Charger Notebook : Saunders Isn’t Ready to Pass Judgment on Laufenberg

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Quarterback Babe Laufenberg brought the Chargers back from a 18-point deficit to a 24-21 victory Saturday night in the exhibition opener against Dallas, but Charger coach Al Saunders is certainly not ready to hand him the starting job.

“It was only one game,” Saunders said. “He did the same thing with Washington, and then he didn’t make the team. I’m not saying that will happen here, but the point I’m making is it’s only one game and one situation. He was put in the game this week to see how he would finish. He certainly finished well and passed that test with flying colors. We’ve got to see how he performs in a starting role, and we’ve got to see how the other quarterbacks we have do when they’re put in the role of finishing a game.”

Saunders said he will not name the starting quarterback for Saturday’s exhibition game against the Rams until the middle of the week. The formula, though, will be the same as in the opener against Dallas: one quarterback will start the game, another will start the second half and a third will relieve in the second half.


The Chargers escaped the Dallas game with two minor injuries.

Linebacker Gary Plummer suffered a sprained knee and will be out 7 to 10 days. Running back Barry Redden bruised a forearm. X-rays on Redden’s arm were negative.

Linebacker Chip Banks continues to be conspicuous by his absence from training camp.

According to agent Harold Daniels, Banks is holding out for a $300,000 reporting bonus in 1990.

“He said he either wants the $300,000 or he wants to be traded,” Daniels said Sunday when reached by telephone. “And he said if they won’t trade him, he’ll retire.”

Daniels said he had last spoken with his client Saturday.

“I don’t see why they won’t give it to him,” Daniels said. “He might not even be around by then.”

Efforts to reach Banks Sunday were unsuccessful.

Charger Notes

The team received high marks from Coach Al Saunders for its conduct on the field. The Chargers were whistled for five penalties for 35 yards. The Cowboys were assessed 11 penalties for 82 yards. “That shows good discipline,” Saunders said of his team. “It’s good from the standpoint of not doing things to beat ourselves.” . . . The coaching staff will be watching receiver Darren Flutie closely in the final three exhibition games. “Darren Flutie came in here with not many people giving him much of a chance to make the football team, but he’s impressed us in training sessions and certainly took advantage of his opportunities in the game to do a real fine job,” Saunders said.