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Archive for Sunday, September 19, 2004

McNabb, Culpepper have plenty in common

Quarterbacks’ squads to clash tonight

September 19, 2004

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— Both quarterbacks have strong arms, quick feet and plenty of wins on their resumes.

One other thing Donovan McNabb and Daunte Culpepper have in common: They're the only two of the five heralded quarterbacks selected in the first round of the 1999 draft still in the NFL.

While McNabb and Culpepper are looking to lead their teams to the Super Bowl, Tim Couch, Akili Smith and Cade McNown are looking for jobs.

McNabb, drafted second overall by Philadelphia in '99, and Culpepper, the No. 11 pick by Minnesota, will oppose each other tonight when the Eagles play host to the Vikings.

How do they explain their success?

"It's kind of hard to say," McNabb said. "I don't know if we were just put in great positions, great situations, the coaches that we've had, coming to a great staff or a great organization. It could be a lot of those things."

Culpepper also credited his situation.

"Timing is huge. The timing was good when I got here," he said. "I have guys around me who can play, and I work hard in the offseason to make sure I'm in the best physical and mental position coming into the season."

McNabb has been to four straight Pro Bowls and has led the Eagles to the NFC championship game the last three years. He has a .677 winning percentage (44-21) as a starter.

"He's a great athlete. He makes a lot of big plays when he escapes the pocket, and so did (John) Elway and does Daunte," Vikings coach Mike Tice said.

Culpepper twice has been to the Pro Bowl and led the Vikings to the NFC title game in his first season as starter in 2000. He is the highest-rated quarterback in team history, ahead of Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton.

"He's very confident in his offense and their system. He has a lot of weapons, and I think he has trust in those weapons," Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson said. "When he gets down in that red zone, he's a big threat."

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