(DETROIT) - You would have expected Mike McMahon to be elated. After all, speding the last three years on the bench behind one of the least productive starting quarterbacks in the NFL doesn't say much for your potential.
But here was McMahon getting his chance and moving the team effectively, throwing the ball better than anyone has seen from him since his arrival in Detroit. McMahon though, was defusing a potential quarterback controversy before it could even get started, steadfastly saying it was Coach Steve Mariucci's call and that he would patiently wait his turn.
"Anytime you play the quarterback position, you want to start," admitted McMahon. That's the coach's decision. That's why he (Harrington) gets paid all the big bucks. He's got to go out there and work hard in practice and do what the coach tells you. Whatever he thinks is best for the team and puts us in the best position to win games, that's it. So I'll just keep on working hard and you never know what could happen."
McMahon finished the game 11 for 15 for 77 yards and one interception, a last gasp "Hail Mary" type throw on the game's last play that was tipped and then picked off.
McMahon was asked with all of Harrington's struggles, it is just a matter of time before he takes over as the Lions starter.
"I don't know, that's the coach's decision," he said. "I can't worry about whether he's going to play me or he's going to bench me or if I'm the backup and Joey's [the guy]. I just can't worry about that. I just have to go out and keep on playing hard every day. If given the opportunity to start, make the most out of it. If not just keep on working hard and whenever the opportunity comes - like a chance like this - maybe next time get the ball in the end zone as opposed to this, [to] fall short again."
The quandry for Detroit is that if McMahon moves ahead of Harrington, what do they do this offseason? If they intended to bring in a veteran to compete with Harrington but keep Harrington as their future, there's no room for McMahon, a fourth year quarterback.
Howver if McMahon plays well in a start and sparks and moves the team, does Detroit give up on Harrington who they still believe is a future star in the league? There's just not room for two cooks in the kitchen and McMahon is operating on a one-year contract so he'll be a free agent at season's end, likely to draw the attention of team's looking for a young backup to a veteran starter.
Mariucci indicated it'll be status quo with Harrington starting and McMahon backing up for next Sunday's contest against Arizona. But one suspects we'll see McMahon starting and maybe finishing a ball game in Detroit before the season's over.
McMahon Says He'll Wait His Turn
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