The San Diego Chargers went 4-12 during the 2003 season and drafted Philip Rivers in the 2004 NFL Draft to replace the struggling Drew Brees. Fast forward to 2011: Drayton Florence, a member of that 2003 Chargers squad, sees similarities between that version of Drew Brees and his current quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Florence made the comment Monday afternoon during his regular appearance on WGR 550 with Mike Schopp and Chris "Bulldog" Parker. He likened the struggling Chargers to the Buffalo Bills that he played with in 2011, but specifically mentioned Fitzpatrick's similarities to Brees.
Brees was in his second season as the starting quarterback in San Diego, much like Fitzpatrick in Buffalo. Local media and fans were calling for Brees' replacement and a complete overhaul of the team. While Brees started only 11 games in 2003, you can begin to see Florence's point after the jump.
Fitzpatrick taking the next step into his third year at the helm doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility. Brees was able to significantly improve all his numbers in 2004. Most importantly, he was able to limit his mistakes, throwing for half as many picks while playing in 50 percent more games.
The 2004 season was Brees' first Pro Bowl selection, and the last time he threw less than 500 attempts.
It may be unfair to Fitzpatrick to make the comparison, though. Brees was 24 years old in 2003, and Fitzpatrick was 29 and on his third different team in 2011. Take it with a grain of salt, Bills fans, because a similar comparison could be made for J.P. Losman's second season as the starter in Buffalo.