Instead of pointing out the fact that I was right about several things in my column last week – like Ryan Mathews’ rookie learning curve, the Chiefs being dangerous, just how much the team was going to miss the veterans they lost this summer or the fact that the Chargers are not the 13-14 win team that people thought they were (I’m done I promise) – I wanted to take a look at the on-field emotions of Philip Rivers.
First off, I’ll be the first to defend Rivers’ character and demeanor off the field. He is a fantastic family man and has been kind, calm and collected every time I’ve interviewed him.
On the field, well that’s a different story.
All you have to do to find out what a guys is like on the field is listen to his opponents talk about him. Countless defenses – and a few other quarterbacks – have openly called Rivers a jerk on the field who lets his emotions get the best of him.
But talk to his teammates and you’ll get a completely different story. Terms like leader and field general will be thrown around to describe the very same player that the opposition loves to hate.
So how can there be two such opposing views on the same player? The answer lies in the on-field displays that the Chargers signal caller puts on just about every week.
Many players enjoy jawing at each other from time to time after one manages to beat his opponent on a certain play, or if one team jumps ahead of their rival. But Rivers seems to be an equal opportunity trash talker and all out trouble causer at times. It does not matter if you play in the AFC West or the CFL, if you are playing against Rivers, you are going to hear from him.
All of this is well and good. But every now and then, there will be an emotional outburst that seems to greatly affect the team.
A prime example of this may have happened on Monday night. With the team already struggling with communication and continuity, Rivers’ and the offense suffered a delay of game penalty. After the ball was snapped and the referee blew his whistle, Rivers frustratingly dropped the ball on the ground and kicked it back towards the line of scrimmage.
After doing this, Rivers was seen laying into – or “encouraging them” depending on what camp you listen to – every offensive player around him.
While there were many other factors at play in the Chargers loss to the Chiefs, it will be important to note how the team manages adversity in games after losing two key team leaders this offseason in LaDainian Tomlinson and Kassim Osgood.
Form your own point of view about what you think of Rivers’ emotions on the field. Don’t believe what you hear showing up in print from anyone in the Chargers organization. There will never be an ill word spoken about San Diego’s $90 million man because football locker rooms are too tight knit for fractures to reach the surface.
Like everything else in life, Rivers’ emotions are a double-edged sword. While many fans will love the passion when the team is rolling, you have to be wary of the outburst that may be looking around the corner.
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