2006 preview: Chargers hand keys to Rivers

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Still Chargin
Staff member
Mar 5, 2006

The Chargers allowed former Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees to walk as a free agent, citing medical concerns after he underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum and rotator-cuff damage in his throwing shoulder.

Now the starting job falls to 2004 first-round draft choice Philip Rivers, who has no starts and only 30 pass attempts in his NFL career. He has tremendous upside, but there are questions about how long it will take him to get comfortable.

If Rivers can effectively manage games while finding his way, the Chargers should have an excellent chance of reaching the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. If he struggles, San Diego likely will be home in January.

If that sounds like a lot of pressure on Rivers, well, it's noting compared with what coach Marty Schottenheimer is facing.

Club president Dean Spanos has said he expects a deep run in the playoffs, and GM A.J. Smith has yet to miss an opportunity to question the abilities of the sideline boss he inherited in 2003. Talk about a tough situation.

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