Are we finally starting to see a decline in two of the heralded 1st round QB class of 2004 (yes, I know J.P. Losman was picked too)? Big Ben, Eli, and Phillip were all drafted in the first round that season and they all became a part of the history of the NFL from the moment they took over their teams. Roethlisberger has hinted at retirement recently, but he’s still playing at a high level. Rivers and Manning are not.
Pro Football Focus had Manning listed outside of the top 10 in quarterbacks in 2016 and have noted his marked decline yearly over the last few seasons. This season, the Giants were looking to contend for a Super Bowl, instead they are 0-4 and everyone is pointing fingers everywhere but Manning. Manning is the 16th rated passer in the league in passing rating, but his struggles are masked by his high completion percentage. Manning is near the bottom in passing yards per attempt and only has 6 touchdown passes with 4 interceptions. A lack of a running game and offensive line issues have certainly hampered the Giants this year, but a decline in Manning’s skills has also contributed. Like the Chargers in LA, don’t be surprised if the Giants start looking elsewhere at quarterback this next off-season.
Phillip Rivers, although without a Super Bowl title, has been a stellar quarterback through the years and he constantly kept the Chargers a contending relevant team with guile and toughness. Anyone who’s watched Rivers play over the last decade can clearly see a slowdown in his game with the naked eye. His passing rating is near the bottom of the list for NFL QB’s, with 6 touchdowns and 4 interceptions too. The Chargers have consistently put flawed teams together, with less than stellar coaching also, but Rivers would fling the ball around and beat teams with clutch throws and killer drives. The stats don’t really tell the story for Rivers, who looks slower now and his teams aren’t winning the close games anymore. In LA now, the Chargers look like they will have another losing season. They’ve lost 4 games this season and lost the last 5 games of the year in 2016. You have to wonder how much longer Rivers is going to take all the losing, plus there is an exciting new QB in town that’s getting all the buzz in the LA now, Jared Goff.
I’m hoping we’re not near the end for Eli and Phillip, but it starting to look like it now. Time marches on.