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ROB FALLS TO NO. 3 ON BUCS' DEPTH CHART

Shaun King has quietly replaced Rob Johnson as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' No. 2 quarterback.

Coach Jon Gruden confirmed the promotion Friday, although he had little to say about the change for Sunday night's game against the New Orleans Saints.

"I like both quarterbacks. I just feel this is best for our football team right now," Gruden said.

"We'll continue to work with Shaun and Rob. Shaun's been working hard. He's a guy I've said from the beginning that I like. I just think right now he deserves to be the second-team quarterback."

King led the Bucs to the NFC Championship Game as a rookie in 1999, then lost the No. 1 job to Brad Johnson after helping Tampa Bay to a 10-6 record in his first full season as a starter two years ago.

Rob Johnson signed with the Bucs as a free agent this year and has appeared in four games, including an Oct. 27 start at Carolina when Brad Johnson was out with a broken rib. He's completed 29 of 45 passes for 243 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.

But the former Buffalo Bills starter also has been sacked nine times, including twice last week when Brad Johnson was sidelined for 1 1/2 series after being poked in the eye during a 21-7 victory over Green Bay.

King has been inactive for nine of the first 11 games as Tampa Bay's third quarterback. He finished Rob Johnson's lone start, coming off the bench in the final minute to complete a 7-yard pass to set up a winning field goal.

"I'm just grateful I got an opportunity. I think I prepared well all year and I'll be ready if called upon to play," said King, who acknowledged it's been difficult riding the bench for nearly two years.

"One thing about football is it's a team sport. A lot of times you have to put aside individual desires in order for the team to succeed. I just try to approach it that way each Sunday. It's never easy to not play, but I guess it's a lot easier when the team is having success to accept it."

McNair questionable

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Steve McNair sat out most of the Tennessee Titans' practice Friday with a rib injury, and coach Jeff Fisher said his status for Sunday's game against the New York Giants would be a game-time decision.

McNair tossed a few passes with a trainer but backup Neil O'Donnell took most of the snaps.

"We thought he would respond, but he's still sore," Fisher said of McNair.

McNair, who sat out practice all week, isn't sure at what point during last weekend's game with Baltimore that he injured his ribs. He also has turf toe in his right foot and had a MRI on Monday for his right shin. Results of the test were negative for any damage.

Jevon Kearse also sat out of Friday's practice. The defensive end broke his foot in the opener and has missed 10 straight games.

Both McNair and Kearse are listed as questionable.

The Titans will also be without receiver Kevin Dyson, who injured his right hamstring against Baltimore and might be out for up to four weeks. Middle linebacker Randall Godfrey will return to the lineup on Sunday. He's missed eight games this season after spraining his ankle in the opener.

Marion might sit out

DAVIE, Fla. -- Dolphins free safety Brock Marion might be sidelined for Sunday's game at Buffalo because of back spasms.

He missed practice Friday and is listed as questionable on the injury report. Marion would be replaced by Shawn Wooden in the starting lineup, coach Dave Wannstedt said.

Wannstedt said Marion's back tightened during practice Thursday. "Hopefully, it will loosen up in the next couple of days," Wannstedt said. "If he feels good, he'll start."

Marion ranks second on the Dolphins with 72 tackles and two interceptions.

Around the league

Injured Arizona Cardinals running back Thomas Jones will not be paid for the remainder of the season. His placement on the reserve/non-football injury list means the team will not pay him the roughly $143,000 he would be owed for the rest of the season. Jones broke his right hand last week when he struck the edge of a countertop while trying to reach for a telephone at home.

Rookie Lamar Gordon is recovered from a concussion and ready to be the St. Louis Rams' starter for the third straight week if Marshall Faulk is out again. Coach Mike Martz said he would wait until game day to decide whether Faulk, who has a high right ankle sprain, will be able to play. Faulk has not practiced this week and Martz said that has helped him recuperate. Faulk is in his fourth year with the Rams and has never missed three games in a row.

Denver Broncos quarterback Steve Beuerlein will start Sunday against San Diego because Brian Griese is still favoring his sprained left knee. Denver coach Mike Shanahan had hoped early in the week that Griese would be able to face the Chargers.

Washington Redskins linebacker Jeremiah Trotter will miss the rest of the season after tearing a ligament in his right knee during Thursday's game against the Dallas Cowboys, a team spokeswoman said. The injury occurred during the second quarter of Washington's 27-20 loss in Dallas.

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