Cool Brees in San Diego

San Diego Chargers quarterback Drew Brees is eager for the 2003 season. He has a new weapon that he is finally developing a solid rapport with and Brees has old reliable, LaDainian Tomlinson, in the backfield. His coach, Mary Schottenheimer is all praise saying, "He has made terrific strides."

So now Drew Brees looks to improve upon his first season as a starter in the NFL. In 2002 he became the first Chargers quarterback to throw more touchdowns (17) than interceptions (16) since 1995 (Stan Humphries had 17 TDs and 14 INTs).

"He has really stepped it up," Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer said.

Now comes year two and a full offseason where Brees is the number one quarterback and there is no doubt. Getting all of the first team reps has convinced any detractors and given Brees confidence.

"He's much more decisive, and has much more velocity on the ball," Schottenheimer added. "He doesn't throw it like John (Elway) did, but his arm is certainly strong enough."

Enter the size, speed and strength of David Boston. Boston, signed in the offseason to a lucrative deal, is being counted upon heavily to open up the offense and prevent teams from stacking the line in defense of LaDainian Tomlinson.

In games their chemistry has yet to develop, but on Tuesday in practice Brees went to the well three times in a row and it resulted in three completions to Boston totaling over 60 yards. When it comes together, it simply looks marvelous. Add in the experience he now has and a complete understanding of Cam Cameron's offense and the future is bright.

"I've talked to a lot of people and they say going from your first year starting to your second year starting will seem like night and day," Brees said.

Now with Boston in tow and the emerging youngsters, Eric Parker and Reche Caldwell, he has expanded vision. Tim Dwight provides the Bolts with four solid options and reading through progressions to find the open man will become key.

"It's like your eyes all of sudden open. You start seeing all these things that you say, ‘where have I been all this time?'"

They were not there last season. The Chargers had just four receivers on the roster and no one the caliber of Boston. Curtis Conway had a great season when he wasn't injured, but the added potential of a dominant number one will make a huge difference in Brees' learning curve. Add the existence of a solid core of youngsters, now with experience, and this team is on the way up and the receivers plan to be open often.

"I'm beginning to see some of those things and I think as we go through the season," Brees said. "Hopefully, those things will become brighter and brighter, and I will continue to grow."

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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