Brees gaining momentum

Remember those days - not that long ago - when the Chargers couldn't wait to replace quarterback Drew Brees?

It was the off-season leading into the 2004 season, and the Chargers did everything but lob a phone call to Dan Fouts in Oregon looking for an upgrade at Brees' position. They ended up trading for rookie Philip Rivers, but he has never gotten off the bench because of Brees' strong play.

Brees continues to shine, and he did just that in Sunday's win over the Chiefs. He threw for a season-high 324 yards and tossed three touchdowns as the Chargers reached the .500 mark before heading east to play the Jets on Sunday.

"I'm very pleased with him," general manager A. J. Smith said. "He's becoming a true professional and, becoming an outstanding quarterback. I'm very pleased where he is in his career."

That career could have him staying put in San Diego: It's believed Smith will pick either Brees or Rivers to be his quarterback of the future in the off-season. And would he really chase away a polished product like Brees for the unknown of Rivers?

Probably not, though Smith isn't saying at this point. But the point is, Brees, who's rated No. 6 among NFL quarterbacks, is taking his place among the league's most reliable players. He has completed 63 percent of passes this season for 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

"He has a far better understanding of everything," coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "I think where he is at his best now is his ability to manage the game, and that only comes with playing the game."


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