Sports

Boos don't deter McCown

OAKLAND -- Raiders fans booed Josh McCown at McAfee Coliseum in an opening-day loss to Detroit.

They watched on TV as McCown threw three interceptions and passed for only 73 yards in Week 2's loss at Denver.

Today, McCown starts against the Browns in Oakland, and if he can't inspire cheers from Raider Nation against Cleveland's inept defense, he may never do so.

In two games, the Browns have given up 10 touchdown passes and have only two sacks. They've given up 79 points to their opponents and rank last in the NFL in team defense, having allowed 896 total yards, 553 passing.

The Browns, it would seem, are the perfect remedy for what is ailing McCown and the Raiders' offense. Still, the starting quarterback isn't expecting a rousing reception from fans who want to see backup Daunte Culpepper play, nor is he expecting an easy game against Cleveland.

"Any time you line up in this league and play against a defense, it's going to be a tough match and you're going to have to play well and execute well," McCown said.

McCown has five interceptions in two games. He's thrown an interception at critical junctions of the fourth quarter in both games.

"The turnovers, obviously, that's got to be cut down and for me, when I say cut down, I mean none," McCown said.

McCown's personality won over Oakland teammates following his arrival from Detroit in a draft-day trade.

It was McCown who joked to first-year Raiders coach Lane Kiffin in Week 1 the boos would be louder in the second half when he took the field instead of Culpepper.

"I think because of who Josh is you don't see the players taking a side and going for a different quarterback," said Kiffin.

Players have defended McCown, though it would seem logical to play Culpepper, a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback.

"It's the fans' right, and the media's right, to say who should be starting," said receiver Jerry Porter. "It's coach's decision to put him in there, it's our job to back up whoever's in there and give him everything we've got."

Porter noted the problems on offense aren't McCown's alone. Penalties put the Raiders in long third-down situations, and McCown is often rushed in the pocket.

In the last week Kiffin has taken more criticism for his loyalty to McCown than the quarterback himself.

But Kiffin has stood firm that McCown gives the Raiders the best chance to beat Cleveland, which has won its past two games in Oakland.

The Raiders, meanwhile, are trying to avoid their third consecutive 0-3 start.

McCown insists critics don't bother him. He also said he won't play in fear the next interception could put him on the bench. If the boos come, McCown isn't worried.

"My self worth is not in what another man says about me or what a whole bunch of people say about me or feel about me," McCown said. "My faith is in something way higher than that. That's all I can tell you, it doesn't bother me."

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