Indianapolis Colts QB Philip Rivers: Is the old lion a dead duck?

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CLEVELAND, OHIO - OCTOBER 11: Myles Garrett #95 of the Cleveland Browns hits Philip Rivers #17 of the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 11, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - OCTOBER 11: Myles Garrett #95 of the Cleveland Browns hits Philip Rivers #17 of the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 11, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers’ “stock” has plummeted.  Would you sell or buy?

Five games is a valid length of time to evaluate a veteran player. After the Indianapolis Colts’ loss to the Browns, the anti-Philip Rivers murmuring borders on meltdown. These Colts media headlines are in black and white terms:

"Colts HC Frank Reich defending Philip Rivers is inexcusable.Colts made the wrong decision signing Philip RiversPhilip Rivers truly proving he’s only a stopgap quarterback for Indy"

These judgments echo a lot of national chatter, growing the narrative that the old lion is toothless. And there is a reasonable basis for the opinion. And the knives are out.

Should Rivers get the hook now in favor of Jacoby Brissett or rookie Jacob Eason?

Nope! On Philip Rivers stock, I’m putting in a Buy order. I’m picking up all the Rivers’ battered stock for pennies on the dollar. You can say I’m tripping, but you can’t say I’m a fence-sitter.

Five reasons for exercising more wait-and-see on Rivers:

  1. Both local media and a noticeable number of fans were, from the get-go, in support of signing Rivers. He was, after all formerly, the enemy. His last season with the Los Angeles Chargers was infected with interceptions and Andrew Luck’s retirement had not truly healed yet. The good news was often limited to, “Hey, he’s only here for one year.”  I’ll admit to subjectivity if Rivers’ critics acknowledge that subjectivity is a 2-way street.
  2. If Rivers is a big problem, the Colts have two even bigger problems: General Manager Chris Ballard is a terrible judge of player personnel and head coach Frank Reich has let personal friendship cloud his professional judgment. Look me in the eye and tell me you believe Ballard and Reich don’t know their business.
  3. Why are the Rivers-less Chargers 1-4, if Rivers was the issue last season?  Could it be because the Bolts still have two huge issues? A chronically, historically bad O-line, and a defense allowing 25 points per game will not help you win. Yes, the Chargers have injuries, but who doesn’t? Rivers was hardly the problem in LA.
  4. The Colts are down two key receivers and T.Y. Hilton has been mediocre. That situation will change. And once the Colts figure out how to use their stable of tight ends, Rivers will have a much easier time spreading the ball around.
  5. I’ve watched Rivers over his career as a starter. He’s had bad seasons, and many bad patches. He also possesses humility, honesty and the ability to adjust. Also, I’m a huge fan of story in sports. The old gunslinger trying to survive to see another sunset is a powerful narrative. Like old, injured Kirk Gibson hitting a home run in the World Series or Drew Brees and Tom Brady fighting Father Time to keep their teams in the playoffs race.

On top of all this, the Colts still have a lot to iron out on the offensive side of the ball as well as some issues on the defensive end. And they will. Getting a new quarterback without a proper pre-season and training camp doesn’t help. Don’t forget, we only started the second quarter of the season! There’s a ton of time left.

Tell me you wouldn’t be satisfied with a 6-2 record at the midway point.

Now that the Colts know Rivers’ limitations, it’s safe to say they’re going to adjust on both ends of the ball to make this work. And when Rivers is more acclimated and in a more comfortable spot, the results will begin to show.

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