McCown on thin ice

Josh McCown understands he will be getting a home-field disadvantage, but it beats sitting on the bench.

Despite a passing game that coach Lane Kiffin called "embarrassing" in a 23-20 overtime loss to the Denver Broncos, McCown will get his third consecutive start, injury permitting, Sunday against the Cleveland Browns at McAfee Coliseum.

McCown was 8-for-16 for just 78 yards and had only one pass that did any real damage, a 46-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Porter in the third quarter. Daunte Culpepper will remain on the bench for at least another week despite McCown having thrown three interceptions, two to Dre Bly and one to Champ Bailey, and misfiring on a fourth-quarter deep pass to Porter that could have been a gain deep into Denver territory and a potential win in regulation play.

McCown was booed in the season opener against Detroit, a game in which he recovered from a slow start to complete 30 of 40 passes for 313 yards. He realizes that given his performance in the loss to Denver, the fan reaction will be more intense.

"They pay their money and they're entitled to root for the guy they want," McCown said. "I don't get caught up in it because it does me no good. This is something they go and watch, and get enjoyment from. This is my life, my job. As much pressure as they put on me, their standard does not even come close to the standard I put on myself."

Kiffin pointed to "little things" that have to do with McCown's game management, his ability to get the team in and out of the huddle and into good situations, and his skill at evading pressure. "Right now, I feel he puts us in the better position to win," Kiffin said. "Will I feel that way next Monday? I don't know."

Kiffin said he expects McCown to play better, and would be comfortable going with Culpepper if necessary. "When the time comes that Daunte plays, I'm going to be excited for us because he brings us something different," Kiffin said. "Does he have the offense down as much as Josh? No, he doesn't, but he can do some other things better than Josh. When the time comes that Daunte plays, I'll be the first one cheering him in there."


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