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Philip Rivers Is Playing A Part In Justin Fields Development

Philip Rivers will go down in history as probably one of the most underappreciated quarterbacks in NFL history. He ranks 6th all-time in passing yards and passing touchdowns. He made the Pro Bowl eight times and led the Chargers franchise to a winning record nine times. The saddest part of his story is coming into the NFL when Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Ben Roethlisberger were all at their respective peaks. Going through a gauntlet like that to reach a Super Bowl was almost impossible.

Some people today downplay Rivers as an overrated quarterback. That’s not true. Considering his non-existent mobility and lack of high-end arm strength, his accomplishments are beyond impressive. Part of what made him so successful was a great football mind. That is what Matt Eberflus fell in love with when the two crossed paths in 2020. Rivers had signed with the Indianapolis Colts that year.

Eberflus smelled an opportunity.

It isn’t every day a defensive coordinator gets a chance to pick the brain of a great quarterback. So he took advantage every week in practice according to Adam Jahns of The Athletic. He would ask Rivers all sorts of questions about how he identified disguised coverages and was able to beat them on such a routine basis. Those lessons paid immediate dividends as the Colts defense snagged 15 interceptions and 50 passes defended. Now the coach believes he can redirect what he learned onto Justin Fields.

“He sees the game through that great experience, through that lens, and we’re excited to use that,” Eberflus said in a December 2020 interview.

The Bears’ head coach plans to return that favor when it comes to coaching Fields. He wants his own defensive expertise to be a great resource for Fields.

“On the defensive side, I can tell him the techniques and the fundamentals or the alignments that you can see pre-snap“Eberflus told” Hoge & Jahns. “

“You can tell a lot by corners, nickel corners, by safeties, linebackers’ alignments, defensive lineman’s. They all tell a story, so if he knows the story beforehand, before the ball’s snapped, then he’s going to make faster decisions post-snap. ”

This serves as a reminder that judging Eberflus purely by his background was always a mistake. While he may not have coached quarterbacks as an assistant, it doesn’t mean he lacks an understanding of football’s reality. Success is driven through that position. He had the foresight to ask Rivers questions about the position shows that Eberflus sees the big picture. He knew that information would come in handy down the line.

Fields can learn a lot from Philip Rivers.

Nobody disputes that the Bears quarterback is already one of the better runners in the NFL after his first season. That isn’t where his game needs to grow. It is in processing a defense before and after the snap. He must learn to identify what coverages are being played, if a blitz is coming and from where, and where the matchup advantages are. Rivers was one of the best in football for a long time at such things.

Eberflus can help Fields to identify little tells the defense will give in certain situations and how to find them. Once the young QB sees them enough times, he’ll become better at taking advantage of them with adjustments. It is a matter of trusting what his eyes are telling him. Philip Rivers himself did not master such things until his fifth season. He benefitted from sitting behind Drew Brees for two years as well.

Fields’ development process is different.

He can do things Rivers couldn’t, so it might take some time for him to embrace the idea of ​​using his legs only when necessary. If he wants to become great, he must win before the ball is even snapped.

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