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Justin Vanfulpen - LionsFans.com
Mike McMahon was once featured on "NFL Films Presents" as next in line of great QBs to come from Western Pennsylvania.
There have been many great quarterbacks in the NFL that have came out of Western Pennsylvania, and the Lions hope that McMahon can be just that. When the Lions drafted McMahon in April, they had a plan to play McMahon this season and see what they had in the rookie quarterback from Rutgers, and it didn't matter if the Lions where 10-0 or 0-10, they still were going to get a look at him.
Rookie head coach Marty Mornhinweg had been around the West Coast offense, and had some good to great quarterbacks in the system and knew what it took to be successful at the quarterback position in the West Coast offense... and he didn't, at least privately, feel that Lions current quarterback Charlie Batch fit the bill.
Mornhinweg helped turn San Francisco 49er quarterback Jeff Garcia into a Pro Bowl player, and he felt that McMahon had similar tools, and physical ability that Garcia did. In Green Bay, Mornhinweg developed Brett Favre from an erratic quarterback who scattered his passes into a three time MVP, so Mornhinweg does know what it takes to be a successful quarterback in the NFL. When he took the job he knew that Batch had just signed a big time contract so that he had to keep Batch around for at least one more season when he knew that trades Detroit explored in trading Batch were not going to happen. Then, after this season, he could explore other ways to move Batch if that is the direction the team wanted to go.
It is looking like that is the direction the team wants to go, and there has been many off the record comments from different member of the Lions front office that the Lions will put Charlie Batch in the expansion draft and hope that the Houston Texans pick him up, this way he will be off the teams roster, moving Mike McMahon into the starting role and plus the cap hit won't be so great.
GM Matt Millen and Marty Mornhinweg no longer have any faith in Batch. A couple of weeks ago, Millen said off the record that Batch was OK as a pro quarterback on a team that had solid defense and decent support from the rest of his team, including a speedy, shifty runner.
But the question remains; is Mike McMahon the future of the Detroit Lions, and is he the player that Marty Mornhinweg think he is and can be?
When you visit a Detroit Lions practice and watch the players in their individual work outs as well as the team work outs, you can see the tools that Mike McMahon possesses and why Marty Mornhinweg is so high on him. He has an extremely strong arm, the strongest on the team, and he also is one of the fastest players on the ball club. He needs to work throwing the ball more accurately, but Mornhinweg think that is fixable, also he need experience, and he will get that this season.
Most likely, McMahon will start at least one game this season, if not more. Is McMahon a raw talent? Yes, but he does have talent. Does he have things to improve on? Yes and McMahon will tell you that himself.
"I have a long way to go and a lot to improve on," McMahon said.
To go along with his physical talent, McMahon is a very bright guy and is willing to learn and spend time in the class room -- learnning the offense and trying to get better each and every day.
"Right now, Charlie and Ty keep on teaching me a lot," McMahon said.
This will be a huge off-season for McMahon, who will have at least 6 months to learn the ins and outs of the West Coast offense before the Lions opening training camp in Allen Park in late July of 2002.
The Lions front office realizes that McMahon can not be successful on his own and will need some playmakers, and that is something that the team will be concentrating on this off-season -- both in the draft and in the free-agent market.