The Indianapolis Colts have a lot riding on the 2020 season, especially after bringing in veteran Philip Rivers to be the one to lead the offense from under center.
Coming off of a down year, there are many questioning whether Rivers is done or whether he just had a poor season. He is, after all, two seasons removed from arguably his best season in 2018.
In ranking the quarterbacks of the NFL into tiers, Rivers found himself at No. 13 in the second tier, per Mike Sando of The Athletic.
Tier 1 votes: 1 | Tier 2 votes: 27 | Tier 3 votes: 19 | Tier 4 votes: 3 | 2019 Tier: 1
Rivers was the only quarterback in the survey to receive at least one vote in each of the top four tiers. That was probably fitting as voters tried to figure out what a poor final season with the Chargers meant now that Rivers is starting fresh with the Colts at age 38. His average tier vote plummeted from 1.40 last year to 2.48 this time, the largest drop for any quarterback in the survey.
“He needed to get out of there,” a former head coach said of Rivers leaving the Chargers. “It is like Brady, but the opposite. Brady wanted freedom. Rivers needs to be reeled in and be accountable. When it goes bad, he can’t just say, ‘Shit happens to the best of them.’ He makes questionable decisions when things get tight or when he’s pressured, just trying to make something happen. Being in a new situation and being accountable to everybody will help him get back to that status.”
That is the hope for the Colts after Rivers tossed 20 interceptions last season, the third time in his career he has thrown at least that many in a season.
“Rivers had a bad year and that happens with him every once in a while,” an offensive coach said. “I think he’s still a two and he could be a one with the Colts if their line is good.”
Some are excited to see Rivers in a better organization. Others think he might be finished. A secondary coach who faced Rivers last season thought the quarterback was “losing it” and could no longer make throws consistently down the field. A defensive coordinator called Rivers a “low-end three, borderline four” who is at the end, noting that Rivers has gone from lacking mobility to not even being able to slide effectively in the pocket.
“I think he has a chance to be pretty good in Indy in the dome with a good line, because he can still throw when he has time,” a GM countered. “I think a lot was weighing on him last year and the team moved and the writing was on the wall they were going in a different direction. I would be surprised if this year he doesn’t come back and say, ‘Don’t write me off yet, I can still do this.’ ”
Rivers has a lot to prove after tossing 20 interceptions in 2019, but the Colts are confident him reuniting with head coach Frank Reich will lead to offensive success in 2020.