McMahon Not Holding Breath For Shot as Starter

The great quarterback debate is raging again after the Lions' 16-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Comments from head coach Steve Mariucci and quarterback Mike McMahon.

(ALLEN PARK) -- The great quarterback debate is raging again after the Lions' 16-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Joey Harrington has started the first 13 games of the season, but with diminishing offensive returns, coach Steve Mariucci indicated Monday he is considering a change to backup Mike McMahon for the Lions' game Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.

"We haven't made any decisions in that regard just yet," Mariucci said. "But we are evaluating our passing game, seeing where we are.

"We haven't been productive, like we need to, especially in the second half of games."

The Lions have scored only five offensive touchdowns in the last six games and have no second-half touchdowns in the last five games.

"Our passing game has not been what it needs to be in order for us to win, for a variety of reasons," Mariucci said. "We have shown flashes of being very efficient, but we have also shown flashes of not being productive at all when we need to be.

"So you get a little of each right now. Are we happy with the passing game? No, we're not."

Harrington's 5-for-22 and 47 yards passing performance in the Green Bay game -- played in heavy gusting winds -- dropped his completion percentage for the season to 54.9 and his passer rating to his season low of 77.2.

McMahon has played in only one game this season, completing 11 of 15 passes for 77 yards in the second half of a 41-9 Thanksgiving Day loss to Indianapolis.

A four-year NFL veteran, McMahon will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season -- but isn't holding his breath to see if he gets a chance to start against Vikings on Sunday.

"When there's been opportunities to make a change, (Mariucci) hasn't," McMahon said, "so I'd be a little bit surprised."

But if he gets the chance? "It would be a great opportunity," McMahon said.

If Mariucci decided to start McMahon, it would be presumably to take some of the building pressure off Joey Harrington. But the experience McMahon would get would probably not benefit the Lions, who are not likely to keep him in free agency.

McMahon has said on more than one occasion in recent weeks that he wants to compete for a starting job on an equal financial basis wherever he lands as a free agent.

"The NFL is a business," he said. "Everyone knows the guys who get paid a little more are going to get more opportunity to succeed in this league and the guys who don't get paid as much have very slim and few opportunities. They have to make the most of it when they come."

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