Philip Rivers heard the critics suggesting he's an old, rickety quarterback on the last limping leg of his NFL career who moves like a FedEx truck in a league of Corvettes. The 38-year-old knows all the talk about the 23 turnovers in Los Angeles last season, including 20 interceptions, too many of which were ugly heaves.
The criticism suggesting he's no longer an upper-echelon quarterback prickled Rivers' undercarriage at times.
"At times what may have aggravated me a little bit last year was [critics saying] that I couldn't play anymore," Rivers said Wednesday, via ESPN. "When you heard that, it bothered me because I wanted to go, 'Shoot, let's go turn on the tape and watch all the good things.' There were some bad plays. Certainly some throws I want back and certainly some very costly mistakes. I own up to all those. There was so much good and I had some throws last year that were probably as good as I've had my whole career. I knew. So I didn't feel like I had to sell that to anyone. But at the same time, it did aggravate you little bit. I think it's OK to be aware. I'm one of those guys that likes to be aware."
Rivers struggled last season behind an offensive line that had more holes than a golf course. In Indianapolis this season, the aging quarterback will play behind one of the best O-lines in the NFL. The difference in protection should show whether age has relegated Rivers to an afterthought or whether he can still be a top-10 signal-caller.
The Colts believe Rivers is the missing piece to a playoff-caliber roster, and coach Frank Reich has consistently dismissed concerns about last year's struggles, calling the QB "elite."
Rivers, who moved to Indy with his nine children, has been working with teammates like tight end Jack Doyle, receiver Parris Campbell and center Ryan Kelly, among others, to get to know the offense and build a rapport. If Rivers is back to his Pro Bowl days, the Colts should be playing into January once again.