The Arizona Republic
Nov. 22, 2004 12:00 AM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Officially, Josh McCown heard that he was no longer the Cardinals starting quarterback minutes before a team meeting Saturday night.
But he had an inkling it was coming, since backup Shaun King received more work than usual in practice last week.
"We split reps (repetitions), and then as the week progressed you get an understanding about a guy who's getting more reps," McCown said.
McCown accepted the news philosophically, and if he was angry about it, he didn't let it show to reporters after Sunday's 35-10 loss to Carolina.
"Did I want to be on the bench?" he said. " No. But I understand the decision was made, and he (coach Dennis Green
) made it in an effort to help the team."
King, the new starter, was intercepted three times and had four fumbles, one of which he lost. He did throw for 343 yards, but that's mostly because the Cardinals were behind 28-0 at halftime and had to pass to try to get back in the game.
"I was proud of the guys," King said. "They kept fighting. Anytime you're down 28-0, it's easy to give up."
Green announced after the game that he was staying with King as the starter. That's a controversial move, but King wasn't going to add fuel to the controversy.
"I don't really get into how he came to the decision or should he have made the decision," King said of Green.
"That's above my payscale."
In an effort to fix his offense, Green this season has hired two offensive assistants, fired his line coach, shuffled his offensive line and now changed quarterbacks.
"I knew we had to get our offense playing better," Green said, "and that's what we're going to attempt to do."
It was King's first start in nearly two years and just the 11th game in which he played in the last four years. He signed with the Cardinals in the off-season after spending five seasons in Tampa Bay.
Green made it clear that King was coming to Arizona to back up McCown, and King had made just one appearance this year, throwing six passes against Atlanta.
But McCown struggled in the past two games, passing for only 90 yards last week against the Giants. Green apparently had seen enough and made the switch.
King showed considerable rust in the first half. He was intercepted twice and missed some open receivers.
He settled down some in the second half, completing 18 of 31 for 231 yards and a touchdown.
"You look at the end number and take the turnovers out, we did all right on offense," King said.
That's the optimistic way to look at it.
The other is that the Cardinals scored just 10 points on the afternoon, all of which came after they had fallen behind by four touchdowns.