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Ken Whisenhunt: Philip Rivers still a Pro Bowl-level QB

If Philip Rivers truly is entering his final audition with the San Diego Chargers, he has a booster in offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.

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Playing behind a patchwork offensive line, Rivers has turned over the ball a whopping 47 times while taking 79 sacks in the past two seasons. Along the way, Rivers has been reduced from a four-time Pro Bowl quarterback to a franchise question mark.

An enthusiastic Whisenhunt told NFL.com's Ian Rapoport that he's confident Rivers can return to his Pro Bowl level. Laying blame for the high interception total on other factors, Whisenhunt said he loves the way Rivers processes and reads defenses. Of all the quarterbacks he has ever coached, Whisenhunt believes Rivers possesses the most impressive "it" factor as a leader.

Somewhat surprisingly, Whisenhunt also insists Rivers can make all of the throws, even comparing the quarterback's accuracy to that of Kurt Warner.

It's those last two points that Whisenhunt will have to help his quarterback prove anew in 2013. Rivers' arm strength has been questioned in each of the past two seasons, and his footwork has grown shoddy in response to the cumulative effect of incessant defensive pressure.

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NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell, a noted fan of the Chargers quarterback, pointed out last December that Rivers just hasn't been particularly accurate. Rivers needs to be propped up by a consistent running game, a solid offensive line and outside receivers who can win one-on-one. It's the job of Whisenhunt and Chargers coach Mike McCoy to mask those inefficiencies so Rivers can flourish in 2013.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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