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McMahon On His Way
Paul Wezner - LionsFans.com
Theres one thing youll never be able to accuse Mike McMahon of; and thats not having enough confidence. The Lions knew this when they selected him in round 5 of the 2001 NFL Draft. However, they never expected to see the type of results on the field to back up his confident-on-the-edge-of-cocky attitude this early.
Back in April, as draft day rolled around, the Lions focused there attention on 2 Quarterbacks: McMahon and Washington QB Marques Tuiasosopo. Tuiasosopo was taken in round 2, ahead of where the Lions projected him, so that left them with one option; to trade up for McMahon. The Lions traded their sixth and seventh round picks to move up into round 5 to get McMahon.
The Lions drafted him knowing hed be a project. After the April minicamp, Head Coach Marty Mornhinweg had accepted the fact that the Lions were going to have to keep 4 Quarterbacks on the 53-man roster to protect McMahon from waivers, knowing that hed probably never make it to the practice squad.
The reason for this was simple; McMahon couldnt have hit Aaron Gibson from 10 yards away. Sure, he could launch the ball with his rifle arm. However, that arm wasnt going to do any good when the passes kept going to the Defensive Backs instead of the receivers.
Lions Quarterback Coach Kevin Higgins, realizing he had a project on his hands, went to work with the young rookie. For starters, he convinced McMahon to not rifle the ball on every play, but rather make sure he hits the receiver in the numbers. This is a normal problem with rookie Quarterbacks, a classic case of "over-throwing". Second, Higgins had McMahon work on his footwork so that hed be set better. These two things have improved his accuracy, in a drastic fashion.
McMahon has closed in on the #3 Quarterback job, a job that requires little on-field performance, barring injury. So, for those looking to get a good look at McMahon, they better keep there eyes open during the preseason. One thing is for sure though, Mornhinweg is no longer cringing at the thought of possibly having McMahon dress this season, a great sign for the future. Both the Lions and McMahons.