<strong>July 25, 2005</strong>
Source: <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/chargers/home.htm">USA Today</a>
This time last year, quarterback Drew Brees was knocking the tire tracks off his back, after being all but thrown under the bus by the Chargers after a disappointing 2003 season.
The Chargers had grown tired of Brees' poor decision-making and made no secret that they were in the market for a quarterback
This year, Brees recently made his own tracks up to Los Angeles, where he met with countless media outlets to pump up the Chargers.
The Chargers - no longer the benefactor of a ticket guarantee - are hitting the Los Angeles market heavy in trying to sell ducats and get the word out about being the AFC West defending champions.
Or are the stadium-seeking Chargers just trying to expand their brand name, in hopes of someday relocating north in either the L.A. Coliseum or next to Angel Stadium?
All that will work itself out. But for right now, Brees was spreading the gospel of Chargers football to any and all media types in a whirlwind day of activity.
"A lot of people are sure excited about what the Chargers can do this year,'' Brees said.
That excitement has created a surge of season ticket sales and a buzz around the team which hasn't been felt since Bobby Ross was at the helm back in the 1990s.
And with the Chargers being the only NFL team south of San Francisco Bay Area, it makes sense that the rest of Southern California might discover the squad - especially after its recent success.
"I think more and more people will start making the drive down to San Diego,'' Brees said.
Brees might even drive the bus. It beats being thrown under one.
-The Chargers are expecting big crowds to attend their training camp practices. This summer marks the first time the sessions are being held at the team facility. The minicamps workouts brought out thousands of people to watch.
-As training camp grows near, the team doesn't have its top two draft picks signed. Although, DL Luis Castillo isn't expected to be as difficult to sign as OLB Shawne Merriman.
-LB Ben Leber hopes to take part in the early stages of training camp after being sidelined most the offseason with a bone bruise in his foot.
-QB Drew Brees, the NFL comeback player of the year in 2004, is looking for more production and a longer stay in the playoffs this year: "I need to be better and our team needs to be better."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I wouldn't say it is dead. I would say it's kind of changed a little bit. It is more wide open." -Pro Bowl RB LaDainian Tomlinson on the demise of Marty Ball.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
QUARTERBACKS: Starter - Drew Brees. Backups - Philip Rivers, Cleo Lemon.
RUNNING BACKS: Starters - LaDainian Tomlinson, Lorenzo Neal. Backups - Jesse Chatman, Michael Turner, Darren Sproles, Andrew Pinnock.
TIGHT ENDS: Starter - Antonio Gates. Backups - Justin Peelle, Ryan Krause.
WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters - Keenan McCardell and Eric Parker. Backups - Reche Caldwell, Vincent Jackson, Kassim Osgood, Malcom Floyd.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Starters - LT Roman Oben, LG Toniu Fonoti, C Nick Hardwick, RG Mike Goff, RT Shane Olivea. Backups - LT Leander Jordan, LG Kris Dielman, C Bob Hallen, T Wesley Britt, G Wes Sims, C/G Scott Mruczkowski.
DEFENSIVE LINE: Starters - LE Jacques Cesaire, NT Jamal Williams, RE Igor Olshansky. Backups - LE Luis Castillo, LE Adrian Dingle, RE DeQuincy Scott, NT Ryon Bingham.
LINEBACKERS: Starters - OLB Steve Foley, ILB Randall Godfrey, ILB Donnie Edwards, OLB Ben Leber. Backups - OLB Shawne Merriman, OLB Matt Wilhelm, ILB Stephen Cooper, OLB Shaun Phillips.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters - LCB Quentin Jammer, RCB Drayton Florence, SS Terrence Kiel, FS Jerry Wilson. Backups - LCB Jamar Fletcher, RCB Sammy Davis, SS Clinton Hart, FS Bhawoh Jue.
SPECIAL TEAMS: PK Nate Kaeding, P Mike Scifres, KR/PR Darren Sproles, LS David Binn