Positional Analysis: QBs

QB Charlie Whitehurst (USA TODAY Sports)

SDBoltReport.com kicks off its annual offseason position-by-position overview with a look at the quarterback position. The Chargers are all set with Philip Rivers atop the depth chart, but there may be some changes behind him with Charlie Whitehurst slated for free agency.

There are no questions about San Diego's starting quarterback. Philip Rivers did it all in 2013: he cut down on his turnovers (11 interceptions and two lost fumbles); he made plays in the clutch (including the game-winner in Kansas City); and he continued to pile up yards (4,478) and touchdowns (32) at a breakneck pace.

Rivers tied his career high with a 105.5 passer rating, earning his fifth Pro Bowl invite in the process. He was clearly rejuvenated by the new regime of Mike McCoy, Ken Whisenhunt and Frank Reich. Rivers will have to prove he can continue to thrive now that Whisenhunt has moved on to Tennessee and Reich has taken over play-calling duties. But as long as Reich stays aggressive and allows Rivers to make adjustments at the line of scrimmage, No. 17 will continue to prosper.

The real question is what Tom Telesco will do with Charlie Whitehurst, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent. Whitehurst did not excel last preseason -- his first in this new offense -- completing less than 60 percent of his passes and throwing more interceptions than touchdowns (3-to-2). However, Whitehurst has starting experience and is extremely close with Rivers.

Rivers has grown comfortable bouncing ideas off Whitehurst, whether they are discussing things they see from opposing defenses or what kind of boots to wear to postgame interviews. The two men work together well, but as the 2013 season demonstrated, sometimes knocking Rivers from his comfort zone is not a bad thing.


QB Brad Sorensen
Andrew Daugherty/SDBoltReport.com
If the Chargers do make a change at the backup quarterback position, some names to watch are Seneca Wallace, Dan Orlovsky, Colt McCoy, Luke McCown and Jimmy Clausen.

San Diego is high on third string QB Brad Sorensen, who picked up the offense quickly and showed unexpected poise. He has a strong arm and makes good decisions with the football. The Chargers likely want a veteran quarterback in the mix behind Rivers -- especially now that the window for contention is once again wide open -- but it seems likely Sorensen will win the No. 2 job behind Rivers sooner than later.

This eliminates the need to draft a developmental quarterback in 2014, which is good news for Bolts backers, because Telesco is batting 1.000 in the draft right now and the last thing anyone wants is for him to burn a pick on an already-established position.

In summary, the only intrigue at the quarterback position is whether Whitehurst will return and whether Sorensen will continue his ascent. But both of those story lines are marginalized by the fact that this team will only go as far as Rivers can carry it.



Should the Chargers bring back Whitehurst? Discuss inside the message boards.



Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 16 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.

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