A Whole New World

Marty Schottenheimer named Doug Flutie the starter for Sunday's Denver game to a stunned group of reporters on Monday. Stunned because he always beats around the bush. Sunday night he was not ready to name Flutie. After allowing the team to celebrate the win Sunday, the choice was obvious.

It is a different world when this San Diego Chargers team is winning. Laughter is more prevalent, the mood lightens up and jokes fly even out of the mouth of Marty Schottenheimer.

"It is amazing how fast the mood changes in our business," Schottenheimer agreed. "It was terrific to be back at home. The fans can always make a difference and I think they did. It was an exciting football game."

It was the first exciting game of the season for the San Diego Chargers. Sure they won once before, but this game defied everything the team had done this year. Instead of the mule, we got the racehorse this week.

"Everybody offensively played better. The best thing we can do is put together a stream of wins. That is what will serve the team best."

Winning brings on confidence. Confidence puts players where they are supposed to be and starts the bounces falling in the direction of San Diego.

It started at the top with Doug Flutie and the trickle down effect was more than evident.

"There is an element about Doug and players look at it – perception is reality. Whatever you believe to be true probably is. His ability to create was a significant part of our offensive performance."

"He's a great competitor, and he gave them a spark," said Mike Tice.

"Think of all the great games he's played … I don't want to take anything away from him out there today," said Vikings safety Brian Russell. "Doug Flutie is a good quarterback."

On naming Doug the starter for the rest of the season: "We will take it one week at a time," said Schottenheimer.

It will get tougher to not name Flutie if the team continues winning. This is only one game, however. One small battle does not win this war. A good game next week will solidify Doug Flutie's spot as an effective quarterback and leader. The defensive side feeds off the offense and vice versa. Momentum from game to game will change, but this is a rallying point.

The win in Cleveland seemed more an inevitable event. With LaDainian Tomlinson and the talent assembled it was only natural that they would eventually pull one out.

Sunday was different. It has started something. Maybe it is just indigestion. A release of gas. You get the feeling it was something real, something tangible.

"The important thing for us is to find ways to win football games because that will set us up for the future," Schottenheimer said.

The future could include more changes as the sparks continue to fly. It started with Flutie, but there are some deserving players who need extended exposure. Those guys may get their chances if the wins continue.

"Winning breeds winning," Schottenheimer added. "That is what we are about. Whoever gives us the best opportunity to win; those are the players we will play. I am not interested in rebuilding programs. Whoever gives us the best opportunity to win at any position is the one we would play."

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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