Morning Links: Rivers climbs MVP ranks

Good morning. ESPN’s Dan Graziano has moved San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers up a notch to No. 4 in his weekly MVP watch.

Here’s what Graziano has to say about Rivers’ performance so far this season.

“Rivers' numbers just don't make any sense. Isn't Norv Turner supposed to be an offensive genius? Isn't "coach offense," like, the one thing you're sure Turner can do? Yet Rivers declined every year while Turner was there and under Mike McCoy he's completing 73.9 percent of his passes. He has thrown fewer incompletions in the past two games than Eli Manning threw Monday night in a win, and you know he's looking at the league passing leaderboard every week and thinking, "That's right! Who's the big winner from the 2004 draft now?" And even though it's obviously still Manning and the Giants, point is Rivers is having a really good year.”

In this ESPN Insider pieceInsider, Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus ranks San Diego’s signing of cornerback Derek Cox as one of the worst free-agent signings of 2013. The Chargers signed Cox to a four-year, $20 million deal this offseason, including $10.25 million in guaranteed money. Also included in his worst signings of 2013 were two other similarly paid cornerbacks in Detroit’s Chris Houston and Philadelphia’s Cary Williams.


“Rounding out the trio of similarly paid cornerbacks, Cox ranks 68th among cornerbacks with a grade of minus-5.3, and his 1.62 yards/cover snap ranks 64th at the position. He's been a part of a disappointing Chargers pass defense, although an inadequate pass rush certainly hasn't helped, particularly after Dwight Freeney was lost for the season. Unlike the other cornerbacks on this list, Cox hasn't had any disastrous outings, but he has graded negatively in all but one of his seven games.”

• San Diego coach Mike McCoy was mic’d up for the Jacksonville game. Check out the video link. It’s worth a look this morning.

Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego hands out mostly good grades in his evaluation of the Chargers through seven games.

Will Brinson of CBS Sports places San Diego running back Ryan Mathews on his list of ascending players in the NFL in his weekly stock watch.

Ricky Henne of Chargers.com writes that Rivers and longtime San Diego center Nick Hardwick share a bond. The two Chargers entered the league together as part of the 2004 draft class.

• Writing for Sports Illustrated, Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman offers an interesting perspective on a hot button issue in the NFL right now -- concussions. Sherman says the players understand the dangers involved with playing football at the highest level, and the league should stop trying to regulate big hits out of the game.