Future Uncertain at QB

On the surface, it's difficult to imagine the Chargers are worse off than their dreadful 2-9 record, something which is stark contrast to their opponent on Sunday, the 10-1 visiting Chiefs. But look below the surface, and there's a huge question which needs to be answered before the curtain falls on this disappointing year.

The Chargers, really, have no idea who their quarterback is next year. Is it Drew Brees? Most thought that was the case before he went 1-7 this year, throwing 12 interceptions against only seven touchdowns.

Is it Doug Flutie, the 41-year-old who gets his fourth start of the season on Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium?

Is it Eli Manning, the Mississippi whiz who'll be snatched at the top of next spring's draft, where the Chargers will be situated?

Hard to say. But what isn't is this team needs to get a better read on Brees. Which is why it is ludicrous to keep playing Flutie.

We know, it's the Marty Schottenheimer mantra: "Whoever gives us the best chance to win is going to play." But in looking at the big picture, what difference, really, does it make if the Chargers go 2-14 or 4-12? None. The playoffs, for the eighth straight year, will not include the Chargers. For the eighth straight year, the Chargers have blown any chance of earning a winning record.

Their hope is in the future, not the present. As tough as that might be for the organization to swallow, this season doesn't mean squat. What does have some meaning is finding out if Brees has regressed so badly that he'll never regain his touch, or that the 24-year-old is just going through the natural growing pains of any NFL quarterback. Either way, the Chargers have to discover that so it knows how to attack the offseason.

Whatever Brees is, or will become, the Chargers have no clue if he's left holding a clipboard for the final five games. The team should throw him back in there, and quickly.

It's not like Flutie is ripping up the league, with two losses in three starts. Sit Flutie back down, and get Brees some snaps. Or let Brees come in during the middle of the game, and let him take some reps. For him to waste away the rest of the season on the sidelines makes little sense for a team which has to sell its future to the fans, and not its sorry past or present.

If that ruffles Flutie's feathers, tough. Brees needs to spread his wings one last time, or this franchise may not take flight for years to come.


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