Culpepper Hoping to Rebound in Week 2

Former Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper looked rusty in his first game as a Miami Dolphin, and he admitted some of his mistakes helped give the game away. He's looking to improve against in Miami this weekend.

Daunte Culpepper's second game for the Dolphins is shaping up a lot better than his debut.

Culpepper enters Sunday's match-up with visiting Buffalo seeking improvement after an uneven performance in a 28-17 loss at Pittsburgh in the regular-season opener. Culpepper's 49.6 quarterback rating was largely the result of inaccurate passing (48.6 completion percentage) and two fourth-quarter interceptions, the second of which was returned by Steelers linebacker Joey Porter for the game-clinching touchdown with 2:59 remaining.

The Dolphins didn't surrender an interception for a touchdown in 2005.

"Not to take anything away from the Steelers, but if some of the mistakes we made we make against anybody, you put yourself at risk of losing," Culpepper said Wednesday. "They're a great team, but it's really about us executing our game plan and doing what we have to do, whether it's me making the right read or anything like that. It's all about taking the proper steps so you can be successful."

Clearly, Culpepper has taken giant steps in his recovery just being out on the field already since tearing three ligaments in his right knee last October. Culpepper, though, was clearly rusty against Pittsburgh and still hasn't developed strong chemistry with his receivers.

"You've got to put your feet in good position to throw correctly and be accurate," said Culpepper, who completed 18 of 37 passes for 262 yards. "Sometimes I felt like I was rushing a little bit for whatever reason. That was really the first time I got a chance to play at that speed for a full game (since the injury)."

Dolphins coach Nick Saban said he wasn't disappointed in Culpepper's play.

"He's going to get more and more comfortable," said Saban, who sent a second-round draft choice to Minnesota for Culpepper's services during the offseason. "That was his first game back. I know that he's going to improve from his first game to the second."

Culpepper should find things easier against a Buffalo defense that could be without three starters in linebacker Takeo Spikes (hamstring) and safeties Troy Vincent (hamstring/injured reserve) and Matt Bowen (leg). If Bowen joins Vincent on the sideline, a Bills defense that surrendered two touchdown passes in last Sunday's 19-17 loss to New England would have to start rookies Donte Whitner and Ko Simpson.

Bills coach Dick Jauron was asked whether Culpepper looked like the same quarterback he schemed against while working for Chicago and Detroit in the NFC Central the previous seven seasons.

"Yeah, unfortunately it looks like he is," Jauron said. "I guess I can honestly say I wish he wasn't, but he looks awfully strong and awfully mobile and tough to play against. He always has been. He's a terrific player."

Culpepper said he is anxious to put the Steelers loss behind him.

"We've got time to prepare and work on the mistakes we made last time," he said. "Personally, Sunday can't get here quick enough because I want to get out and just play winning football the way I know how to play."


  • Wide receiver Randy Moss received a taunting penalty following a 20-yard reception that helped derail one of Oakland's only decent sequences of the game. It came for a casual flip of the ball to San Diego kicker Nate Kaeding after going out of bounds.

    Coming as it did after San Diego defenders were pawing at the turf and dirt like snorting bulls following sacks, the call seemed extreme. Shell said he didn't like the call, but understood why it was made.

    "When Randy tossed the ball to the player, if that player had kept the ball in his hands or dropped it probably nothing would have happened," Shell said. "But he flipped it back at Randy, therefore, from the official's standpoint, Randy started something. The guy retaliated. It could evolve into something more than tossing the ball, and that's why the flag was thrown. It's something Randy and our players have to learn from."

  • Viking Update Top Stories