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To Take Some of the Heat Off, Laufenberg Needs to Get Hot

Times Staff Writer

The heat is on Charger quarterback Babe Laufenberg. He is more aware of it than anybody. He tries not to think about it. He admits it’s impossible not to.

The Chargers have scored five offensive touchdowns in five games. And Laufenberg’s quarterback rating has dipped to 61.2. In two of the Chargers’ past four games--both losses to Denver--Laufenberg hasn’t been around at the end.

“I feel like I’m playing better,” Laufenberg said Thursday. “It just hasn’t shown up on the scoreboard.”

Charger Coach Al Saunders said, “We have confidence that Babe’s going to continue to get better.”

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It’s just that it’s hard to improve, much less retain your starting job ahead of backup Mark Malone, when only 2 of the other 10 offensive starters were regular players last year.

“They make quarterback changes all the time,” Laufenberg said. “Nothing would surprise me. But I don’t think our only problem is behind the center.

“I can’t be thinking I have to go out there and start taking home run shots. That will just get you into trouble in the long run. What we have to do is score points, and that always comes back to the quarterback, for better or worse. But I can’t allow myself to sit here and think I have to win this game all by myself.”

The Chargers (2-3) play New Orleans (4-1) Sunday at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.

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