Tough Sledding for Former Vikings Stars

Quarterback Daunte Culpepper was having a hard time holding onto the ball in Miami and wide receiver Randy Moss was having a hard time getting open with coverages rolling his way in Oakland. The two former Vikings stars are struggling to find success – and wins – with their new teams.

A few fans began chanting for backup quarterback Joey Harrington to replace a struggling Daunte Culpepper near the end of the Miami Dolphins' 16-6 debacle to the Bills on Sunday, but on Monday both Harrington and Dolphins coach Nick Saban tried to defuse any groundswell of a quarterback controversy.

"I've been there when 30,000 people were chanting, ‘Joey sucks' as I walked off the field," Harrington said. "It made me a bit angry to be perfectly honest because I've been in that position and know that we need to stick together as opposed to trying to single somebody out.

"That's not my call (to change quarterbacks). My answers have already said what my feeling is. We've got a lot of work to do as a team and you're not going to try and put this on one person."

Although he completed 23 of 32 passes for 250 yards, Culpepper's play wasn't nearly as impressive as those statistics sound. Most of the yards came on short dump-offs to running back Ronnie Brown, receiver Wes Welker and tight end Randy McMichael, as he rarely looked downfield for Pro Bowl receiver Chris Chambers — until the final few minutes.

Culpepper was sacked seven times and threw an interception that halted Miami's only drive that reached Buffalo's red zone. He fumbled the ball twice in a row in the first quarter and tripped over his linemen twice while dropping back from center.

Saban's message to his team on Monday was that just because they brought in a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback doesn't mean it will be easy to win games.

"A lot of people assumed that when Daunte Culpepper came here that everything was going to be easy. And that's not the case," Saban said. "He can be a good player. And he is not playing like he is capable of playing right now, a little bit he's still coming back and working his way back from an injury. His mobility is not 100 percent of what it used to be. We need to play faster and better on offense so that he can play better."

Saban also made it clear that every player in the locker room was responsible for Sunday's debacle and not just Culpepper.

"At the quarterback position you rely on everybody else," Harrington said. "You rely on all 10 guys around you to do your job. Everybody on that field made some mistakes during the day and how we played as an offense."

"Until we learn to play as a team and that everybody has a job and plays a role in winning a football game we're going to continue to struggle."

The six points the Dolphins managed in their loss to Buffalo is the lowest total ever scored by the Dolphins in a home opener. "It seemed like every time we got something started we were not able to finish. We need to finish," said RB Ronnie Brown

The Dolphins have started the season with two losses for the third time since 1970. They've never made the playoffs when starting 0-2. "We still have to execute no matter what, point blank and we're not executing and we're not putting drives together," said WR Marty Booker. "We're going three and out so much it's ridiculous, point-blank, we just got to start getting this (stuff) together or we'll find our (butts) 0-16."


Oakland Raiders backup quarterback Andrew Walter absorbed six sacks, including a one in the end zone that resulted in safety, and he also missed star receiver Randy Moss on one play.

In his brief appearance against San Diego and again against the Ravens, Walter had a few series where he moved the Raiders. But he failed to get into the end zone, on one play missing an open Moss in the end zone.

"It's better than stalling out and not getting anything going, but at the end of the drive to miss Randy in the end zone, or have an interception or a fumble, those things kill you," Walter said.

Moss could be feeling the effects of a tiff between Raiders head coach Art Shell and receiver Jerry Porter.

"Whatever Coach and Jerry Porter got going on, they got to squash that," safety Jarrod Cooper said. "(Defenses) have got nine guys on Randy Moss right now ... it just needs to be done. I don't care what it is. This is a business ... if they are not going to like each other, this team does not care about that. All this personal (stuff)? We need to get rid of that. We need Jerry Porter on the football field. That takes all 11 people off of Moss."

Shell's reply?

"Everybody has an opinion. They can voice their opinion," Shell said. "All they're asked to do is play. Take care of that part of it and everything will be fine. Those who are calling for players and stuff like that ... I learned a long time ago, players play and coaches coach. That's the way it is."

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