Doug or Drew? Stay tuned for Schottenheimer's decision

Updated: November 4, 2003, 1:42 PM ET
ESPN

SAN DIEGO -- A quarterback controversy on a team that's 1-7 normally wouldn't generate much attention.

But this one involves Doug Flutie, who's been playing pro football since 1985 and was embroiled in a divisive dispute with Rob Johnson during his three seasons with the Buffalo Bills.

Will the lowly San Diego Chargers stick with struggling Drew Brees at quarterback or let the energetic 41-year-old Flutie take over? Stay tuned, because coach Marty Schottenheimer isn't in any rush to say who's going start Sunday's home game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Flutie replaced Brees in the fourth quarter at Chicago on Sunday and at least pulled the Chargers within striking distance before San Diego lost 20-7. The possibility Flutie will be elevated was spiced up when defensive end Marcellus Wiley, who was with the Bills during the Flutie-Johnson clash, spoke out after Sunday's loss. He said it's time the Chargers went with Flutie.

Brees, 9-15 in his 1{ seasons as the starter, said he hopes he can hang onto his job, although Schottenheimer said it could be as late as Friday before he announces his decision.

Brees acknowledged the improvising Flutie gave the sad-sack Chargers -- they've lost 14 of their last 17 games -- a spark Sunday.

But, he added, "I'm sure after that people think, `Well, maybe Doug is the guy to drive this ship,' and I still feel like I'm the guy."

Brees has thrown five interceptions and no touchdown passes in the last three games. Overall this season, he's thrown 12 interceptions and seven TDs.

Brees had a rating of 26.8 Sunday after completing 7 of 15 passes for just 49 yards, with one interception. Six days earlier, he had three interceptions and a fumble that led to a safety in an embarrassing 26-10 loss to Miami.

Flutie was 8-of-11 for 70 yards and rushed for 19 yards on two carries, including a 17-yard scramble for San Diego's longest ground gain of the game.

"As far as I'm concerned, right now he's the starting quarterback of this team and I'm a role player," said the 5-foot-10 Flutie, who's gotten along well with Brees in their 2{ seasons together. "I don't expect anything. Marty said he will make a decision later in the week. I think that's primarily to keep Minnesota guessing."

Asked which way he was leaning, Schottenheimer smiled coyly and leaned to his right, without naming names.

Flutie hasn't started since 2001, when he was the first-stringer and the Chargers were 5-11, losing their last nine games.

Brees won the starting job at the beginning of last season. Flutie played only once in 2002, relieving an ineffective Brees in a loss at Buffalo.

The Chargers are just one loss shy of their eighth straight non-winning season.

Schottenheimer said he discussed Wiley's comments both with the defensive end and with the team.

"I was involved with a quarterback controversy that was 10 times the magnitude of this," Wiley said. "We don't want to create that again. They're going to make a decision and we're going to play. If we win with Drew, that's some good medicine for us. And if we win with Doug, that's some good medicine."

Wiley was asked what he thought Schottenheimer's decision would be.

"I think they will play Drew Flutie," he said, laughing. "You're not catching me, man. They'll play whoever they want to play. And right now, Drew is who you go home to. Whether it's going to be this week or whatever, that's who we go home to. You can't question that. You can just say what you think, and I said that yesterday. That's over, and I won't say that again."

Wiley, who has just one sack this year, discussed his comments on Monday with Brees.

Brees said he was "disappointed" with Wiley's comments, "because you want everybody in your corner."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index