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 ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) -Lane Kiffin narrowed his choice for a starting quarterback down to two players on Monday but the Oakland Raiders coach still isn't ready to announce his decision.
Josh McCown and Daunte Culpepper, both of whom started preseason games, will continue to split reps with the Raiders' first offense in practice this week. Both will also share time in Thursday's preseason finale in Seattle, with McCown starting and Culpepper coming in as his backup.
Beyond that, however, Kiffin isn't making any commitments.
``It's become a two-man race,'' Kiffin said. ``We'll let both guys play in this game. I don't have the exact reps (but) we'll play it by ear. We're still going to evaluate the two of them for the starting job.''
Both quarterbacks have started one game each in the preseason. McCown got the call against Arizona on Aug. 11 while Culpepper took his turn last week against St. Louis.
The two have also put up similar numbers. McCown, who arrived in a draft day trade with Detroit has completed 19 of 35 passes (54.3 percent) for 277 yards and has a 80.3 rating. Culpepper, signed on July 31 after being released by Miami, is 15 of 28 (53.6 percent) for 200 yards, three touchdowns, and owns a rating of 112.2.
With less than two weeks before the season-opener against Detroit on Sept. 9, time is running out for Kiffin to make a decision. The Raiders' first-year coach had hoped to have a starter named by now but said the evaluation of both quarterbacks will continue through practice and the game in Seattle.
``You're going to take all the information into account,'' Kiffin said. ``Those two have gone first, second, or third in games so they've played a number of reps behind the second line or with the second receivers, tight ends and stuff. Its no different as far as what you're evaluating.''
McCown spoke with reporters briefly inside the Raiders' locker room following practice Monday while Culpepper politely declined to talk and instead dressed quietly at his stall a few feet away from his teammate.
``I don't think anybody's played a perfect game yet,'' McCown said. ``We just try to improve and make that better and do the things that you do well, and hopefully make it an easy choice one way or the other. I think that's what every guy is trying to do that's involved in this situation.''
The odd man out in the quarterback rotation is Andrew Walter. Walter, a third-round pick in 2005, started against San Francisco on Aug. 18 but passed for only 154 yards and had a rating of just 69.5 in the preseason.
``This is not a reflection of Andrew playing poor,'' Kiffin said. ``This is a reflection of the other guys, in my opinion, putting us in a better position to win.''
Notes: C Jeremy Newberry practiced after sitting out Sunday's workout. Newberry and Jake Grove will split reps with the starting offense against Seattle. ... Kiffin named Tommy Kelly the team's starting right defensive end. ... TEs John Madsen (hamstring), O.J. Santiago (hamstring), Tony Stewart (back) and S Donovin Darius (leg) were held out of practice.

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