Coach Mike Riley said Thursday that Moses Moreno will open at quarterback against the Chiefs.
"I think it's our best chance to win right now," Riley said. "This is obviously something that didn't happen in the last 24 hours. I've thought about it. It's a big move.
"One of our biggest goals was to be a productive team on offense. We haven't been. I think right now our team needs a spark."
In San Diego's opening losses to Oakland and New Orleans, Leaf threw five interceptions and had a 33.4 quarterback rating. He did throw a touchdown pass Sunday against the Saints.
"The Kansas City week has been bad for me, huh?" Leaf said, referring to a 1-for-15, five-turnover performance against the Chiefs during his rookie season.
"All three of us are capable of starting and winning for this ballclub. Jim (Harbaugh) and Moses have supported me through all this. I'm going to support Moses."
Moreno has seen limited action this season and has just one career start as a rookie with Chicago in 1998.
"It was a little shocking," Moreno said. "They have to make those decisions sometimes. He (Riley) looked me right in the eye and said, 'We feel confident, we feel comfortable with you in there.' That lets you know it's the real deal."
Riley stressed the move was based solely on performance, ending speculation that Leaf's rebuilt right shoulder was hurting or that he had been subordinate in any way.
"Absolutely not," Riley said. "I think for Ryan in the long run, and the team in the immediate, this is the right decision."
Leaf, the second pick overall in the 1998 draft, had a different take on his future.
"I don't think I'll be the starter again unless Moses goes down or is hurt," Leaf said. "It's not in my hands. I did the most I could to put myself out on the football field."
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