Bad QB calls in Arizona

Weekfourteen

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December 12, 2004|By KEN MURRAY | KEN MURRAY,SUN STAFF

The night before the Arizona Cardinals' Nov. 21 game at Carolina, coach Dennis Green benched quarterback Josh McCown and launched a three-game losing streak.

Today, when Green goes back to McCown against San Francisco, he still has a chance - even at 4-8 - to get back into the division race in the laughable NFC West.

McCown lost his starting job in Week 11 after passing for just 90 yards in a win over the New York Giants. Unhappy with the state of his offense, Green started veteran Shaun King for two games and rookie John Navarre for one. The result was two touchdowns, 10 interceptions and three losses.

Navarre threw four of those picks and suffered a chip fracture on his right ring finger last week. So Green is handing the job to McCown with bated breath.

"I think Josh will do the best that he can do," Green said. "I really do. The issue isn't just the quarterback. It's the offense. We haven't been productive as a unit. I've said it over and over again."

Green has been guilty of some bad quarterback decisions this season, his first in Arizona. He went into the season by endorsing McCown, with three career starts, and passing on Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers in the draft.

Now it appears he will be in the quarterback market after all, which means he wasted a year trying to groom McCown. Green seemed to indicate as much when he told reporters last week that "I'm as convinced of Josh as [San Diego Chargers coach] Marty Schottenheimer is of Drew Brees."

Because Schottenheimer might be dumping Brees in the offseason, that's not saying much. Green is not alone in his quarterback miscalculations, though. These are the season's other dumb decisions:

Chicago: The Bears decided to back up Rex Grossman with Jonathan Quinn, and when Grossman went down three weeks into the season, they lost a chance to make a move in the sorry NFC. They should have gotten a veteran like Jeff George sooner.

Cleveland: Erstwhile coach Butch Davis overpaid to bring in free agent Jeff Garcia. Last week in a team meeting, when interim coach Terry Robiskie asked all players who saw themselves as leaders to stand up, Garcia sat.

Miami: It's not that A.J. Feeley is a bad quarterback to develop, but the price the Dolphins paid - a second-round pick that will be very nearly a first-rounder - was a terrible decision.

San Francisco: The 49ers are in a clearance mode, and when they dumped Garcia, they left the offense in the hands of fragile Tim Rattay and inexperienced Ken Dorsey. They couldn't win with that lineup.

Washington: Joe Gibbs' preference for veterans led him to Mark Brunell. Everyone in the league knew Brunell was done, except the Redskins.

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