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Chargers' quarterbacks could signal new era in San Diego

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Oct 13, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/sports/12886489.htm" target="_blank">The Mercury News</a>


    ALAMEDA, Calif. - (KRT) - The decision that the San Diego Chargers make with their starting quarterback after this season might do more than affect only what happens on the field. It could help determine the team's long-term future in San Diego.

    A ballot measure is expected in November 2006 asking taxpayers to sign off on financing for a replacement for Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers' quarterback question needs to be answered long before that.

    Do they stick with veteran Drew Brees and build upon the momentum they created last season? Or do they part ways with Brees and entrust their offense to Philip Rivers, acquired in a 2004 draft-day deal with the New York Giants?

    "I want a commitment," Brees said in a conference call with Bay Area media Wednesday, four days before the Chargers play the Raiders in Oakland. "That's the most important (thing) to me, is a team saying, `Hey, you are our guy. This is your team. Take over.' Obviously, with a one-year deal, that's not the answer that I've gotten."

    No long-term deal is forthcoming, or even on the horizon. The Chargers locked up Brees for this season and won't revisit his contract status until his one-year deal expires.

    For now, they are content taking it season by season, coach Marty Schottenheimer said Wednesday in a conference call with Bay Area media.

    "We're kind of in an ideal situation, frankly," Schottenheimer said. "We've got a young quarterback who is an ascending player in Drew Brees and we've got a younger quarterback that we think can become a very good player."

    San Diego slapped the franchise tag on Brees after last season, which amounted to a one-year tender for $8.078 million. That figure soars to approximately $10 million if the Chargers franchise Brees next season.

    The Chargers no doubt are hedging their bet, waiting to see if Brees' 2004 showing was an aberration after three nondescript seasons.

    Brees, 26, had a career year last season. He passed for 27 touchdowns against only seven interceptions and completed 65.5 percent of his passes in guiding the Chargers to a 12-4 finish. Indianapolis' Peyton Manning and Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb were the only quarterbacks with a better touchdown-to-interception ratio last season.

    This season, Brees hasn't been as sharp, but he still ranks among the leaders in several statistical categories. He has completed 65.5 percent of his passes for 1,042 yards, thrown seven touchdowns, been intercepted four times and has a passer rating of 92.7.

    That isn't good enough, Brees said. It takes more than compiling impressive stats.

    "You've always got to prove yourself," Brees said. "There's always something. There's always another challenge to be undertaken. But I know what they want to see from me; they want to see me win football games. They want to see us win a championship. And that's what I want to do, too."

    Therein lies the rub. Brees likely gives the Chargers their best shot at achieving those goals and, by extension, perhaps landing the stadium deal they covet.

    The catch is, a sizable portion of the populace isn't enamored with Chargers owner Alex Spanos and isn't apt to grant him anything he asks for. Therefore, going with Rivers could be seen as taking a step back just as the Chargers were emerging into a top-flight team.

    Sure, Rivers could take off in much the way Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did his rookie season in 2004. However, the more likely scenario would entail Rivers enduring growing pains and rough times his first few seasons.

    For every Roethlisberger success story, there are 10 Ryan Leaf-like tales of a first-round quarterback not panning out.

    Only this time, there's more than wins and losses riding on San Diego's decision.

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