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McCown still QB starter for mercurial coach

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Despite being benched after three fumbles against Atlanta, Josh McCown is still the Arizona Cardinals' quarterback.

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Despite being benched after three fumbles against Atlanta, Josh McCown is still the Arizona Cardinals' quarterback.

Given Dennis Green's track record with Minnesota, McCown might not have a lot of time to learn the position - the coach used seven different quarterbacks to get the Vikings to the playoffs eight times.

Green said Monday that McCown needs to learn how to make better reads on when to scramble and when to get rid of the ball.

"You just have to make sure you're protecting the ball, particularly in a hard-hitting game," Green said. "It was hard-hitting on both ends, so Michael Vick was disappointed in the ones he lost and Josh was disappointed in the ones he lost."

Green said McCown has to temper his athleticism, which makes his scrambles a threat, with better feel for pressure.

"There will be times when a defense will give you a look you don't anticipate or somebody misses a block - whatever the case may be - and you've just got to get rid of the ball," he said.

McCown was 20-for-26 for 198 yards, completing 13 consecutive passes at one point, but wasn't able to guide the offense to a touchdown in a 6-3 loss to the Falcons. Two of McCown's fumbles and one by wide receiver Karl Williams occurred inside Atlanta's 20-yard line.

The Cardinals (0-3) got the ball back on Adrian Wilson's interception after McCown was sacked for the fifth time and lost the ball for the third time. Shaun King replaced McCown under center with 11:35 left in the game.

The Cardinals gained 6 yards in three plays before Neil Rackers kicked a 30-yard field goal.

Green has been trying to improve the offensive line since waiving center Pete Kendall the day training camp opened and said better blocking would help.

"We can work hard and also have some replacements. We'll look at both areas," Green said.

"It is suprising it's taking us this long to jell together," right tackle Anthony Clement said. "I would've thought this would have happened a long time ago."

The Cardinals would have been in position to at least tie the game when Williams got the ball to the Falcons 7 on a reverse with 2:26 left, but he sustained a stinger when he was hit by Chris Draft and couldn't hang onto the ball.

"He lost feeling in the arm and the ball came out," Green said. "You know, you create your good luck and bad luck is something that can happen to you. We did not create any good luck yesterday, but we did have a few bad-luck plays, and that was one of them. He's had that stinger before, and got hit right there."

Green didn't expect Williams to miss any time this week and said the team was in relatively good health except for backup defensive tackle Ross Kolodziej, who will be out two to three weeks with a sprained ankle, and linebacker James Darling, who left the game with a concussion.

Green said wide receiver Anquan Boldin, last year's NFL rookie of the year who had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee after a warmup-exercise injury on Aug. 11, should be able to return sometime between mid-October to Nov. 1. Boldin's absence has hampered the development of the offense and forced rookie wideout Larry Fitzgerald, the No. 3 pick in this year's draft, to endure near-perpetual double coverage.

The Falcons held Fitzgerald to 36 yards and five catches.

"That's something you're going to see in this league every week," Fitzgerald said. "I am physical enough to get off the line of scrimmage."

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