McCown will start Sunday, future still unknown

Updated: October 26, 2005, 11:12 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Unlike a week ago, when Dennis Green declined to reveal the identity of his starting quarterback until just before game time, the Arizona coach isn't holding his Cards as close to his vest for Sunday's matchup with the Dallas Cowboys.

Quarterback
Arizona Cardinals

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2005 SEASON STATISTICS
Att Comp Yds TD Int Rat
153 88 1012 5 6 73.8

It's a different approach for Green but, for the Cardinals, the starter remains the same.

Fourth-year veteran Josh McCown, who has started the past three games and posted a 2-1 record along with impressive passing statistics, will remain in the lineup. While Green's acknowledgement that McCown will keep the top spot on the depth chart for at least another week is somewhat surprising, especially given his cryptic approach to last Sunday, the decision to retain the status quo was anticipated.

McCown, 26, has completed 73 of 120 passes for 923 yards, with five touchdown passes and four interceptions in the three games he started, since taking over for the injured Kurt Warner. In each of his first two starts of the season, he threw for over 300 yards, totaling 783 yards in those contests and completing 61 passes.

The former Sam Houston State star has 15 completions of 20 yards or more and four of 40-plus yards in his three starts.

Warner, who started the first three games of the season, losing all three, has recovered from the groin injury that knocked him from the lineup. For now, though, Warner will stay on the bench. The two-time NFL most valuable player has completed 64 of 101 passes for 696 yards, with one touchdown pass and two interceptions.

The eight-year veteran hasn't played at all since sustaining the groin injury in a Sept. 25 game against the St. Louis Rams.

Green has steadfastly refused to say if his plan is to stay with McCown for the rest of the season. McCown is more mobile than Warner and, given the sorry state of the Cardinals' offensive line, that provides him some advantage in the battle for the starting spot. That mobility could be a key against a Dallas defense whose pass rush is improved over 2004.

His track record demonstrates that Green is hardly bashful about changing quarterbacks, however, so the decision on a starter may be made on a week-to-week basis.

McCown and Warner are working on one-year contracts and both are eligible to become unrestricted free agents next spring. Green and Cardinals officials will continue to assess the performances of the two quarterbacks over much of the next two months and then, before the end of the season, offer one of them a contract extension.