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Old 09-01-2004   #27
RTP2110
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Chargers still unsure about quarterback situation
Sept. 1, 2004
SportsLine.com wire reports

SAN FRANCISCO -- While most teams will rest their starting quarterback as much as possible in the final exhibition game this week, the San Diego Chargers are still trying to figure out who theirs is.

Heading into Thursday night's game against the San Francisco 49ers, the competition between rookie Philip Rivers and Drew Brees remains wide open even though Rivers has been in camp less than two weeks.

"We really don't have to make that decision right now," coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "The competition is still open and I'm not going to handicap it just yet."

Brees has started the past two years, but the team soured on him when he threw 15 interceptions and only 11 touchdowns last season, finishing as the AFC's 15th-rated quarterback.

Rivers is clearly the quarterback of the future after San Diego got him from the New York Giants in a deal for Eli Manning after the Giants had taken him with the fourth pick. But a contract dispute led to a holdout and Rivers missed 29 practices and two exhibition games, seemingly pushing that future off.

Rivers made his first pro appearance last week against Seattle, going 5-for-14 for 79 yards in two interceptions in a rough debut.

"You learn from it," Rivers said. "I didn't want to struggle and throw the picks. I didn't expect to do that, but I was prepared that if I hit some bumps that I got to understand that. It's part of it. Not be satisfied with it, but know it's part of it."

Brees is 26-of-40 for 361 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions in three exhibition contests and is hoping to keep the starting role.

"Obviously, that is a decision Marty is going to make," Brees said. "He told Philip and I from the beginning that it is going to be a competition."



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