ALLEN PARK - Back from the combines in Indianapolis, the Detroit Lions are saying all the right things about their quarterback situation, but it is clear they are setting up for a battle royale for the starting quarterback job in this fall's training camp.
Detroit's choices narrowed to two players, former 49ers and Browns quarterback Jeff Garcia and former Rams and Giants signal caller Kurt Warner, but it is clear that Garcia is the favorite and could be a Lions before the week is over.
Detroit is wary of what would happen if they signed Warner and he didn't become the starter. Warner has proven to be a distraction in both St. Louis and in New York when his wife, Brenda, got involved by touting her man in the media.
The last thing Detroit wants is a sideshow atmosphere surrounding their improving club. Instead, they know what they're getting in Garcia, a team guy who is and has been loyal to a fault to coach Steve Mariucci.
Garcia was outspoken in his disapproval of San Francisco's firing of Mariucci three seasons ago and that is something the fiercely loyal Mariucci has never forgotten. He also hasn't forgotten the three straight pro-bowl seasons he got out of the former CFL star.
The 35-year old met with the Detroit's medical staff at the Indianapolis combine and is expected to meet again with the Lions in Allen Park over the next day or two. With Tampa Bay's re-signing of quarterback Brian Griese, Warner is the only other alternative. Look for Detroit to get it done with Garcia as early as this week.
The next order of business for Detroit after moving on Garcia is to address the left guard situation.
Detroit came to the realization that David Loverne was not the starting caliber guard they desired, but is a solid backup. The Lions will take a long look at Packers guard Marco Rivera. Rivera continues to be a solid interior force despite being 33 years old. He has stated his desire to retire a Packer, but he knows this is likely his last contract and may elect to take a decent payday rather than re-sign with the fading Pack.
The Lions had their eyes on Colts guard Rick DeMulling, but Indianapolis moved quicky to re-sign the young rising star. Philadelphia's Jermane Mayberry and Baltimore's Bennie Anderson are two other candidates that appeal to the Lions. The main drawback with Mayberry is that he is 31 years old and has had some injuries, but he played well in the Eagles' playoff run. Anderson, 6-foot-5, 345-pounds is a physical specimen who can dominate opposing pass rushers.
With Detroit's re-signing of center Dominic Raiola over the weekend, they need only to address the right tackle position occupied by free agent-to-be Stockar McDougle.
It appears McDougle will hit an open market flooded with right tackles, but few as young and athletic as the fourth-year Lion. Look for Detroit to move quickly to shore up the two major holes they targeted for free agency and then sit back and wait for bargains after the initial signing rush.
INSIDE TRACK: Detroit is making noise about making a trade for Jacksonville safety Donovin Darius, but that appears unlikley. After being tagged as the Jaguars franchise player yet again and closing in on his 30th birthdate, it doesn't seem to be a good fit. The Lions re-signed veteran Bracy Walker to be the third safety and could part ways with underachieiving Brock Marion in favor of improving third-year man Terrence Holt. Detroit could fix the safety position by drafting Georgia star Thomas Davis, the only first-round quality safety with the 10th overall pick.
Lions likely to sign Garcia, then move on Rivera
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