Raiders QB controversy back on?

Daunte Culpepper might be losing his grip on the Raiders' starting quarterback job. With Josh McCown hoping to practice with Oakland's starting offense this week, coach Lane Kiffin isn't saying who will get the call against Tennessee.

A day after a mistake-filled 12-10 loss to Kansas City that dropped them to 2-4, the Raiders spent the morning watching film and pondering a game they let slip away despite leading in the fourth quarter for the fifth time this season.

But the most intriguing issue to come out of Monday's press conference was Kiffin's refusal to confirm whether Culpepper would retain his starting job. The veteran quarterback passed for a season-high 228 yards and one touchdown against the Chiefs but was intercepted on Oakland's final series when the team was trying to move into position for a potential game-winning field goal attempt.

Culpepper took over the starting job when McCown broke the big toe on his left foot. In the three games since then, he has amassed a quarterback rating of 82.2 that is 21st among NFL quarterbacks while throwing four touchdowns and three interceptions.

More critically, the Raiders have lost two straight games with Culpepper at quarterback after winning his initial start with Oakland.

That's why Kiffin was cryptic with his reply when asked whether Culpepper had done enough to retain the starting job.

"We don't know that yet. We haven't practiced yet," Kiffin said. "And we'll have more injury information for you tomorrow."

Actually, he meant Wednesday when the Raiders will re-assemble for practice. It's at that point where Kiffin will allegedly make his choice known, at least to the players.

McCown is also 1-2 as a starter this season and had four touchdowns and five interceptions before he got hurt. Though he completed nearly 65 percent of his passes, McCown's quarterback rating of 75.2 and a lack of punch by the passing game quickly put him in the doghouse of many Raider fans.

McCown only recently got out of a walking boot and returned to practice on a limited basis last week. He did not suit up against the Chiefs but is hoping to return to practice full time on Wednesday.

"The bottom line is you put the best players in that can help you win at that time," Kiffin said. "And so on that given Sunday, who do we feel can help us win? And that's who we'll play."


SB Report Top Stories