Chargers Game Day Primer

San Diego Chargers quarterback Drew Brees may have to lead this team to victory in Chicago this week against the Bears. So far this season, Brees has been a detriment. The Bears are understandably wary of LaDainian Tomlinson, so much so, that has been all the talk this week from their camp.

The Bears defense is in the same boat as the Chargers defense. They started out terrible against the run, allowing an NFL-worst 183.7 yards per game in the team's first three games this year. Each week that rushing number is going down, culminating with a season best 86 against Detroit last Sunday.

"(Tomlinson) is probably the best one out of all those guys we've played against," said middle linebacker Brian Urlacher. "Hopefully, he won't do what they did against us. We're not going to keep him bottled up all day. We've just got to get him on the ground when we get a chance and try to limit his big plays."

"He's one of the best running backs in the league," Urlacher continued. "He's fun to watch as long as you're not playing against him. He does some amazing stuff. He just does it all for them."

"We'll be tested against this guy," said Coach Dick Jauron. "He's a tremendous back, and he's not alone out there. They do an outstanding job."

Jauron is wrong. Tomlinson has been alone all year. Besides his obvious rushing skills, he leads the team in receptions. He has been the offense.

Brees has been stuck in the Bermuda Triangle, unseen – and no one is sure if he will be found again.

The Chargers have been in the Chicago area since Wednesday. Drew Brees thinks that is an advantage.

"It gives us a chance to practice in the conditions, in the wind and that sort of thing."

Blame has already started in San Diego. Fans and media alike are wondering whether Brees is the future of the franchise. They are blaming Brees for the offensive woes.

"There's a lot more that goes into it," backup QB Doug Flutie said.

His chances could be dwindling. Marty Schottenheimer is not pulling the trigger on him, but continued performances that don't produce results will make it hard not to.

Brees will face a young secondary this week. It is his time to start exploiting youth in the secondary as other teams have done to them.

"They have fun," middle linebacker Brian Urlacher said of the rookies in the secondary. "They fly around and they're always smiling. They don't know when they screw up."

"The rookies definitely stepped up," said rookie linebacker Joe Odom. "It's our jobs. You don't have the luxury of taking that redshirt year. When your number's called, you have to make something happen."

It is already week nine of the season. Rookies are becoming grizzled. Brees has the ability and needs results to take some pressure off LaDainian Tomlinson. If he doesn't, Miami games will become all too common for San Diego.

At least one Bear is on his heels this week. His choice of words was unintentional, but the message remains the same.

"They're going to be fired up coming in here." -- Bears DT Bryan Robinson

Brees needs to start "firing" passes and completing them. It would be a fitting tribute to San Diego.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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