The season in review: Quarterbacks

The San Diego Chargers season came to an abrupt end after an 8-8 season. The future may look bright for them but not all is rosy after starting the season 6-1 and still missing the playoffs. Here is a look at the future and the year that happened at quarterback.


Drew Brees finished his first season as the Chargers starting quarterback and had the growing year many expected. Brees went 320 of 526 for a 60.8 completion percentage, and totaled 3,284 yards through the air. He also became the first player since Stan Humphries in 1996 to finish the season with more touchdown passes (17) than interceptions (16).

Brees had an up and down year and delivered a few comeback wins which have followed him to the Pros from his college days back in Purdue. His first 200+ yard passing game of the year came in week 5, a loss to Denver, which also happened to be the Chargers first loss of the season. Those numbers suggest the load went to LaDainian Tomlinson to give Brees a breather as he began his life in the NFL.

In week 6 he had his first 300+ yard passing game of the season as he led the Chargers back from a 24-14 deficit to get the victory 35-34. Slowly through the rest of the year his stats climbed as he began to feel a comfort level with his receivers, despite being without Curtis Conway for the last few games of the season.

Brees has a tough offseason ahead. He knows the Chargers should have made the playoffs and shoulders the blame. The biggest area he needs to develop is touch. He has had some difficulty in getting the ball to his receivers on deep routes, often putting too much air under the ball, or leading a receiver to far. There were times during the year he was slow to deliver a ball, something that will come as confidence grows with his receiving core. There were also times he needed to zip a ball into an open man, and he lobbed it up, making it a jump ball which would often fall incomplete. He also must play safe in the red zone. Twice he underfed his receiver in the end zone and it resulted in a pick, and more importantly, a loss of 7 crucial points. Down in the red zone he must deliver the ball to only a spot his receiver can make a play.

His pocket awareness is solid as he was able to deliver the ball safely before taking a sack. He is also developing a solid rapport with rookie Eric Parker, after relying on Curtis Conway for much of the season. These developing trends will help him in year two.

Look for a more balanced attack as Brees hits some deep routes next year which will open up holes for the running game.

Doug Flutie saw action in one game, fittingly in Buffalo. He replaced Brees with a little over 8 minutes to go in the game and tried to spread his magic. On the first play he hit Conway down the middle of the field for a long gain made possible by the acrobatics and concentration of Conway. In the end his luster is gone and on the wrong side of 40, and with a hefty contract, he may not return next season. He has never complained about his role, and has really helped Brees pick up things this year. With his lack of height, Flutie brings intangibles to the game that he can continue to teach Brees, maybe at a coaching level.


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