Sports Outside the Beltway

Philip Rivers Era Begins in San Diego

Like it or not, the starting job is now Philip Rivers’.

Monday marked a milestone in Philip Rivers’ NFL career, even if it was just glorified touch football. Rivers was finally in charge after two years as a bench warmer, leading the San Diego Chargers through their first workout since he became the starting quarterback.

“I’ve been kind of eager for this day to get here just to get back out on the field knowing the last organized play I ran left a bad taste in my mouth,” Rivers said after the first of 14 “voluntary” offseason workouts, conducted in shorts, jerseys and helmets. “I thought it was a good first day for all of us. The tempo was good, the attitude was great and we threw the ball around pretty good,” Rivers said.

The last time Rivers was under center he was mopping up for Drew Brees, who was hurt in a loss to Denver in a meaningless season finale. Brees needed surgery for a dislocated throwing shoulder, became damaged goods in the eyes of the Chargers and was allowed to leave as a free agent, signing with the New Orleans Saints.

After making an NCAA-record 51 starts at North Carolina State, Rivers sat behind Brees the last two years. Rivers appeared in four games, with zero starts. Being No. 1 on the depth chart “feels a little different,” Rivers said. “These last two years, a part of me was missing a little bit because you had to take a little bit of a back seat, and rightly so, in certain areas.”

The Chargers screwed up big time by giving up on Drew Brees and drafting another QB so soon. They really had no choice, given the economics, to let Brees leave town this offseason and hand the job to Rivers. Time will tell whether that was a second mistake.

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