Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Irreconciable Differences: Get Ready For A Lions Divorce

If the New York Jets can call on 41 year-old Vinny Testaverde and get a victory out of it, does that mean the Lions should look up Erik Kramer? Or heck, Eric Hipple?

I have tried -- oh, how I have tried -- to support Joey Harrington. I have tried to justify his slow development by telling myself that other good -- not even great -- QB's have needed three, four, even five seasons to come into their own. I have even thought about how God-awful Terry Bradshaw was -- long before he became a God-awful TV analyst.

But I am perilously close to slipping off whatever sort of bandwagon exists for a quarterback whose winning percentage and passer rating, combined, don't even equal 80 percent.

Joey should probably look elsewhere by the end of 2006

I don't think it's going to happen for Joey in Detroit, and not all of that is on Joey. In today's NFL, it's not good enough to simply be talented. You have to be in the right "system" nowadays. You have to be in a situation that exploits your strengths and deemphasizes your weaknesses.

So what does Joey Harrington do well? (no jokes or snickers, please). Well, he has a strong arm -- no question about that. The kid can heave it. He has fire. He has a pretty good pump fake.

But he has happy feet. He feels pressure where there is none. He throws the ball too quickly. He lacks accuracy.

Now, if you find a successful system in the NFL that can match that analysis, you're a better man (or woman) than me.

Sunday's 35-17 win over Baltimore, with its storyline of Ravens players going raven mad, overshadowed what was another awful performance by the Lions' quarterback. Not even 100 yards passing, less than 50% completion rate, and two interceptions. As Sparky Anderson would say, "There ain't enough perfume in the world to make that one smell good."

Yes, the Lions won, but Harrington was lost again, the confidence he has in himself and that his teammates have in him melting away like a popsicle in August. Shoot, even the coach himself, Steve Mariucci, seems to act as if he has a remedial offense on his hands run by a first-year football student. And don't think the players don't see that.

But the Lions are "married" to Harrington just as they were "married" to Charlie Batch, to use Matt Millen's own words when he arrived in town nearly five years ago. Joey's contract doesn't expire til after the 2006 season. By then it will be time to file for divorce.


dolphinfan said...

Just a curious question, would you trade Joey to get scott Mitchell or Charlie Batch back? Which one would you trade for?

Ian C. said...

Joey lost me after the Tampa Bay game. I've been sticking up for the guy over the last three years too, but it's become impossible. It's so clear he's a lame-duck quarterback, and Mooch can barely contain his glee when he talks about Garcia coming back from his injury.

It's too bad, because I still think Joey be a good QB. Unfortunately, it'll probably be for the New York Jets. It's just doesn't look like it'll work out here.

Dolphinfan, if I had to choose between those two, I'd trade for Batch. At least he's still in the NFL. (If Mitchell is, I don't know about it.)

At the time, I thought the Lions made a big mistake by letting Batch go, but since he didn't get a starting job elsewhere, I guess the Lions were proven right on that one.