The Justice Files

I can certainly understand why all the wire services would be carrying stories about Nate Kaeding after last week's game. What I can't fathom, however, is where all these Brees/Rivers stories are coming from. I spotted something on SportsCenter Sunday night, but was in a bar where the sound wasn't on. Yesterday, one of my friends alerted me to the "Drew or Philip?" piece written by Charles Robinson for Yahoo! Sports.

Of course, the closer you get to the Chargers you realize that this "controversy" is complete bullcrap. In fact, the aforementioned article actually admits as much. I know that the Fifth Estate (I apologize for erroneously referencing the Fourth last week) needs a juicy plot line for each team at this time of the year.

There's nothing real catchy for anyone but Charger fans about a team that retained the majority of its roster and shored up its squad with draftees and no-name free agents. But while I've learned (as I admitted after the Merriman signing) that we never really know what's going on with the team, it seems like those outside The Legion Of The Lightning Bolt know even less.

Philip Rivers definitely looked a lot more comfortable as the game wore on. He looked good throwing the short passes, which Brees couldn't do for three seasons. But this was the Packers defense, and the scrubs to boot. Rivers clearly has talent. He even showed some of that mobility we all heard about when he was drafted. But, barring injury, he is not going to challenge for the starting job this year. If Brees falters, would Marty be tempted to put Rivers in as a short-term solution, a lá Flutie?

I could envision him putting Rivers in on a day where Brees just couldn't get it going. If it was clear that Brees was the reason we were going to lose, I think Marty would bench him. But Brees would have suck for an extended period of time to lose his job, and subsequently his shot at a long-term contract from the Bolts, in 2005. Any change at quarterback this season would be to salvage one Sunday, in a season where wins will be precious.

Bill Parcells used to make such changes when he was with the Jets. It's like bringing in a relief pitcher. That being said, there's no question that we'll need to maximize every chance for victory this season. The ESPN boys reminded everyone of how many time the Bolts will have to come east in the coming year.

This is what makes Kaeding's struggles last week so troubling. The Organization is saying all the right things about sticking by him.

But we can't afford to carry a liability with so many tough games on the schedule. I don't think we're paying him that much money that he's untouchable in terms of being replaced. I had to laugh when I read Schottenheimer say in Martyspeak that the Chargers couldn't really bring in competition to light a fire under Kaeding because he only "competes against himself."

Of course, Joe Theismann (I can't get the image of him drooling over a satin jumpsuited Daisy Duke in Cannonball Run II out of my head) was quick to declare Kaeding a "head case." That guy really does love the sound of his own voice, doesn't he?

I think Brett Favre deserves all the praise in the world, but there isn't any left after the ESPN booth finishes stroking him. I honestly believe that Brett Favre could kill a drifter, and he would win a humanitarian award the next day. He's such a competitor, that guy.

-RLW


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