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Surplus of talent in SD might give Jets Brees or Rivers in '06

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Nov 4, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://www.newsday.com/sports/printedition/ny-spjets034496060nov03,0,5868544.story?coll=ny-sports-print" target="_blank">Newsday.com

    Drew Brees has heard the rumors. So has Philip Rivers.

    Chances are good one of them will be available in the offseason, when the Jets' search for a starting quarterback will heat up.

    The Jets (2-5) face Brees and the Chargers (4-4) Sunday at Giants Stadium, so the questions for Brees were only natural.

    Speaking on a conference call with New York reporters yesterday, Brees put the Chargers on notice to make a long-term commitment to him or let him go somewhere else. The Jets would be waiting with open arms. "At the end of the year, I definitely want a commitment," Brees said.

    "That's the most important thing. I want to be somewhere where I'm wanted, where they believe in me and I'm the guy. I hope that's here. But if it's not, I'll go somewhere else and I'll land on my feet."

    The Chargers' quarterback situation is as strange as the Jets', but for different reasons. After acquiring Rivers, the fourth overall pick, from the Giants in 2004, the Chargers watched Brees resurrect his career by leading San Diego to the AFC West title. It created a problem: Stick with Brees or hand the reins to the unproven Rivers, who's taken only 30 snaps in the NFL? The Chargers placed the dreaded franchise tag on Brees this season, which allowed them to avoid making a long-term commitment to him. But at some point, they have to decide which one is their quarterback of the future.

    "That's a decision that will be arrived at . . . down the road," Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer said yesterday. "We're not going to spend any time visiting it now."

    Asked if he believes he and Rivers will be in San Diego again next season, Brees said, "Oh, heck no. It just doesn't make any sense.

    "Crazier things have happened, so I won't say that it won't happen. But let's be logical about the whole thing."

    When asked if he believes the Chargers will choose him over Rivers in the offseason, Brees said, "I envision myself here forever. If that doesn't happen, I'll be prepared for the next step."

    The Jets may prefer Brees to Rivers because they will need an experienced quarterback ready to wrest the starting job from Chad Pennington right away. But either one would be a costly acquisition.

    If he's franchised again at a base salary of $9.7 million next season, Brees could be dealt to the Jets, who would then sign him to a long-term deal. That's problematic, considering they've already paid Pennington $22 million for starting 18 games. Pennington, who has the same agent as Brees, also is due another $3-million roster bonus in March - probably before he's even ready to begin throwing again after his latest rotator cuff operation.

    "I'm sure we would both compete our butts off and I'm sure that we would be great friends," said Brees, who first met Pennington at a college All-America function when he was at Purdue and Pennington was at Marshall.

    Rivers will be in the third year of a seven-year contract next season at a manageable base salary of $615,000. But it would take a formidable package of draft picks and/or a top-flight player to persuade the Chargers to trade him. Another complicating factor is that trading Rivers would result in a $10-million salary-cap hit for the Chargers.

    Jets coach Herman Edwards spoke fondly of Brees yesterday, saying he doesn't get enough credit for the success of the Chargers' offense. The question now becomes: What does Brees have to do the rest of this season to keep his job? "Who knows what's going to happen at the end of this year?" Brees said. "Obviously, one of us is going to be here and one of us is not."

    Notes & quotes: QB Vinny Testaverde (calf), RB Curtis Martin (knee), and WR Justin McCareins (Achilles) practiced and are probable. But McCareins is "very, very sore," Edwards said, and could be spelled in the game by Jerricho Cotchery . . . RB Derrick Blaylock (foot), QB Jay Fiedler (shoulder), and S Oliver Celestin (knee) are out . . . The Jets are mired in a slump of 308 minutes, 19 seconds without a touchdown pass over five-plus games, their longest such streak since the Super Bowl season of 1968.

    About the Chargers

    Coach: Marty Schottenheimer (fourth season, 28-28)

    Record: 4-4, third place, AFC West

    Last week: Beat the Chiefs, 28-20, at San Diego.

    About the offense: It's all about LT. LaDainian Tomlinson, arguably the most electrifying running back in the NFL, is fifth in the league with 728 rushing yards and first with 10 touchdowns. He's also thrown three TD passes; the Chargers' passing game can get the job done, too. Tight end Antonio Gates is sixth in the league with 43 catches and has six TDs. Drew Brees is the highest-rated third-down passer in the NFL (five TDs, 1 INT, 105.1 rating). The offensive line, anchored by RT Shane Olivea of Long Beach, has allowed only 12 sacks despite starting four different units in eight games due to injuries. San Diego is second in the league inside the red zone, having scored 20 TDs in 28 trips inside the opponents' 20-yard line (71.4 percent).

    About the defense: The Chargers give up a lot of yards (335.5 per game), but only 78.4 of those are on the ground - the third-fewest in the NFL. Jamal Williams might be the best nose tackle in the game. At 348 pounds, he'll have at least 70 pounds on Jets center Pete Kendall. First-round pick Shawne Merriman is tied for the NFL rookie lead with four sacks.

    Bottom line: People like to say the Chargers are the best 4-4 team in the NFL, but remember Bill Parcells' adage: "You are what your record says you are." There are reasons the Chargers are hovering at .500. They've struggled in close games, are 2-2 on the road, and have lost three in a row to the Jets - including last year's wild-card playoff. All three games were at San Diego.

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