There is a lot of uncertainty this week at Chargers Park as Bolts quarterback Philip Rivers was placed under concussion protocol on Monday. Rivers was suffered two helmet-to-helmet hits during Sunday’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The first one was in the first quarter on third and one when Rivers dropped back. Upon further review it turns out Yannick Ngakoue hit him in the face and while Rivers was moving back he was hit by a sliding Dawuane Smoot and fell over on his head. Now Rivers’ status for Sunday’s game against Buffalo Bills is up in the air.
“I am going to let the doctors handle this, but I told Philip to be brutally honest with us about this injury and he has been,” said Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn.
If Rivers can’t play, that means back-up quarterback Kellen Clemens will start in an NFL game for the first time since 2013 when he was a member of the then St. Louis Rams. He did play with the Chargers in 2014 in a game where the Miami Dolphins had a 37-0 comfortable lead. Clemens hit the gridiron against the Vikings in 2015 as well when; again the Chargers were getting blown out. He threw a nice touchdown pass to Keenan Allen in that contest.
“We are going to prepare the same,” said Clemens, “In the back up position you know your role and I am here to help Philip and help this team in any capacity possible.”
Rivers has been an iron man for the Chargers since he took the reins in 2006 after then quarterback Drew Brees joined the New Orleans Saints. Rivers has started in 194 games, including playoffs. That is the fourth longest streak in NFL history. In 2007, Rivers showed the world how tough he was when he played against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game with two torn ACLs on a cold Foxborough night.
“Nothing changes for me,” said center Spencer Pulley, “I have worked with Kellen (Clemens) before in OTAs, training camp all that and I feel just as comfortable with him as I do with Philip (Rivers).”
What this injury shows is that the Chargers are unprepared for life after Rivers retires. The 35 year old is in his 14th season, so the Bolts need to start taking a serious look at their options as Rivers could be approaching the end of the road. Rivers still has two-years left on his deal after this season, but only if he doesn’t retire before then.
Buffalo Bills Change QB’s
Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott is making a change at quarterback. Tyrod Taylor is benched and rookie Nathan Peterman will get the start against the Chargers. Last Sunday the Bills only scored 10 points against the Saints. Peterman had his first NFL touchdown in that game as he completed a seven-yard pass to tight end Nick O’Leary.
Right tackle Joe Barksdale will not play this weekend with a foot injury. Others who did not practice on Wednesday include tight end Antonio Gates (rest), defensive end Chris McCain (quad), linebacker James Onwualu (quad), linebacker Hayes Pullard (neck).
Quarterback back Philip Rivers was limited in practice(concussion), center Spencer Pulley (knee), nose tackle Corey Luiget (toe), and safety Adrian Phillips (hamstring).
Chargers linebacker Denzel Perryman was a full participant.