As we near the start of training camp on July 30, we’ll preview each position for the San Diego Chargers. We begin with a look at the quarterbacks.
*Philip Rivers – *One of the greatest players in Chargers history, Rivers is firmly entrenched as the starting quarterback as he enters his 13th NFL season. He was voted the Bolts MVP for the seventh season a year ago as he threw for 4,792 passing yards, the second-most in the NFL and the second-most in a season in team history. He came within 10 yards of matching Dan Fouts’ 1981 franchise record of 4,802 yards. Rivers enters this season as San Diego’s all-time leader in regular-season wins (92), consecutive starts (160), completions (3,462), completion percentage (64.8), touchdown passes (281) and passer rating (95.5). He is on pace to pass Fouts to capture the franchise’s all-time marks in pass attempts and passing yards midway through 2016.
*Kellen Clemens – *An 11-year NFL vet, this season marks Clemens’ third in San Diego. Initially a second-round pick of the New York Jets in 2006, he also played for the Redskins, Rams and Texans. Clemens has completed 344 of 629 career attempts for 4,017 yards and 16 touchdowns, including 21 starts. However, he has spent most of his time with the Bolts as a top confidant for Rivers, seeing mop up duty in four games over two seasons.
*Zach Mettenberger – *The Chargers added Mettenberger off waivers in May, and in the process added a young, powerful arm into the quarterback competition. The 6-5, 224-pounder was initially a sixth-round pick by the Tennessee Titans in 2014, and threw for 2,347 yards and 12 touchdowns with a 75.4 QB rating in 14 games. He reunites with his former head coach in Ken Whisenhunt, who once again serves as the Bolts’ offensive coordinator in 2016.
Mike Bercovici – Bercovici agreed to join the Bolts mere hours after going undrafted in the 2016 NFL draft. He left Arizona State after accumulating 5,333 passing yards, 418 rushing yards 42 touchdowns and a 137.9 passer rating. Bercovici threw 30 touchdown passes in 2015, which tied for most in a single season in school history.
<u>We're Keeping Our Eye On…</u>
*Ricky Henne: *It feels weird to say, but Philip Rivers is not even among the top two quarterbacks I’m eager to watch at training camp. Of course I’ll keep my eye on how number 17 performs, especially the manner in which he builds chemistry with new weapons such as Travis Benjamin and Hunter Henry. I’m most fascinated to watch Kellen Clemens and Zach Mettenberger as they battle for the backup QB role in 2016. The Bolts have only kept two quarterbacks on the active roster the past two seasons along with a third on the practice squad. However, in 2013, Head Coach Mike McCoy and Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt kept three on the active roster. Whether both Clemens and Mettenberger make the active roster, or if one of them earns the spot while rookie Mike Bercovici sticks on the practice squad (or even makes a case for the 53 man roster) is what I will keep my eye on throughout training camp.
*Hayley Elwood: * Undrafted rookie free agents are always fun to watch during camp so I’m looking forward to seeing Mike Bercovici compete in the quarterbacks group. When we last spoke, he said his biggest challenge was going to be learning the playbook, so it’ll be intriguing to see his progression from spring to now. Having thrown for over 5,000-yards during his career at ASU and scoring 30 touchdown passes in 2015 alone, it’ll be interesting to see how his skills translate to the professional level.
Philip Rivers Through the Years
Top photos of Philip Rivers through the years from NC State to today.