http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2005/11/01/sports/professional/chargers/103105195459.txt By: JAY PARIS - Staff Writer SAN DIEGO ---- It only seems as if everything is going well for Chargers quarterback Drew Brees. "The joke around here is L.T. is stealing all my touchdown passes,'' Brees said Monday. "That's all right, as long as we get in the end zone. I don't care how we do it.'' How the Chargers got right on Sunday had a lot to do with Brees' right arm ---- never mind LaDainian Tomlinson's third scoring pass in three attempts. Brees threw three touchdown tosses to Antonio Gates and collected a season-high 324 yards while completing 25-of-43 passes. "He is becoming a pro,'' general manager A.J. Smith said. It has been quite a transformation, one that will continue Sunday against the New York Jets. Brees was all but kicked to the curb by the organization before the 2004 season, as it sniffed around for available veterans and traded for rookie Philip Rivers. But Brees responded with a Pro Bowl season and was named the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year for directing the Chargers to their first AFC West title since 1994. This year, he hasn't blinked. Instead, he continues to open eyes with his stellar play. "I'm very pleased with him,'' Smith said. "He's becoming a true professional, becoming an outstanding quarterback. I'm very pleased where he is in his career.'' Brees has the NFL's sixth-best quarterback rating, completing 63 percent of his passes for 1,829 yards, with 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He ranks first in the league in third-down passing. But just as important as any statistic is the manner in which he's leading the NFL's 11th-rated offense. His body language screams confidence as he's seldom rattled by what transpires on the field. "He has a far better understanding of everything,'' coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "I think where he is at his best now is his ability to manage the game, and that only comes with playing the game. "It's the experience of being in there. Now you're going to stub your toe from time to time, but he knows how to manage a football game.'' Added Smith: "It's his whole understanding of the game. The game has slowed down for him.'' Brees, a fifth-year pro who signed a one-year deal before the season, said seasoning is the reason for his improvement. "I definitely feel like I'm a better player,'' Brees said. "The more experience I've been through, the more situations ---- I feel very comfortable out there. I feel like I am seeing things even more clearly than last year.'' This year, the Chargers (4-4) have needed it against a schedule that has few soft spots. "Everything has been kicked up a notch,'' Brees said. "As an offense, we're better. The competition we are playing against is better.'' Brees would like to add another notch to his belt when the Chargers play the Jets, who were the only team to defeat them twice last season. He will get his chance Sunday to show off his arm in the Meadowlands. Unless Tomlinson again steals his thunder. CHARGERS NOTES ---- Coach Marty Schottenheimer said LT Roman Oben was undergoing tests to determine the severity of his foot injury. If he can't play Sunday, Leander Jordan would make his sixth NFL start, but first at left tackle. ... Schottenheimer sounded confident that LB Steve Foley (abdominal) and CB Drayton Florence (ankle) could return this week. He didn't express the same optimism when talking about C Nick Hardwick (ankle). ... It was Victory Monday at Chargers Park, as Schottenheimer gave the players the day off for their conquest of the Chiefs.