Offseason shaping up

While sentiment resides in the notion the San Diego Chargers need help on the offensive side of the ball, all may not be as desperate as it appears. Despite growing concern inside the Chargers front office about the quarterback position, adding playmakers and depth looks to be the plan for the off-season.

Far from being sold on Drew Brees as the team's starting quarterback, the Chargers have yet to seriously explore other options. Disappointed in his inability to cease the opportunity last season to lead the team, Brees is not the forgotten man in San Diego, despite overtures the team is seeking an established veteran signal-caller.

Acquiring a veteran quarterback appears to be the sensible security blanket of General Manager AJ Smith and head coach Marty Schottenheimer. Notably in the case of Schottenheimer, the youthful and relatively inexperienced Brees cast a questioning shadow upon his leadership skills last season. On numerous occasions, Schottenheimer expressed frustration about the team's lack of discipline, production, and execution last season.

Other corners within the organization believe Schottenheimer has used Brees as a scapegoat for the team's offensive struggles.

Leading a contingent of San Diego personnel, Smith has been evaluating quarterback prospects from the college level, as well as checking into the potential availability of veteran signal-callers.

Rumored to have an interest in veteran Mark Brunell, the Chargers are not serious players in what is becoming a one-horse race to obtain the longtime Jacksonville quarterback. From a distance, we have been told the Chargers are watching what transpires in Miami with Jay Fiedler, in Cleveland with Tim Couch, and in San Francisco with Jeff Garcia.

The likelihood of the Chargers selecting a quarterback with the first selection in the 2004 draft remains a remote possibility. Sources close to the Chargers have the team focusing on a wide receiver, offensive lineman, or defensive player. Though, the serious inkling is the team will ultimately deal out of the first-pick of the draft.

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