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Philip Rivers MPV

Can Philip Rivers win the NFL MVP?

With a 2-1 record that could easily be 3-0 if not for a tight loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the San Diego Chargers have firmly established themselves as contenders to unseat the Denver Broncos in the AFC West. With impressive victories over the Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills, two teams whose only loss is to the Chargers, quarterback Philip Rivers is playing some of the best football of his outstanding career. Two years after many questioned the long term viability of Rivers as the Chargers quarterback, the Chargers veteran signal caller has established himself as a leading league MVP candidate. In a league where the top quarterback conversation typically involves a top tier of Brady, Manning and Rodgers, Rivers play and leadership has stood out this season.

The season is early, but the Chargers look to have staying power. While the team is sure to contend for a division title and second consecutive playoff berth, Rivers has an opportunity to earn his first NFL MVP.

Here are three reason Philip Rivers is the leader of the pack in the NFL MVP voting.

mvp philip riversHe’s thrived versus tough competition: The Chargers have faced three top five defenses in the first three weeks of the season, with Rivers excelling versus all three opponents. Arizona, Seattle and Buffalo are known for their physical fronts and ability to make it tough on opposing quarterbacks. As he has done his entire career Rivers has shown the toughness and ability to make big throws, even against extreme pressure. Heading into week four Rivers has six touchdowns and just one interception. The Chargers are a battle tested unit who look like they have staying power. The early season tough slate has the Chargers primed and ready to take on the Broncos.

He’s succeeded with a lack of a running game: Rivers has led an impressive offensive performance while the team has struggled running the football. Last week against the Buffalo Bills the team lost running back Danny Woodhead, a week after losing starting running back Ryan Mathews. Even with all the injuries the Chargers offense kept the Bills off balance all day long. It’s testament to the leadership and ability of Rivers to stay in the pocket, often against max pressure, and deliver the football. There are few quarterbacks in NFL history tougher than Rivers, who has made his mark throughout his career by his ability to take massive hits while still putting the football on the money.

Chargers QB philip riversHe’s doing it with less: MVP voters love a new storyline. Last season Peyton Manning was the deserving MVP due to his incredible numbers. Manning is re-writing the record book, behind one of the league’s best offensive line and an offense full of weapons that includes one of the league’s top receivers (Demaryius Thomas), an elite tight end (Julius Thomas) and a future Hall of Famer in the slot (Wes Welker). Not to undermine Manning’s remarkable performance, but he has a tremendous amount of weapons. Rivers, on the other hand, is not blessed with an elite offensive line or a receiving core that rivals what Manning has in Denver. It’s tough to quantify but the overall feeling is that Rivers is doing more with less, often in the face of intense pressure, with the Seattle game being the prime example. During the Seahawks game Rivers showed an incredible ability to evade pressure and fit throws into remarkably tight windows, often in the face of in intense pressure. It was an MVP performance, something Rivers has done time and time again over the past season and half.

It’s early, but right now Philip Rivers might just be this years NFL MVP.

Chris M

Chargers to open the preseason Aug 7th Vs the Dallas Cowboys

Chargers Vs Cowboys TicketsBy all accounts it’s been a good early preseason for the San Diego Chargers. This past Friday they finished their ninth day of training camp with very few injuries. Saturday the team held their annual open to the public fan fest with a record 18,000 fans attending the event at Qualcomm Stadium. Although the 18,000 was dwarfed by the fan attendance for similar events in other NFL cities (67,000 in Green Bay!), the attendance is indicative of the excitement from the fan base and the progress that General Manager Tom Telesco and Head Coach Mike McCoy have made in the last two seasons to rebuild the Chargers franchise. Those attending Saturday got a glimpse of a Chargers team that should contend once again for the playoffs in a touch AFC West due to a solid offseason that saw continued improvement had problematic positions for the club last season, like cornerback.

Qualcomm StadiumThe Chargers open the preseason on Thursday, August 7th when they host the Dallas Cowboys at Qualcomm Stadium. The opener with Dallas, who has one of the most passionate fan bases in the NFL and trains north of Los Angeles, should create a fantastic atmosphere for the opener. The key for the Chargers in the upcoming season is keeping the momentum they finished the year in 2013. The Chargers won their final four regular season games to finish the season 9-7 and then defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round before losing to the Denver Broncos in the Divisional Playoff round. This offseason they improved the overall depth of the roster while keeping the veteran core intact.

Chargers Vs CowboysIt’s unlikely the Chargers face Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo on Thursday night in the preseason opener. After offseason back surgery the veteran Dallas Cowboys quarterback has slowly eased into the preseason, playing in roughly half of the practices. According to the Dallas Morning News the Cowboys plan to sit Romo in the first and last preseason games, limiting his chance for re-injury while giving him further time to recover. Even without Romo the Cowboys will bring a roster full of well known players, including receiver Dez Bryant, tight end Jason Witten and running back Demarco Murray.

Cowboys Vs ChargersFor Chargers the preseason opener will be an opportunity to see some of the new players the Chargers added via the draft and free agency in a game situation for the first time. This includes cornerback Brandon Flowers, a former Pro Bowler, who the Chargers signed after Flowers was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs for salary cap reasons. Flowers will be joined in the Chargers secondary by the Chargers first overall pick, Jason Verrett out of TCU. Verrett is a talented but undersized corner, who should find a home as the Chargers third corner. Offensively the Chargers will have solid cohesiveness heading into this season, with the offensive line and receiving core returning. Malcom Floyd will be back from injury this season and should start alongside Keenan Allen, the best rookie receiver in football last season. Donald Brown, who the Chargers acquired from the Indianapolis Colts in free agency, will give the Chargers quality depth at running back.

Chris M.

Three Things To Watch For This 2014 Chargers Season

With training camp now open the San Diego Chargers enter the upcoming NFL season with big expectations after a surprising wild card berth and visit to the second round of the NFL’s playoffs. The Chargers have stayed consistent with the plan, bolstering the overall depth of the squad at several important positions, especially on the defense. Here are three key things to watch as the Chargers training camp progresses.

Chargers Pass Rush, “The Freeney Factor”: if healthy Dwight Freeney is the rare type of edge rusher that can have a major impact on a defense. The veteran pass-rusher made a return to contract drills as camp started, a good sign that the Chargers will have a healthy Freeney as the season starts. After tearing his quad Freeney made just four starts last season, registering just a half a sack. When healthy he’s one of the best pass rushers in football, but coming off of an injury and at the age of 34 it’s hard to project what the Chargers have in Freeney for the upcoming season. Freeney isn’t the only Charger coming off of a major injury. Melvin Ingram tore his ACL in training camp and missed the majority of the regular season, while Donald Butler missed a handful of games due to a groin injury. If all three players are healthy, as they are currently, the Chargers pass rush should be greatly improved.

 The “other” Wideout: The Chargers struck gold when they drafted Keenan Allen last season. The rookie quickly become the top rookie wideout in football and arguably should have been chosen the NFL’s rookie of the year over Eddie Lacy of the Green Bay Packers. Allen had 71 receptions for over one-thousand yards and 8 touchdowns last season, forming a tremendous partnership with Philip Rivers. The Chargers entered last season with major questions at wide receiver, until Allen stepped up. This year the Chargers again have major questions at wide receiver, beyond the presence of Allen. Malcolm Floyd, returning from injury, is the likely number two starter, with Eddie Royal the best option in the slot and as the third receiver. The nine-year veteran has been a consistent second and third option throughout his career. Royal started the season strong but fell off towards the second half. He’ll be challenged by Vincent Brown and potentially by 7th rounder Tevin Reese. With the presence of a legitimate number one receiver, the Chargers have to feel a lot more comfortable about the position. Like the pass rush though, the big question is whether Floyd and Royal can stay healthy.

 An Elite Group of Defensive Backs?: With acquisition of Brandon Flowers and the draft of Jas Verrett do the Chargers now have an elite group of defensive backs? Elite defenses in the NFL are punctuated by a strong pass rush and good cover cornerbacks. Last season the cornerback position was a weakness for the Chargers. This offseason San Diego greatly upgraded the position through a bit of luck and the drafting of Verrett. When the Kansas City Chiefs cut Brandon Flowers for salary cap reasons the Chargers quickly pounced on the veteran who was motivated to say in the same division as the Chiefs. Flowers has regularly been rated a top ten corner by Pro Football Focus. His veteran presence and confidence could have a domino effect that helps the overall Chargers defense, especially the defensive back group. With Flowers in the fold the Chargers can now play Verrett, a talented cover corner, as a fifth defensive back and slot corner. In a division that includes the Denver Broncos and enhanced secondary is crucial.

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Chris M.

Chargers Add Depth In Free Agency

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San Diego

It’s been a quiet free agency period thus far for the San Diego Chargers when it comes to signing big names. The Chargers have resisted the urge to spend big on free agents, instead adding depth in running back Donald Brown, tight end David Johnson, linebacker Kavell Conner and quarterback Kellen Clemens. The four signings come on top of the Chargers re-signing Donald Butler, Darrell Stuckey and Chad Rhinehart.

Chargers general manager Tom Telesco struck a late night deal on Tuesday to bring in Brown from the Indianapolis Colts. The Chargers GM has familiarity with Brown from his time with the Colts, who drafted Brown with the 27th overall pick in the 2009 draft out of the University of Connecticut. Brown is coming off of the best season of his career in 2013 when he rushed for 537 yards on a 5.3 yard per carry average while catching 27 passes for 214 yards. The former Colt will give the Chargers solid depth in the backfield and a nice alternative to Ryan Mathews, who has battled injuries during his Chargers career. Brown is a sure-handed player with just two career NFL fumbles. Johnson, who played the last four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers is a capable backup who has played fullback as well as tight end. He’s known as a solid blocker who will give the Chargers versatility in the run game as well as an additional option in the passing game. Like in his acquisition of Donald Brown GM Telesco went with familiarity in signing Kavell Conner away from the Colts. Conner is a bit of a reclamation project after not starting a single game with the Indianapolis Colts during the 2013 season. With Donald Butler and Manti Te’o manning the inside linebacker positions the signing of Conner is more of a depth move. Conner is known for his ability to stop the run. Looking to add depth at the quarterback spots the Chargers opted not to re-sign Charlie Whitehurst and signed Kellen Clemens, recently of the St. Louis Rams. Clemens, a former starter with the New York Jets ended up starting a majority of the season in 2013 for the Rams. The former Oregon Duck should be a solid backup for veteran Philip Rivers. Clemens has started 21 games in his NFL career, with an 8-13 record.

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Chargers Raiders

With only $5 million in available salary cap the Chargers were never going to be major players, like the Denver Broncos, in free agency this offseason. Instead Telesco has wisely added some depth players while holding on to some key contributors who were free agent eligible. The Chargers re-signed Donald Butler and special teams ace Darrell Stuckey. They also locked up Chad Rhinehart to a two-year contract, providing stability on the offensive line. Telesco also was able to get wide receiver Eddie Royal and linebacker Jarret Johnson to re-structure their contracts, giving the team additional flexibility. The key now is success in the draft, like in 2013 where three key starters were found in the first three picks.

The Chargers moves may not match the Super Bowl or bust attitude in Denver, but GM Telesco is wisely maintaining his depth and core while emphasizing continued growth through the upcoming draft. They may not compete with the Broncos for the top of the division but the Chargers should be solid wild card contributors once again.

Barry’s Tickets stocks Chargers Tickets for all home games at Qualcomm Stadium with no service fees or hidden charges.Chris Michaels

Chargers Pull Off Miracle Against Chiefs

SD Chargers

Chargers

Just when it looked like the San Diego Chargers would suffer a disappointing loss to a Chiefs team without quarterback Alex Smith the Chargers overcame a ten point fourth quarter deficit to win the game and make the playoffs in Mike McCoy’s first year as the team’s head coach. After Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop missed a field goal that would have won the game for Kansas City in regulation Chargers kicker Nick Novak nailed a game winning field goal in overtime. The Chargers moved the ball into field goal range after a gutsy fourth down fake punt call. Eric Weddle gained the fourth down for San Diego on the fake, extending the Chargers eventual game-winning drive. The Chargers were able to clinch a playoff spot after both Baltimore and Miami lost games that could have clinched them a playoff spot. The Chargers, one of three teams to make the playoffs from the AFC West, will travel to Cincinnati next weekend to take on the AFC North winning Bengals. Chargers Tickets for the all road playoff games are available now.

SD Charger Fans

Charger Fans

Where the game was won: The Chargers, who many counted out just a few weeks ago, had a tougher than expected time overcoming a game Kansas City team. The Chiefs were playing without their quarterback Alex Smith and star running back Jamal Charles. Chase Daniel, the former Missouri Tigers star, put together a solid game for Kansas City, leading them to an eventual ten point fourth quarter lead. The Chiefs defense held tight and scored the game’s only third quarter points on a Succop field goal to make the score 24-14. Down ten Philip Rivers and the Chargers pulled within a touchdown on an Eddie Royal six yard TD catch. The Chargers would score again on a Nick Novak field goal with just over three minutes left to tie the game. Succop’s miss would send the game to overtime where the Chargers prevailed.

Bengals Fan

Bengals Fans

Up next for the Chargers: The Chargers travel to Cincinnati to take on a physical Bengals team that defeated San Diego 17-10 in San Diego just a month ago. The Bengals have one of the most talented young rosters in the NFL, led by quarterback Andy Dalton, wide receiver AJ Green and running back Giovani Bernard. The Bengals held San Diego to a season-low in points in their last meeting, stymieing the running game while overcoming the Chargers with a solid running game. The combination of BenJarvus Green Ellis and Bernard gained 164 yards on 34 attempts. To defeat the Bengals on the road the Chargers will need to control the Bengals running game while not giving up any turnovers to Cincinnati. If San Diego can hold onto the football and play their usual ball control offense they can force Andy Dalton to beat them.

The Chargers pull the upset behind a solid performance by Rivers. The Chargers quarterback and running back Ryan Mathews lead a ball control offense that keeps the ball out of the hands of Bengals star receiver AJ Green. 24-23 Bengals. By:Chris Michaels.

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Is Mike McCoy the Right Coach for the San Diego Chargers?

At the end of the 2012-13 NFL Football season the San Diego Chargers decided to part ways with Norv Turner. The relationship with Turner and the Chargers fan base had been severed as many felt as if Turner walked into a very talented team left behind by Marty Schottenheimer. Schottenheimer was fired after winning 14 games and being one game away from the AFC Championship game. During the first few seasons Turner was in San Diego the Chargers won the division and went to the playoffs. As years moved on Turner saw his record get progressively worse and the Chargers ended up missing the playoffs for several years in a row. When Turner was let go many Chargers fans were left wondering what the front office of the Chargers would do. That question was answered very quickly when they hired the offensive coordinator from the Denver Broncos, Mike McCoy. Today, many Chargers fans are left wondering if this is the right coach for the job.

Mike McCoy’s Background

Mike McCoy has been an offensive guy since becoming a coach. He spent many years with the Carolina Panthers with Jake Delhomme before moving to the Denver Broncos. Interestingly, prior to one season with Peyton Manning most would agree that the Denver Broncos did not have the best offense in the AFC. Some would argue the Denver offense was downright bad. So much so that they had to start Tim Tebow at quarterback and win games with their defense. Even though this was the case the San Diego Chargers felt as if he was the man for the job.

AJ Smith was the general manager for the San Diego Chargers through the rise and fall over the last decade. Many felt as if AJ was way too controlling of the team. When he interviewed a coach that wanted to control a certain part of the organization AJ went another way. In fact, he was actually nicknamed the “Lord of No Rings” because he was able to spot amazing talent such as Antonio Gates and Philip Rivers but he was never able to put a full team and coach staff together that could win a Super Bowl. After the Norv Turner debacle the San Diego Chargers let AJ Smith go as well.

The fact that AJ Smith would not be doing the interviewing for the new San Diego Chargers head coach position made many feel as if they would go out and get a coach that wanted to control certain aspects of the team. A common name that kept coming up was Jon Gruden. When all was said and done they went with Mike McCoy who does not seem like a coach that wants to run the entire organization. We are still waiting to see if this is good or bad. I personally feel as if the San Diego Chargers need a more controlling coach like Bill Parcells or Jon Gruden. The Chargers have had a very weak team over the last few years. There is not much intensity and they tend to get pushed around. Some people relate this to the overall atmosphere of the city of San Diego and the fans. I have been to several games in San Diego and the fans are not the best. They have other options like plenty of beaches and golf. To get Qualcomm Stadium full during any game on Sunday there has to be some fans from the away team in attendance. This filters through to the organization and some of the players on the field. This is not the atmosphere that Pittsburgh or Green Bay has when it comes to the NFL team in each town.

Mike McCoy did not start his coaching career with a team that had a strong football history. The Carolina Panthers were a newer organization and fans in Charlotte were still learning about the team. The Denver Broncos have a much stronger football tradition as they won Super Bowl championships with John Elway. It will be interesting to see how Mike McCoy tries to change the culture of the San Diego Chargers. Interestingly, Philip Rivers is a very emotional guy that has a passion for the game of football. Even when I was in college I could see Philip change the atmosphere of a team that was not known for winning. I have quite a bit of knowledge about Mr. Rivers as we were very good friends at NC State in the early 2000s.

Mike McCoy and Philip Rivers

Philip Rivers is one of the most emotional quarterbacks in the NFL. In fact, some would argue that his emotions sometimes get the best of him. While at NC State from 2000-2004 ACC fans knew that Philip was going to talk the talk but, most of the time, he backed it up. He holds many ACC passing records and still holds the most touchdowns in a career at NC State and in the ACC. During his first two years in the NFL he sat behind Drew Brees and learned from watching. As soon as he got a chance to start he was immediately successful. He went to the playoffs his first few seasons in the NFL and he was throwing for 300 yards a game what seemed like every game. His first season as a starter the Chargers went 14-2 and won the AFC West division.

Unfortunately, after that season Marty Schottenheimer was let go. Not only was Schottenheimer let go but offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was let go as well. The Chargers brought in another offensive mind as head coach in Norv Turner. During Turner’s first few years in San Diego Philip Rivers thrived. He made the Pro Bowl and led the NFL in passing yards. Unfortunately, the San Diego Chargers front office let many of his favorite wide receiver targets go. It was also the case that the Chargers running game disappeared as LaDainian Tomlinson was getting old. This allowed defenses to focus on Philip Rivers and his stats started to suffer. He threw way too many interceptions and the Chargers found a way to lose games in the 4th quarter. This was the main reason Norv Turner was let go and Mike McCoy was brought in.

Some have wondered if Mike McCoy would help Philip Rivers get his confidence back. Through the first few weeks of he NFL season Philip Rivers has played much better but the Chargers are coming up just short when it comes to winning games. In all the early season games the Chargers have had a chance to win in the 4th quarter but they have only been victorious versus the Philadelphia Eagles. In all reality, the Chargers were better than the Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans but they did not get the wins. Philip Rivers is not throwing as many interceptions and he is back to his old self when it comes to throwing for 300 or 400 yards a game. This is interesting because the Chargers still do not have a dominant wide receiver in which Rivers can go to in a crucial situation.

The Chargers Playoff Chances

Unfortunately, the San Diego Chargers are in the same division as Peyton Manning. When Peyton Manning came to the Denver Broncos most Chargers fans knew it was going to be tough to win the AFC West. The Broncos offense looks amazing this year and they are already a few games ahead of the Chargers. Unless the Chargers start winning these close games or Peyton Manning has his arm fall off it is unlikely the Chargers are going to win the AFC West in the 2013-14 season. Most San Diego Chargers fans do not expect this team to win the Super Bowl this season. That said, they would like to see this team improve and not lose games in which they are more talented than the other team.

Once of the big arguments against Norv Turner was that he lost games in which the Chargers had better players than the opponents. He was also known for losing games early in the season and having to go on long winning streaks at the end of the season just to have a winning record. While the Chargers have not started the season great in 2013 they are still playing better than they did under Norv Turner at the outset of the season. Having been a Chargers fan long enough I have become accustomed to the Chargers playing very bad at the beginning of the season and putting themselves in a terrible position.

I have also noticed that the Chargers are not turning the ball over as much this year. Philip Rivers threw way too many interceptions in the past two years and the running backs often fumbled in key situations. If the Chargers can play fundamental football and live up to their potential Mike McCoy might be just the right guy for the coaching job.