By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG
The Los Angeles Chargers have had the same leader for 16 years. No, I’m not talking about the head coach, because we all know that there have been many changes in that area. I’m talking about quarterback Philip Rivers. With Rivers, 38, having an inconsistent and rough season, and the Chargers starting a new era in a new stadium in 2020, is it time for the team to see what they have in back up QB Tyrod Taylor?
There have been a bunch of articles this week regarding Rivers. Is week 17 his last game in a Chargers uniform? Will he continue to play? Rivers is a probable future Hall of Fame QB, and while no one should downplay that, we are coming up on a changing of the guard in the NFL. The star QBs of old, Rivers, Brees, Brady, Roethlisberger, etc, are aging, and with that, we are seeing a surge of new, young QBs taking their place.
Enter in Tyrod Taylor. Taylor, 30, has bounced around a couple of teams in the league. He was the back up for Joe Flacco in Baltimore for 4 years, then moving to a starting position in Buffalo for 3 years, and spent 1 season in Cleveland. Last offseason, the Chargers picked him up to be back up to Rivers.
Taylor has proven he can be a starter in this league. During his years in Buffalo, he had an average QB rating of 92, threw for 3,000 yards a season, and had one of the lowest turnover percentages in the league. He took the Bills to their first playoff game in 20 years.
However, it’s not just the stats that should make fans curious about what he could do. Taylor comes from the same mold as the new, younger QBs in the league. His athleticism would allow the Chargers offense to open up with an entirely new plan. Much like Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, and Lamar Jackson, Taylor can use his legs to extend plays, frustrate defenses, and turn himself into a running back when needed. It would allow head coach Anthony Lynn to expand the offense and use the run game more to his advantage.
There is also one more factor to consider. The last thing the Los Angeles Chargers need right now is for fan support to get even lower than it already is. It has been well documented that at the Chargers home games, the fans that show up are more than 50% away fans. With the new stadium nearing completion, expected to be ready by the 2020 season, the Chargers need to find a way to fill it on game day.
Unfortunately for Rivers, he represents the “old” Chargers…the San Diego Chargers. The team needs a rebrand and having a new quarterback under center would be a good start. Now some may think it would be best to start with a rookie fresh out of college, and that is a definite possibility. Yet Taylor has proven he can win, which takes away some of that uncertainty a rookie can bring.
Philip Rivers will forever be respected in this league, and he has stated that he is not ready to quit playing just yet. But for the Chargers, I think it’s time to move on and see what Taylor can do, and I think they should start in Week 17.
Follow Dayna on Twitter // @DaynaOG