Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

McNown Benched for Final Game

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

McNown Benched for Final Game

Article excerpt

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The last of the five quarterbacks picked in the first round of the 1999 draft, Cade McNown was supposed to be the most ready to play right away.

Instead, he's 3-12 as a starter. And while Donovan McNabb and Daunte Culpepper lead their teams to the playoffs, McNown's been benched for the Chicago Bears' season finale and there's no guarantee he'll get the No. 1 job back next year.

Shane Matthews, a former University of Florida star, will start Sunday's game in Detroit.

"We're clearly not where we wanted to be at the end of the second year at the quarterback position," Bears coach Dick Jauron said yesterday. "We wanted to have a clear answer. And we don't have that."

McNown was benched after Sunday's 17-0 loss in San Francisco, his worst showing as a quarterback. Playing for the first time in seven weeks, he was just 9-of-29 for 73 yards with one interception. Chicago (4-11) never got past midfield, managed only 104 yards of total offense and averaged just 2.1 yards per play.

McNown's passing rating was 26.1, the worst for a Bears starter since 1998.

"I don't know what it means in the big picture, but I know what it means right now and that's that I didn't deserve to start," said McNown, who missed six weeks with a separated shoulder. "I didn't play well enough to really warrant the start this week.

"As the quarterback, part of my job description is to elevate the play of the team. I don't feel like I did that last week. I don't feel like I played a great game last week at all. I need to get better. I need to play better."

McNown has been a lightning rod for criticism almost since he was drafted. After promising to be in training camp on time, he held out for 10 days before signing a five-year deal that could pay him as much as $22 million.

Though he set Chicago rookie records for completions and passing attempts, his brashness rankled some of his older teammates. …

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