Brees Ready to Prove Himself

San Diego chargers quarterback Drew Brees was happy to be back in the saddle when he chatted with the Pittsburgh media by telephone this week. Historically it takes time for a young quarterback to develop in the National Football League and Brees is no exception. <br><br> He was benched early last month because of his struggles on the field.

At the time of his demotion, Drew Brees had gone three games without a touchdown pass and had failed to get the offense on the scoreboard through three quarters against the Bears in Chicago on Nov. 2. Coach Marty Schottenheimer went with Doug Flutie in the fourth quarter that day, then started the 41-year-old the past five weeks.

Brees returned last Sunday in a 38-21 loss to Green Bay. He threw for a career-high 363 yards and two touchdowns, but also turned the ball over three times, including once at the Chargers' 1 in the fourth quarter.

Schottenheimer said Drew Brees will remain as the Chargers' starting quarterback for Sunday in Pittsburgh and probably in the team's finale next week against Oakland.

"My sense was that Drew needed an opportunity to step back from it and maybe take some of the load off of him and the pressure he was feeling and let him look at it from a different perspective," Schottenheimer said. "Once that time elapsed, we went ahead to Drew."

Brees is just grateful to be back at No. 1. "Of course it is a disappointing thing to get pulled," he said. "Looking back on it, I probably deserved it, but after being out for five weeks I wanted to get myself back into the lineup and I tried to learn from the experience and do everything I could to get back in. Now getting my opportunity this past week and for the rest of the season I am trying to take full advantage of it. It feels good to be back in the lineup."

Brees went out of his way to praise the veteran Flutie and what he has been able to garner from him.

"Doug has been great," Brees explained. "This is our third year together and I sat behind him my rookie year when he started the entire season. I started all of last year. We have gotten equal time while we have been here together. He is my style of quarterback. A guy who likes to have fun, who runs around and tries to make plays. I think there is a lot to be learned because he is not your typical quarterback. He has had to use his strengths being 5-foot-9. We are not the 6-foot-3 pocket passing kind of guys who just stand in there and can see downfield. We like to run around and we feel like that is what can help us win and that is part of our strength. There are a lot of things that I have learned from him."

For now Brees is at the helm of the Chargers and hopes to help them finish strong in what has been a disappointing season.

"We are disappointed as hell," Brees said. "We had so many expectations coming into the season. We felt like we had young talent. We are a young team and we have had our injuries like anyone else. At times offensively, it was disappointing for us because we have moved the ball up and down the field for most of the season, but our third down efficiency has been pretty poor the entire season. We are starting to pick that up, but our red zone efficiency has not been very good and we have turned the ball over too much. That is what has caused us to lose. Other than that we drive the ball up and down the field."


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