Secure at the Top

Focus may have been one of the keys going into the game, but turnovers were ultimately the end of it. <br><br> "We haven't been able to do enough good job of taking care of the football, said Marty Schottenheimer in his weekly press conference. "The bottom line is you can't give them the ball."

"We have to do a better job of throwing it, and we have to do a better job of catching it."

Drew Brees was the culprit on two of the interceptions and a third was deflected.

Brees has now thrown eleven interceptions on the season, compared to just seven touchdowns. His completion percentage is 58.2%, but 53 of his 139 completions have gone to the running backs, considered a much easier target.

"This is a performance driven business and I think Drew will tell you, he needs to perform better," said Schottenheimer. "His accuracy has not been as good as it needs to be and that was always a strength of his. I don't know if he is pressing or what.

Good throws are hard to come by for Brees. He is too high, too low, underthowing, overthrowing or having balls tipped at the line.

His 3rd down rating sits at 23.3 and his completion percentage on third down is 43.5%. Six of his eleven interceptions have come on third down.

"He was late on one, behind the receiver on another. You have to throw the ball more accurately. When you lose and you are struggling, no one wants to talk about the good throws."

To make matters worse for Brees, he and Coach Cameron have directed the team to just 50 points on 18 possessions in the red zone. That is an average of just 2.7 points each time they enter the zone.

With that kind of efficiency the Chargers have guaranteed they will not even get a field goal each time they enter their opponents 20.

Clarifying things further, opponents are scoring 5.56 points each time they are in the red zone.

Is Marty considering a change?

"Not at the moment. Backup QBs in the NFL get probably 5% of the snaps in the offense during the course of a week's preparation. If it is solely the QB then I think you consider doing that. This is more than just the QB, it is the offense.

"I am looking for a vastly improved performance."

Deflecting some of the blame this week is reasonable looking at the failures of the offensive line.

"I have a concern with our inconsistency on the offensive line," said Schottenheimer. "It affects everything we do. While Drew needs to perform better, and he recognizes that, we all need to perform more effectively around him.

"Right now we haven't afforded him the opportunity from a protection standpoint that would enable him to do his job more effectively.

"It is a combination of protection, rush and coverage. When you are throwing the football you have an opportunity to get your five people out. It has an impact on your ability to protect. We have to do a better job in pass protection."

His point is well taken this week, but how many weeks will we continue to place the blame elsewhere? At 1-6, something needs to be done and something drastic. Doug Flutie may not be the answer, but it would be more entertaining to see Cleo Lemon off the practice squad at this stage of the season. Who knows, he may have a future.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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