposing defenses.
“Philip, being a veteran guy, he likes matchups, and that’s what this game is all about, is matchups,” Lynn told Rome. “Philip can read a defense, and I believe he can deliver the ball in places where it’s supposed to go, and take advantage of those matchups. Se we have another weapon, and hopefully another matchup issue for the defense.”