How 'bout them Duck Quarterbacks?

Oregon fans know the crescendo of the chant calling out Joey Harrington's name. Soon, Detroit Lions fans may be shouting the rookie quarterback's name as he directs a winning fourth quarter drive. Judging by the reaction of the Detroit area newspapers and their on-line counterparts, Mr. J. Harrington, formerly of Eugene is the topic of the day. Judging by the Sunday and Monday stories from Philadelphia and Cincinnati, Harrington isn't the only former Oregon quarterback that is drawing notice.

Harrington had his second outing as a professional on Saturday night and was sensational. He was 17 of 31 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns against the Cleveland Browns. Detroit writers who follow the Lions are mentioning Harrington prominently in their stories. Last season had to be a horrible experience for sports writers covering a team that was the fodder of jokes for Jay Leno. The drift of the stories resulting from the pre-season game with the Browns though is focusing on how Harrington played like a seasoned veteran and whether Harrington should be the starter in Motor City. Despite the fact the Lions lost the game 24-23, what is being discussed in Detroit is that Joey is the man to lead the Lions back to respectability. What was not lost on Harrington was the final score. Harrington reminded reporters after the game that the Lions had lost. Harrington had earned the nickname of Captain Comeback for his ability to bring the Ducks back in the fourth quarter for wins. Harrington and the Lions found themselves in the same position Saturday night against Cleveland. A so familiar scenario for Duck fans, trailing in the fourth quarter with less than five minutes left to play and Joey coming onto the field deep in his own territory. The NFL pre-season is certainly a different atmosphere than a college game, however for those listening on the Internet the excitement of a come-from-behind win or at least the possibility of winning was there. Harrington drove the Lions down field but the drive stalled as a passing play on a fourth-and-10 came up inches short. The Lions lost the game, but for Lions fans including many newly converted fans who are also Duck fans, there are signs of great things to come from the player wearing the number 3 on his jersey.

Ironically, as Harrington was driving the Lions down the field another former Duck signal caller was doing the same thing for the Philadelphia Eagles. A.J. Feeley, who is battling for the third string position as a quarterback on the Eagles roster was extremely impressive with his performance against the defending Super Bowl Champions, the New England Patriots. A truism for NFL pre-season games, is that if a football fan is watching a pre-season game in the fourth quarter on a Saturday night one of a couple things has to be happening. Either the fan is specifically watching to see the play of a friend or relative, or the fan simply has nothing else to do. In the case of die-hard Duck fans with nothing else to do on an August Saturday night, they were treated to a superb effort on Feeley's part. The Eagles trailed the Patriots, 16-9 in the fourth quarter. Feeley directed a drive for the Eagles in a two-minute drill. Feeley was six of 12 for 56 yards and one touchdown. The scoring drive directed by Feeley took all of one minute and 53 seconds and suddenly brought the game to life. The Eagle went for a two-point conversion but Feeley and the Eagles fairy-tale ending was spoiled when rookie free agent fullback Corey McIntyre could not hold onto Feeley's pass, as McIntyre was about to fall into the end zone. CBS commendatory Phil Simms made an interesting observation while Feeley was on the playing field. Simms said he had observed Feeley warming up early, prior to the game. That preparation warm up may pay off for Feeley as the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote about Feeley's efforts in the Saturday night contest

When Feeley was a sophomore and Harrington was a freshman at Oregon, they played in the shadow of Akili Smith. Smith was the third pick in the first round in the 1999 draft by Cincinnati. Smith found himself on a very bad Bengal team, and for three years has struggled with injuries and an apparently loss of confidence in his considerable skills. Smith started his career off with a contract holdout and has never seemed to catch up from that experience. Smith is now in his fourth year in the NFL and has played in a total of 21 games in three years and only has five touchdown passes compared to 12 interceptions for the same 21 games. Smith is fighting his way back into a position to contend for the starting quarterback spot for the Bengals. Smith helped his cause along in a 22-10 win by Cincinnati over Indianapolis. Smith was 9 of 16 for 53 yards and no interceptions against the Colts. Smith also rushed for 20 yards on three attempts. Smith was mistake free and made plays. The Cincinnati Inquirer published an article about Smith and his efforts in the pre-season this year.

Duck fans follow their alumni players faithfully and this last weekend was special as three former quarterbacks had great outings. Click on the following for the complete stories about the three former Oregon quarterbacks and their performances.

Harrington shines in 24-23 loss to Cleveland - The Detroit Free Press
Lead paragraph: Apparently, Joey Harrington doesn't like this idea of standing on the sideline.

Despite success, Joey still No. 2 - The Detroit Free Press
Lead paragraph: McMahon entrenched as starter

Yo, Marty! Harrington's the guy - The Grand Rapids Press
Lead paragraph: Fine, the Detroit Lions had only a handful of even probable starters in the game when Joey Harrington marched them 57 yards in 2 minutes, 17 seconds to take the lead just before halftime

McMahon remains Mornhinweg's starter - The Detroit News
Lead paragraph: But Harrington's presence in defeat catches coach's eye

At least we know Feeley can run 2-minute drill - The Philadelphia Inquirer
Lead paragraph: A.J. Feeley said his late effectiveness in the Eagles' 16-15 preseason loss to the New England Patriots had a lot to do with getting to watch the first three quarters before playing in the fourth.

Akili wants turn vs. Saints - (variable-insert paper name)
Lead paragraph: After leading the Bengals to 29 points in the second halves of both preseason victories against second- and third-stringers, quarterback Akili Smith would like to see what he can do against a first-team defense.


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