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Drew Brees - Resurgence in San Diego

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Jul 14, 2005.

  1. robdog
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    <strong>July 14, 2005</strong>
    Source: <a href="http://www.nflplayers.com/news/news_release.aspx?id=3958">NFLPLAYERS.COM</a>

    When the San Diego Chargers had wrapped up their 2004 NFL Draft, they thought they had landed their quarterback of the future in fourth-overall pick Philip Rivers who was acquired in a draft-day trade with the Giants.

    But after Rivers' contract holdout extended halfway through the preseason, Drew Brees, the incumbent starter, kept his job and enjoyed one of the finest seasons for a quarterback in recent history.


    Brees, who was given the Chargers "franchise tag" this off-season, made his fourth NFL season by far his best, ranking third in the NFL in passer rating behind Peyton Manning and Daunte Culpepper. He also made his first trip to the Pro Bowl afer he completed 262 of 400 passes for 3,159 yards, 27 touchdowns and only seven interceptions on the season. His 104.8 rating was a monstrous 37.3 point improvement over the previous year.

    Not only did Brees turn his career around, but the Chargers, who hadn't finished above .500 since 1995, went 4-12 in 2003 to13 wins and an AFC West Division title last year.

    "It was a season to remember, definitely," Brees said. "When I look at what we have accomplished and the way we were able to come together last year, after that 2003 season, it's pretty miraculous."

    While most had written off Brees and the Chargers, the former Purdue star had a hunch things were about to change in San Diego. "I knew [the turnaround] was going to happen, I felt it," he recalled. "I think if you were part of that team you could feel that it was going to happen. People probably think we are crazy, but we really came together and that's what's it was all about, guys coming together."

    Brees points to Week Four as the defining moment of the season. Following a 1-2 start, including losses to the Jets and Broncos, San Diego pounded the Titans 38-17 to begin a run that would see the team win 12 of their final 13 games. "I think we kind of reached a turning point around Week 4 where we were going one of two ways. We were either going back down that same road we had gone down the last 10 years or we were blazing a new path," Brees explained. "Everybody made up there mind that we wanted to blaze a new path. I think we just need to get in a little bit of a rhythm and get a little something going, get a little streak going and that's kind of what we did. One win turned into two, turned into five, turned into eight and before you know it we won eight games in a row."

    For his incredible turnaround, Brees was honored with the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year Award. While the award would have been an easy way to say "I told you so" to the doubters, Brees took the high road. "I didn't really care what people thought before the season, I don't really care what people think now," he said. "I don't play the game to prove people wrong or to please people. There are always going to be those people that say you can't do it. I think everybody had encountered that situation, so it's nothing new. I play because I love the game. I play because I want to be successful. I play because I love my teammates and I love the integrity of the game and its fun too."

    With the 2005 season approaching quickly, the question of whether Brees can repeat his success is becoming louder. If he can't, Rivers is waiting in the wings. But no matter who is playing and who is holding the clipboard, the two players will maintain their solid relationship. "He's a great guy and is going to be a great quarterback," Brees said of Rivers. "The situation is kind of interesting because he comes in to take my job. I'm trying to get every rep I can get, he's trying to get every rep he can get. But things were very friendly. When you get on the field, I'm trying to win the job and he's trying to win the job but when we get in the meeting room we're fine. I think we have a good relationship and I think we'll continue to compete against one another because he's trying to get better and I'm trying to get better."

    Brees, Rivers and the rest of the Chargers roster will begin preparation for their AFC West title defense when they open training camp on July 28 in San Diego.

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