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Topic: San Diego Chargers Making The Right Move
 Russ Bliss_108
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Post Date: 02/26/06 16:01
It was just before the 2004 NFL Draft and there was all the talk about the San Diego Chargers needing to take a QB with the #1 pick. Drew Brees was vilified and made the scapegoat for a lifeless passing game. Never mind he had sub-par WR's to throw to, and a shoddy offensive line; it was Brees fault for all the offensive woes whenever LaDainian Tomlinson didn't touch the ball.

So the Chargers went and selected Eli Manning, and then traded him to the New York Giants and got in return (among other's) Phillip Rivers. Rivers was supposedly the QB the Chargers coveted all along anyway and by making this deal, they not only got the player they wanted, but more besides. It was assumed that Rivers would not only be the QB of the future for San Diego, but likely would become the starter right away.

As does happen, Rivers ended up holding out for a while and this gave Brees enough of a chance to hold onto to his starting job entering the 2004 season, but it was a foregone conclusion that he wouldn't be holding onto it for long.

But then a funny thing happened. Brees not only led the Chargers to wins, but also put up some solid numbers. His touchdowns were up, his yards were up, and his interceptions were down. Way down. Only 7 the entire season. And instead of being run out of San Diego, Brees was instantly transformed into the type of free agent commodity that demanded the Chargers use their Franchise tag on. Thereby guaranteeing they either got him back, or got 1st round picks in return if they let him go.

Now Brees went out and had a decent 2005, but because of their cap sitaution, the Chargers decided it was too expensive to slap the Franchise tag on him again. After all, they have a lot of money tied up in Rivers and the Chargers have other needs to address, and the money it would tie up to Franchise Brees would mean the Chargers wouldn't be able to sign players who could immediately help them get back to being a power in the AFC West.

Funny how time changes things, but no sooner than the announcement the Chargers wouldn't Franchise Brees came out then fans of the team were incredulous. They lamented about how the team could lose him for nothing and that he's been so good for them. And it should be noted that in his limited opportunities, Rivers hasn't done much to distinguish himself, but it's kind of hard to really get into a rhythym and a feel for the game when you only see spot duty.

Now, Brees certainly didn't deserve all the blame he received for the Chargers offensive woes before 2004 (and I wrote so in my 2004 player profile of Brees), but he also doesn't deserve all the accolades he's getting for being a top flight NFL QB. Brees is a capable NFL QB, but Rivers has better overall QB skills. The Chargers are making the right move by letting Brees test the market, epsecially since he is recovering from a shoulder injury to his passing arm. It's not a given that Brees (never known for his strong arm anyway) doesn't lose a little bit on his passes. It's not a given that Brees will get the big money contract his agent thinks he should get. By not using the ranchise tag, the Chargers are saying that they are ready to move on, and now that he's held a clipboard for 2 seasons, Phillip Rivers time in San Diego is now. The Chargers continue to hold out an invitation for Brees to come back, but it will be at a price they can afford.

Personally, I think the Chargers were smart to not tie up the money Franchising Brees would have cost, and I think that although there's likely to be a season of learning for Rivers, in the long run, Rivers turns out to be a QB with a higher likelihood of being great.
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On any given Sunday any fantasy team can beat another, only to still lose Monday night.
 Jeff Coruccini_6
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Post Date: 02/27/06 08:11
Letting Brees test the waters is good, however, letting him go is not. There is no way Marty, is going to try and have a rookie QB lead that team in the third year of his contract. He needs to win now and Rivers is not ready. Could he be a top flight QB in the right situation..maybe,but the kid does not have good mechanics and appears to be too gittery!

Brees is a proven QB who knows his limitations and one of the fundamental rules.. Get the ball out of your hands and put in the hands of the playmakers like: Tomlinson and Gates. They need to make a play for a "go to" WR and possibly draft picks. That may require trading Rivers.

Remember this is the NFL and "Win now"
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Winning isn't everything- its the only thing!
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