Garcia May Grab Start Against Browns

Despite a 9-for-9, 100-yard performance during last Friday night's 10-3 loss to the Jets, Lions' starting quarterback Joey Harrington might be watching the first quarter from the bench this Saturday. Plus, more camp info inside, including Mariucci's comments on rookie QB Dan Orlovsky and the fullback situation.

Despite a 9-for-9, 100-yard performance during last Friday night's 10-3 loss to the Jets, Lions' starting quarterback Joey Harrington might be watching the first quarter from the bench on Saturday.

That was the hint delivered by head coach Steve Mariucci on Sunday, who admitted he is eager to get backup Jeff Garcia a few snaps with the starting offense. Although controversial, the prospective move is not expected to impact Harrington's current reign as starter.

"I reserve the right to (make a change) obviously, for any of the preseason games; to get (Jeff) some snaps with the starters," commented Mariucci, who is preparing his team for Cleveland, Garcia's former ball club. "Or we can just simply get him in the game a little sooner. We intended for the starters to play 15 to 20 snaps. The second drive (against the Jets) was 13 plays, so it just didn't happen in the last game."

Mariucci did admit that a decision hasn't even been made, but still wants Garcia to get practice time with the first team. If Harrington does start, it is likely both quarterbacks will be alternated frequently in the first half.

Against the Jets, Garcia struggled, including an interception on a questionable throw. Mariucci believed some of that was a result of playing with the second team.

"(Jeff) played with the twos the other night and I don't think he's done that in five years in a pre-season game," Mariucci explained. "He's always been with starters. The precision, the execution and the production is always a little bit better when you are playing with the starters. I need to make sure he gets some of that."

However, with the turbulent quarterback battle that was expected to take place during camp, some questioned whether or not Mariucci was simply adding fuel to the fire.

"When you have training camp, there are a lot of practices and there are a lot of snaps with an offense," defended Mariucci. "It's in the thousands. Joey doesn't need them all. We monitor how many throws their arms get. We monitor the snaps that a starter would get, a back-up would get, and the rookies would get. There's time to do that. We just need to pick our spots and plan accordingly."

OTHER TRAINING CAMP NOTES
Somewhere in the Jeff Garcia, Joey Harrington saga resides rookie quarterback Dan Orlovsky. Orlovsky, who looked sporadic on occasion against the Jets, almost completed a game-tying final drive. Mariucci was impressed with Orlovsky, despite the inconsistency.

"I've been impressed with him. He is confident that he gets this stuff, that he can execute it, and that he can make all the throws," Mariucci said. "His arm is strong enough to make all the throws. There were some plays in that game plan that he simply had never practiced. So we tried to keep it condensed for him. He was in the pocket 20 times, and that's good for him."

Orlovsky has also responded well to Detroit's west coast offense -- a complicated, multi-option scheme that can often bewilder even veteran quarterbacks. "He takes it all in stride," Mariucci said. "He seems to have the answers when you test him. He understands the concepts. I've been pleased with his progress."

Asked if Orlovsky brings anything more to the table than former Lion Mike McMahon, Mariucci was noncommittal.

"He's a different style of quarterback than Mike was. If he's in a game, we would use him a little bit differently. (Dan's) a long ways off, but he's showing us he belongs in this league. He's showing us that he's making a real case to make the club, be around and learn from a couple of veteran quarterbacks in front of him."

STEPPIN' UP FOR SLEDGE: Despite the injury to fullback Cory Schlesinger, Mariucci is still content at the position. Schlesinger is expected to miss the next 6-8 weeks after suffering a broken fibula, but has a few competent replacements until he returns.

"What we have without Cory is Paul (Smith) who is an experienced guy," said Mariucci, "He's been a fullback, he's been a tailback and he's been a special team's guy.

"We have a youngster (Will Matthews) that's learning how to play pro football. He's got some great potential and some upside. The more snaps in practice and in the games we can get him, the more it is going to benefit him. We're still in good shape."

He also wasn't against the idea of using veteran Shawn Bryson.

"He plays fullback anyway. He played fullback in the game. By design when we are in a three wide receiver set, he has been the fullback," Mariucci said. "Shawn Bryson is a very versatile football player, one of the most position flexible players on this football team. He can play fullback, he plays tailback, he is a single back, he is on the special teams all over the place, a couple years ago he was our leading rusher and our leading pass receiver. He is a smart guy and is very capable -- maybe using Shawn a little bit more might be what we think about doing.

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