Tale of the Tape

In the red corner, bloodied and wounded, this man hails from the isles of wind as the ball regularly has too much air under it, and other times none at all, Drew Brees. <br><br> In the old corner, from the land of leprechauns where the magic is plentiful and people are often seen scampering through the forest of tall trees with odd music in the background, Doug Flutie.

Marty Schottenheimer has pulled his best move of the season. It only took until the tenth week for it to air. Holding off on a decision for his starting quarterback between Doug Flutie and Drew Brees was a smart move.

Schottenheimer knew his choice Monday when he woke up. Yet Thursday he was more than willing to "let the speculation continue!"

This is the most press the San Diego Chargers have garnered since the much-ballyhooed offseason. And it almost seems positive.

Schottenheimer has said there are distinct differences between Brees and Flutie. He is right, but Mike Tice is not so sure it matters.

"Brees is good on the move they try to give him some vision, he is not real tall so they try and give him some vision outside. They run the ball a lot when (Brees) is in there."

Does Tice have the Chargers playbook?

"If Flutie is in there, they will play action and throw the ball more. He sees the field a little bit better, gets the ball out of his hands a little quicker. Still moves pretty good and he is not a tall guy either so they have to get him outside the pocket.

"We do have a tall defensive front so that will bode well for us."

The diminutive quarterbacks in San Diego always face that problem. They are active on rollouts so their game plan won't change much.

"But we have got to stop the run." said Tice. "If we can't stop the run than we wont beat them."

Stopping the run also means containing the pocket if Flutie is in the game. Brees may be mobile, but he rarely turns it upfield.

"I played with Flutie in Buffalo for awhile," Ken Irvin said. "I know what type of a player he is. He is definitely a guy that if nobody is there and he sees any type of opening he will take the ball down and run and make plays with his feet as well. He has that ability.

His thoughts are vaguely familiar – something regarding his own quarterback's ability to do the same thing.

"We are not going to just put nine men up in the box and just stop the run," Irvin said. "We just have to be sound and that is the key no matter if you are playing man to man or zone or whatever. We have to be sound and be in the right gap and have the right coverage, know our assignments and be in the position that we need to be in to make the plays. That will solve everything for us if we just get back to the fundamentals and the basics that makes us a good football team."

Besides the potential for quarterback scrambles, the offense still revolves around LaDainian Tomlinson.

"He is a great running back," running back Michael Bennett. "He has been the backbone of that team so far."

With all the attention given to the Brees vs. Flutie action this week, Tomlinson could have a big day. As Bennett said, he is the backbone – the heart and soul of the team. It won't really matter who Schottenheimer announces as the quarterback if he does not see the ball.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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