TAMPA – The Super Bowl is over and now all eyes turn to everyone’s favorite season – free agency. The main question in Tampa Bay is what are the Buccaneers going to do at quarterback? Will they re-sign Jameis Winston? Will they be buyers in what could be an interesting free-agent quarterback market?
With free-agent quarterback Philip Rivers recently leaving the Golden State of California and moving to Florida, speculation has been rampant that Tampa Bay is the next spot for the veteran quarterback.
Here are some pros and cons on why Rivers would or would not be a good fit with the Buccaneers:
Coach Bruce Arians Loves Veteran Quarterbacks
Do the names Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer ring a bell? These are all guys who Arians have worked with and had success. And with Palmer, many would say Arians helped revitalize his career. Under Palmer, Arians set team marks in passing yards, touchdowns and passing ratings.
Rivers is already polished. He has seven straight seasons of at least 4,000 yards passing, is an eight-time Pro Bowler and has played in 11 playoff games. The latter, playoffs, is something the Bucs haven’t been in many years.
Decision Making Can be Questioned
Yes, he has thrown for nearly 60,000 yards and 400 touchdowns. Those are Hall of Fame type numbers. Yet, Rivers has also tossed 198 interceptions and 109 fumbles. What also gives pause is Rivers has been sacked at least 30 times in nine of the last 10 seasons.
Now, we all know interceptions and sacks aren’t always on the quarterback. Receivers run wrong routes, passes are tipped, linemen miss blocks. Things happen. But some of those are because of forced or bad throws and holding onto the ball too long.
Rivers is Superman
Ok, he is not from Krypton and doesn’t wear a cape, but Rivers is extremely durable. The quarterback has started every game in each of the 14 seasons. Through rain, sleet, snow…you get the idea. If there’s a game and Rivers is your quarterback, it’s a good bet he’s going to be lining up under center. In fact, only one quarterback in NFL history has ever had more consecutive starts than Rivers. His name is Ironman Brett Favre.
It’s always comforting to know a team can depend on the most important position player to be there when it’s time to play.
Law of Averages
Rivers is 38-year-old. Now, this is not saying Rivers or anyone can’t perform at that age: i.e., Drew Brees (free agent), Tom Brady (free agent), Peyton Manning (future Hall of Famer). There’s a reason why many quarterbacks aren’t on the consecutive streaks list – no matter how many protections they put in to protect them – it is a hard position to play.
Only eight quarterbacks that began the season started every game in 2019 and only five of those started every game in the last two seasons. For a quarterback that’s hit as much as Rivers, this can’t be overlooked.
Rivers is a Gamer
When you have started and played as many games as Rivers has, there isn’t too much the quarterback has not seen. Corner blitzes? Ha. Zero coverage? Bring it. He has 32 game-winning drives, including 27 fourth-quarter comebacks. That gives hope that you’re never out of the game with Rivers. With the Buccaneers having six losses by a single score, winning half of those gets you into postseason contention.
More than a River
Although Rivers has a winning career record as a starter (123-101), in three of the last five seasons, the Chargers have finished the season with a losing record. Last season, the Chargers lost six of their last seven games, including three straight to end the season. His playoff record is 5-6. Again, football is a team game but other than the head coach, the quarterback gets the most glory and the most blame.
Tampa Bay has a really tough decision ahead. If the team feels it is one quarterback away from making the playoffs, it has to decide how much of an upgrade is Rivers over Winston. You’ve read the pros and cons of Rivers Bucs fans. What should the team do? Who do you want at quarterback?