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NOTEBOOK : Who Will Start at Quarterback? The Issue Will Come Up Again

September 07, 1992|T.J. SIMERS and DAVE McKIBBEN

SAN DIEGO — When Coach Bobby Ross named Bob Gagliano the team's starting quarterback a week ago, he said Gagliano would not lose his starting job if relieved by Stan Humphries, because everybody can have an off day.

Ross replaced Gagliano with Humphries late in the third quarter Sunday against the Chiefs. Who will start against Denver this week?

It can be argued that it was the Charger offensive line that had an off day Sunday, contributing to Gagliano's demise. Gagliano was under siege almost the entire game and was sacked five times--something that hasn't happened to a Charger quarterback since 1989, when the Jets sacked Billy Joe Tolliver five times.

Will Ross make a change this week?

"It's something that I think about," Ross said. "It's not a finger of blame at Bob as much as it is to look at the film and see if it's warranted. Some of the times it's a matter of making a change for change's sake. That isn't always the fairest."

Gagliano completed seven of 20 passes for 55 yards and with two interceptions. Chief cornerback Kevin Ross turned one interception into a 99-yard return for a touchdown--the second longest by an opponent in Charger history.

Cincinnati's Louis Breeden returned a Dan Fouts' pass 102 yards for a touchdown in 1981.

"I didn't want to take the sack in that situation," explained Gagliano. "I tried to get the ball to Ronnie Harmon. He almost made a great catch, but it turned out differently."

After the Kansas City's Ross scored, the Chargers' Ross told Humphries to start warm up.

Humphries' first pass was dropped by Kansas City defender Charles Mincy. His second pass was dropped by Charger receiver Nate Lewis.

Humphries found the mark on the next possession and drove the Chargers to score. He finished the game going seven of 10 for 62 yards and an interception.

*

Ross said the most seriously hurt Charger was running back Marion Butts, who suffered a sprained knee and ankle. Butts, who had his leg wrapped, said he will have to wait and see about his chances of playing next week.

Starting right tackle Broderick Thompson suffered a bruised sternum and wide receiver Walter Stanley was poked in the eye.

Linebacker Billy Ray Smith injured his hamstring. Ross said he would consider placing Smith on injured reserve and adding the recently acquired linebacker Kevin Murphy to the roster.

*

On the first play of the third quarter, Dave Krieg turned left to give Williams the ball, but Williams had broken right. Krieg kept the ball and gained four yards. On the next play, Krieg got the ball to Williams, who ran right for no gain.

"I thought David did a pretty good job," said Kansas City Coach Marty Schottenheimer. "We didn't have a whole lot of success running the ball (61 yards on 28 carries). We still have some growing to do offensively."

Linebacker Junior Seau jumped high to intercept a Krieg pass in the third quarter.

"The interception he threw was a great play by a great linebacker," Schottenheimer said. "He had a guy open and made the throw and I don't know how Seau got so high off the ground.

"When great players make plays I don't think you ever fault the guy on the other side. Seau just made an unbelievable play."

Seau had an interception his rookie year and then again last year, but in each case they were negated by penalties. After returning his interception 22 yards Sunday he turned quickly and looked up field, but found no yellow flags.

"This one counts," he said.

Seau was also credited with 1 1/2 sacks, as was Burt Grossman.

*

The Chargers were two for 13 on third down tries and averaged 2.6 yards an offensive play. The averaged 1.9 yards a pass play.

Dale Carter's 46-yard punt return for a touchdown was the first against the Chargers since K.C. Clark went 71 yards for Denver in the snow in 1987.

"I dove at his legs and missed," Charger punter John Kidd said. "I think he runs a 4.3 so I don't know if Steve Hendrickson would have caught him, but I ended up hitting Steve right in the knee and knocking him down.

"It wasn't a very good start."

*

Defensive tackle Blaise Winter was well aware of Krieg's penchant for drawing overeager defensive lineman offside with his cadence. But that didn't stop Winter from jumping offside on a crucial fourth-and-two play in the second quarter.

The five-yard penalty gave Kansas City a first down. Seven plays later, the Chiefs kicked a field goal.

"We were aware going into the game that he had good voice inflection," Winter said. "There's no excuse for it. It's an error. I have learn by it.

"You know you did something wrong. I feel lousy about it. But what am I going to do, go under the bench and hide all afternoon? No I'm going to try to find a way to make something else happen to make up for my blunder."

Said defensive coordinator Bill Arnsparger: "It's difficult to take. I'm sure everybody in the stadium knew what they were trying to do. We knew it too. But (Krieg) does a great job at it. You can't fault aggressiveness."

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