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Brees, c'mon down!

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/football/pro/dolphins/sfl-hyde08mar07,0,763787.column?coll=orl-dolphins">Orlando Sentinel</a>

    By Dave Hyde

    We're about to witness the greatest stroke of Dolphins fortune since the Kansas City Chiefs worked out Todd Blackledge and Dan Marino on successive days, thought Blackledge was the real deal and set into motion Marino's draft-day freefall to the Dolphins' 27th pick.

    That was 1983.

    And this isn't that. Let's be clear: This isn't close to that.

    But go through the last 23 years, through the Clock Play in the Meadowlands, through Jason Taylor in the third round, through Nick Saban available in the right year, and you find nothing flat-out luckier for the Dolphins than San Diego letting quarterback Drew Brees skate free.

    Everything suggests it will happen. It's still hard to believe until it officially does, because this never happens in the NFL.

    Pro Bowl quarterbacks don't pop on the open market at 27. They don't fall from the sky like manna for desperate teams to grab if they have the money (like the Dolphins) and front-office wherewithal (like the Dolphins).

    What are the Chargers thinking? Are they this dumb? Do they know something (a la David Boston)? Or do they simply feel quarterback-rich with top prospect Philip Rivers and -- <em> ahem </em>-- ex-Dolphin A.J. Feeley?

    Sure, Brees suffered a serious shoulder injury in the season finale last year. So this is a doctor's story as much as a football one right now. But last week Dr. James Andrews, who operated on Brees, said the quarterback should be able to throw in May's minicamp. It's a respected seal of approval.

    If Brees' arm isn't falling off, if his shoulder isn't crumbling, if it's a matter of his taking it easy through the summer or not even starting until October, then the Dolphins should be sitting on his doorstep with a big contract the minute the NFL opens free agency.

    Brees had an 89.2 quarterback rating last year. You have to go back to Marino in 1995 to find a Dolphins quarterback with a number that high. Brees had a 104.8 rating in 2004, too. You have to go back to Marino in (<em>harp music, maestro</em>) 1984 to find one higher.

    Again, Brees isn't Marino. But, again, what are the Chargers thinking?

    We're about to see what Saban thinks too. He knows Gus Frerotte can't take him where he wants. Frerotte has been a class act and deserves Dolphins fans' appreciation. But Saban can't matter in a big way as a coach until he has a quarterback who matters in a big way.

    "The No. 1 [criterion] for being a genius in this business," New England's Bill Belichick has said, "is to have a great quarterback."

    It comes down to luck in finding that quarterback. There's no need to further question the previous Dolphins regime for decisions to draft cornerback Jamar Fletcher instead of Brees or back off the deal to trade for Matt Hasselbeck.

    Every season brings more proof of the utter mystery involved in finding quarterbacks. To remind himself of this, Scott Pioli, New England's director of player personnel, keeps a photo on his desk of the team's fifth-round pick in 2000. This was the player taken ahead of Tom Brady. His name is Dave Stachelski. He never played a down for the Patriots.

    "If it was so smart to pick Brady," Pioli said at the Super Bowl two years ago, "why didn't I pick him earlier than the sixth round?"

    This is what's perfect about Brees. There's no question what you're getting. He's already proved he can play. He's put up five years of work. You know the knocks, too: At 6 feet, he's smaller than the prototype quarterback; his arm isn't cannon-strong; he hasn't won in the playoffs.

    Other teams will be interested. Other quarterbacks will be out there, too. Maybe even Brett Favre, who wants to see if the Packers are long-term rebuilding before deciding his future. Think the Dolphins' turf, in the southern warmth, would suit him for a couple of years?

    Saban was dealt some bad hands his first year. None was worse than getting the No. 2 pick in a draft without two franchise quarterbacks (maybe there wasn't one, depending on how Alex Smith turns out). How would that second pick look this year with Matt Leinart, Vince Young and Reggie Bush on the table?

    But warm winds can blow in strange ways. One blows in from San Diego right now, if it's to be believed. Brees is 27. He's a Pro Bowler. Look at him on the side of the road, with his thumb out, and can't you see the Dolphins picking him up?
     

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