LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles Chargers sometimes feel like a forgotten team, both in their division and in their hometown. They spent the 2018 season in the shadow of their AFC rival Kansas City Chiefs, with second-year sensation Patrick Mahomes, and their crosstown rival Los Angeles Rams, who would eventually lose in the Super Bowl.
But the Chargers are a preseason favorite to make another playoff run, and that optimism starts under center, with veteran quarterback Philip Rivers. The 37-year-old QB is coming off another solid campaign in a what’s been a Hall of Fame career. His stats — from completion percentage (68.3%) to yards (4,308) to touchdowns (32) — compare favorably to other seasons and other quarterbacks last season.
As NFL On CBS analyst Trent Green, himself a former NFL quarterback, sees it, “He’s in a really good place.”
“He’s re-energized. He was re-energized a year ago. He’s got a great receiving core around him, incredible running game, if they can get him [Melvin Gordon] signed…”
The Chargers offense features a full complement of weapons. Wide receiver Keenan Allen hauled in 97 catches last season and Mike Williams grabbed another 43, including 10 for TDs. Athletic tight end Hunter Henry returns after missing most of the 2018 season with a torn ACL. Running back Melvin Gordon remains a holdout going into the final preseason game, but many expect his return before the first game.
Rivers has always excelled at making split-second decisions and putting the ball in the hands of his play-makers. Green sees it much the same way. “With the balance they have on offense, and some of the shorter throws, and statistically, from a touchdown/interception ratio [standpoint], he’s in a good place right now. I’m excited to see what he does.”
The AFC won’t be a cakewalk… far from it. But matching their 12-4 record from 2018 certainly seems doable. In Green’s view, “a lot of people are predicting them… if somebody’s going to bump off the Chiefs, that’s going to be the team to do it.”