Rookie Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn is excited to be working with veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, who “wants to play forever.”
“Philip wants to play forever and that’s what you want in a quarterback,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn told “The Jim Rome Show.” (h/t Eric D. Williams of ESPN) “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.”
Though Rivers is going to turn 36 during the 2017 NFL season, Lynn sees the quarterback as a guy who could play into his 40s. This could be aided by the fact that Rivers has lost 10 pounds this offseason.
“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.”
No doubt, the Chargers are banking on Rivers to continue playing for at least a few more years. Their 2017 NFL Draft strategy reflects this, as they invested the No. 7 overall pick in receiver Mike Williams out of Clemson and took two of the top offensive linemen, guards Forrest Lamp out of Western Kentucky and Dan Feeney out of Indiana.
Before the draft, there was quite a bit of chatter that Los Angeles might draft Rivers’ eventual replacement. In the end, nary a quarterback was selected by the Chargers, who don’t really have another viable option on their roster at this time.
Lynn explained the team’s logic behind standing pat.
“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.”
Rivers had a brutal 2016 campaign that saw him lead the NFL in interceptions (21) and post his worst completion percentage since 2007. He was also sacked 36 times, which likely has everything to do with the team investing so much draft capital into its offensive line.
Time will tell if Rivers can go the way of Drew Brees and Tom Brady and continue playing at a high level into his late-30s. One thing we know for certain is the Chargers are depending on him to do just that.