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Nate Caminata - LionsFans.com
Lions' head coach Marty Mornhinweg has been tossed into a precarious situation.
And it isn't his club's luckless 0-10 start.
Mornhinweg has once again stirred a QB controversy. And, unlike his highly criticized promotion of Ty Detmer after Week 1, this time it wasn't exactly at his own doing. The blame rests squarely on the shoulders of a very bizarre duo: Rookie quarterback Mike McMahon and Charlie Batch's pulled groin.
Midway through the 4th quarter of Thursday's loss to the Green Bay Packers, Mornhinweg dismissed starting quarterback Charlie Batch of his duties in favor of McMahon. Batch, who had struggled to an 118 yard performance on 8 of 19 passes, had trouble throughout the contest due to a pulled groin. The injury prevented Batch from planting into the turf to release his throws.
The Lions, trailing 29-13 when McMahon entered the contest, compiled a furious comeback engineered by the former Rutgers star. McMahon completed nine passes for 89 yards, leading two scoring drives in the final few minutes, only to fail on a game-tying two-point conversion.
And in a matter of minutes, and the time that has followed, McMahon's heroics threw the 2001 late-round draft selection into yet another Detroit Lions quarterback controversy.
"I have not had time quite yet to think about anything like that," said Mornhinweg, concerning the situation.
Mornhinweg may have to make time, however. And quickly.
Despite Batch's 436-yard performance against the Arizona Cardinals last week, he hasn't earned the praise many believed he should from Millen and Mornhinweg. Because of that lack of support, and in spite of compiling his most proficient season as a pro under a new offensive system, Batch has been all but written off as Detroit's long term solution.
It maybe the cold, hard truth. But it isn't the first time Batch has been involved in a seemingly inequitable predicament.
Earlier in the season, ironically following their opening game loss at Lambeau to the Packers, Batch was benched in favor of well-traveled backup Ty Detmer. Detmer proved to be invaluable, to say the least, tossing a laughable 7 interceptions in Week 2. Mornhinweg caught heat for the poor decision, and reinserted Batch, who responded with consecutive 300 yard passing performances.
But the Lions and Mornhinweg find themselves in an all too familiar position: Still winless, and a quarterback controversy lingering amongst fans and the media.
"Right now, Charlie and Ty keep on teaching me a lot." said McMahon, who adjourned thoughts of a controversy. "Charlie's the man."
McMahon's accomplice to the problematic situation, Batch's groin, could actually make Mornhinweg's task simpler. Or at the same time, just that much more difficult.
Batch is questionable for next Sunday's contest at Chicago, which might propel Mornhinweg to hand McMahon the starting nod. However, if the Lions' coaching staff doesn't feel the rookie quarterback is up to par for an entire contest, Detmer is also a possibility
And while Detmer's time as starting quarterback would be short lived, regardless of how well he plays, another strong McMahon performance -- especially as a starter -- could put doubt in Mornhinweg's willingness to hand a healthy Batch his job back. A job Batch earned outright after his initial benching.
Although the Lions' 0-10 start is obviously a dilemma that needs to be addressed, Mornhinweg may be forced to address -- and produce -- an answer to the most difficult plight he's faced as an NFL head coach: Just who is his quarterback. Present and Future.