|McCown replaces Culpepper as Raiders' starting quarterback|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 01 November 2007 12:46|
McCown, Oakland's opening day starter, replaces Daunte Culpepper, who has struggled to move the offense in recent weeks after taking over for McCown in Week 4.
``I felt Daunte played really well for us, but with Josh coming back and looking healthy again, we're going to go back with Josh,'' Raiders coach Lane Kiffin said Thursday.
McCown missed the past four games while recovering from a broken toe on his left foot suffered Sept. 23 against Cleveland. He only returned to practice last week and was a backup to Culpepper for the Raiders' 13-9 loss to Tennessee before Kiffin decided to make another switch at quarterback.
``I feel good,'' McCown said. ``I feel like I can play my game and do what I do, so I guess that's 100 percent. The best thing is I know I don't think about it while I'm out there so it doesn't factor in anything. It's feeling good.''
Oakland has lost three straight games since beginning the season 2-2. The offense, ranked 24th overall, has scored just 23 points during the skid after scoring 20 or more in the first four games of the season.
A big reason has been the play of Culpepper, the veteran quarterback who was released by Miami in the offseason before latching on with the Raiders early in training camp. Culpepper scored five touchdowns - three rushing, two passing - in a Sept. 23 win over the Dolphins but hasn't had much success moving the offense since.
During Oakland's three-game losing streak, Culpepper has thrown four interceptions and fumbled six times. In its past 35 possessions, the Raiders offense has punted 19 times while managing only two touchdowns and five field-goal attempts.
Kiffin defended Culpepper following the loss to Tennessee last week, saying the problems plaguing the Raiders offense weren't solely on the quarterback. But with Oakland on the verge of falling out of the hunt in the AFC West after leading the division earlier in the season, the team decided a change was needed.
``They're different quarterbacks,'' said Kiffin, adding that he doesn't expect Oakland's offense to change much with McCown at quarterback. ``There are different things that they do better than the other one. There are different things that we do with one than we do with the other.''
Kiffin informed both quarterbacks of his decision before practice.
``Daunte's fine,'' Kiffin said. ``I'm sure he wasn't pleased. I wouldn't expect him to be pleased. I wouldn't even expect him to agree but I would expect him to come out and work the way that he did today. He ran the service team really well and that's who he is, he's a professional.''
Culpepper will serve as McCown's backup while rookie JaMarcus Russell, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft last April, will be the Raiders' emergency quarterback.
McCown had passed for 494 yards and four touchdowns before getting hurt. His completion rate (64.7) put him among the league leaders at the time but McCown also threw five interceptions and has a rating of 75.2, making him an easy target for disgruntled Oakland fans.
``It is what it is,'' McCown said. ``We've got a job to do and to worry about the kind of reception ... We're 2-5. That's what I'm concerned with, that we're 2-5 and we need to get a win and that offensively we need to produce.''
Notes:The Raiders announced that Sunday's game against the Texans did not sell out ... DT Gerard Warren did not practice ... WR Ronald Curry (foot) was limited in Thursday's practice but is expected to play against Houston.