Upon Further Review: Week 3

The annual debacle in Denver is history, at least for 2004, and though the San Diego Chargers were actually competitive, the game seemingly poured lemon-juice on a wound that just won't heal.

The Charger passing game was dared, make that double-dared, to beat a Denver defense that put nine men-in-the-box (count em‚ if you want) to stop LaDainian Tomlinson from being LaDainian Tomlinson. Unfortunately Drew Brees was Drew Brees and the Bronco game-plan worked like a Maytag. Ironically, Philip Rivers is moving up on the depth-chart.

Monday's press conference revealed that head coach Marty Schottenheimer was contemplating elevating rookie quarterback Philip Rivers from third to second on the team's depth chart, bypassing veteran Doug Flutie as the probable first-to-enter should, or when, Brees falters.

"The starter remains the same. The (backup), it's possible we'll make a change," Schottenheimer said. "I don't want to get into who or what."

When pressed further Schottenheimer reneged saying: "If we do something, it would be Philip." He also said that in practice the starter receives roughly 80 percent of the reps while the backup gets 20 percent. It could change in event of the switch, with Rivers receiving about 25 percent of the snaps.

The move has been confirmed as fact and Rivers may be just a few Brees' turnovers from seeing his first regular season NFL action.

It is clear, and was even brought up at the press-conference, that the team is frustrated with the abysmal passing game. Patience is wearing thin.

If Brees‚ struggles continue against the Titans on Sunday, expect the non-sellout crowd to fill the pacific-ocean breeze with chants of R-i-v-e-r-s! R-i-v-e-r-s! R-i-v-e-r-s!

Enough has been written and said about the deficiencies of Brees, so I'll save us both some time. The bigger issue is Rivers and when to baptize the sidearm-slinger, NFL style. It's obvious that time is coming.

When asked what the biggest problem with the team is, Schottenheimer replied in one word: "Inconsistency." Is there any more evidence of that than in the play of his quarterback?

Schottenheimer said he makes decisions based on what gives the team the best chance to win for that particular week. Barring a miraculous change of fortune, he won't be able to justify starting Brees for much longer.

Could the passing game be any worse, even with a rookie at the helm? There's only one way to find out.

Lightning Quicks

-Even though Flutie will be the emergency quarterback, it's possible for him, and not Rivers, to come on in relief of Brees. It would be risky if done before the fourth quarter, for if Flutie were injured, long-snapper David Binn would probably be forced to play quarterback because of NFL rules.

-The Chargers face another stiff test in lanky Titan running back Chris Brown (6-3, 220). Brown's upright running-style reminds some of Eric Dickerson. Brown has carried the ball 65 times for 353 yards (5.4ypc) with two touchdowns in three games. On Sunday he broke the Jaguars league-leading streak of 17 games without allowing a 100 yard rusher.

-In comparison, Tomlinson has carried 67 times for 268 yards (4.0ypc) with a pair of scores.

Will-full Wisdom

In the house of fortune if you enter by the gate of pleasure you must leave by that of sorrow, and vice versa. You ought therefore to think of the finish, and attach more importance to a happy exit than to applause on entrance. - Balthasar Gracian, 1637

Will Mortensen can be reached at will@sandiegosports.net

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