INDIANAPOLIS – Without the familiarity, it’s quite possible Philip Rivers to the Colts never happens.
Frank Reich, and Nick Sirianni, have plenty of hands-on experience working with Rivers.
For three seasons (2013-15), the now heads of the Colts offense were right there with Rivers.
In 2013, it was Reich at quarterbacks coach of the Chargers, and Sirianni with the title of offensive quality control.
Then for the 2014 and 2015 seasons, Reich was promoted to offensive coordinator, and Sirianni was elevated to quarterbacks coach.
Here’s a look at what Rivers did with Reich/Sirianni, with the career ranking in parenthesis based off Rivers’ 14 years of starting:
- 2013 (9-7): 69.5 percent (1st), 4,478 yards (6th), 32 TDs (3rd), 11 INTs (4th), 8.2 yards per attempt (5th), 105.5 rating (4th)
- 2014 (9-7): 66.5 percent (3rd), 4,286 yards (9th), 31 TDs (5th), 18 INTs (11th), 7.5 yards per attempt (10th), 93.8 rating (8th)
- 2015 (4-12): 66.1 percent (4th), 4,792 yards (1st), 29 TDs (7th), 13 INTs (7th), 7.2 yards per attempt (12th), 93.8 rating (8th)
What are some of the takeaways?
What you saw with Rivers under the Indy duo was a consistently accurate quarterback, who had a very nice Pro Bowl season in 2013 (only 1 of Rivers’ 7 Pro Bowl years came from 2013-15).
The efficiency and key YPA metric of Rivers tapered off a bit in 2014-15, with Reich (OC) and Sirianni (QB coach) having been promoted in those years. At the time, Rivers’ 18 interceptions in 2014 were a career-high.
Honestly, it’s hard to make any grand assumptions about those numbers and applying it directly to Rivers and the Colts in 2020.
Sure, the playbook hasn’t changed much, but the personnel will look a lot different in Indy (with possibly a limited offseason of work lying ahead) and Rivers is now a handful of years older.
For the most part, things in San Diego with the trio of Rivers/Reich/Sirianni were slightly better than the median, when comparing it the rest of the QB’s career.
Clearly, the most consistent aspect was Rivers’ notable completion percentage, while still maintaining a relatively high yards per attempt. It’s accuracy like that in which the Colts were missing in 2019.
One thing that you can’t see with those numbers, but Reich has made clear, is the brilliant mind Rivers has under center.
“I knew he was an elite passer, but I didn’t realize this was one of the smartest football guys in NFL, bar none,” Reich told Dan Pompei back when he was Rivers’ offensive coordinator. “If there is a top 10 list of smartest guys in the league, he’s on it, promise you…He just sees it faster than anybody else.”
Seeing things faster, and acting upon it, was something that Sirianni and Reich wanted to see more from Jacoby Brissett.
If that occurs in 2020 will the Colts be able to get their passing offense back to a more efficient, consistent and productive attack?