Saturday, September 03, 2005

A Broken Leg For Jeff Garcia? Why Am I Not Surprised?

Well, so much for having that veteran backup quarterback around to push Joey Harrington.

News of Jeff Garcia’s broken leg was disappointing, but not all that surprising to me. Why is that?

Maybe it’s the "It HAD to happen to the Lions" feeling we’re conditioned to have. Maybe it’s the team’s history. In 1979, the Lions lost Gary Danielson for the season in the final preseason game, as they did in 2000 with Mike Tomczak. Now, Garcia. That’s three significant QB losses in final preseason games in 26 years. That may not seem like much, but I bet it’s more than most every other NFL team in the same time frame.

Garcia might not be out for the season. Some reports are indicating a loss for about six-to-eight weeks. But you don’t just bounce back from a broken fibula like a rubber ball. There is a lot of rehabilitation. So I wouldn’t count on Garcia for 2005, at all.

But maybe Garcia has already made his presence felt. Harrington has been, frankly, the least of the Lions’ concerns this preseason. And while Garcia himself was awful in the August games, I don’t think it was a coincidence that Joey had perhaps his sharpest exhibition performances this summer since he’s been in Detroit.

Of course, the question is, "NOW what?" With Jeff Garcia’s leg in a cast, how will that affect Joey Harrington? Will it? Should it? I guess that’s three questions.

On the surface, it shouldn’t matter all that much if your backup quarterback goes down, because he’s the backup. But this is the NFL, where starting QB’s rarely take every snap, because of injury or slumps. So now we’ll all find out a lot more about Dan Orlovsky, who has now been thrust into the #2 slot. I’m already scrambling to gather some facts about this kid. What scares me is that Orlovsky makes Mike McMahon look like a seasoned vet, at least on paper. Maybe he’s got what it takes. I guess we’ll see.

Meanwhile, Joey is clearly the man, although I think the preseason pretty much verified that even before Garcia’s injury. Harrington performed well with Garcia nipping at his heels. Let’s see how he does with Jeff on crutches, looking on.

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