Yes, he has been sacked enough times to go down 32 times this year -- but considering he has only been victimized 53 times prior to this year, it's an eye opening number. It's even more sickening when a lot more pressures and hurries are leading to interceptions. Anyone who withstood the entire Chicago game without blacking out knows this.
But valid excuses quickly become invalid in the NFL. Fans and more importantly GM's have to move on to the cold hard numbers after a certain point, and if Harrington makes it to the end of the year, it will be four years.
The excuses have come quickly and abundantly -- albeit most of them cogent.
'He's young, give him time.'
'His receivers are unhealthy.'
'His receivers aren't good enough.'
'He doesn't have a running game.'
'His recievers are young.'
The newest claim is the issue with the offensive line. Diehard supporters blame coaching, as the offensive line hasn't changed but for a few minor slots. No way can a guard and a possible addition by subtraction with Stockar McDougle's departure make that big of a difference ... can they?
The offensive line hasn't done its job, whether it's been OL coach Pat Morriss' fault or not -- somebody isn't getting their job done. Kevin Jones hasn't been able to do anything with their meager attempts at run blocking, which means teams know that Steve Mariucci's vanilla offense and Joey Harrington's two second dropbacks won't beat anybody -- save a downtrodden and injured Green Bay team.
Coaches and players alike, namely Steve Mariucci and Damien Woody, claim that the offensive line will get better. But where is the switch that turns abhorrent into excellence, and why hasn't it been flipped since we knew the problem existed in the preseason?
Don't expect it to get too much better. Despite the quotes, despite the optimism, there is no quick fix for this football team or its offensive line. And Joey Harrington will again be the person who brunts most of the weight of many more losses ahead.
And that's just it, if the O-Line doesn't get any better, if blocks continue to be unsustained, we may never realize the potential of Harrington as an NFL quarterback. The routes won't have time to be completed, which means many, many more incompletions. And many have already shunned the excuses and have turned to the cold hard numbers -- poor passing percentage. Four years is often times much more than poor passing percentage will buy -- regardless of excuses.
Joey Harrington may well be released upon the season's finish, and in many minds it won't be his fault. Whichever side of the fence you are on, even the harshest critics can admit that Joey isn't getting a fair shot at showing himself a talented quarterback who can take Detroit to, at the very least, a winning season.
Many questions remain. Will Steve Mariucci make changes to the line? If not, will they gel and come together? Will Joey even have time with the starters to get to the point in which the O-Line gels? With Jeff Garcia healing his broken leg quickly, that can become an issue.
Questions have always surrounded Joey Harrington about as much as the excuses have. And even if the offensive line doesn't perform and gives Joey another 'out' of yet another horrible season, it all boils down to just that -- a horrible season. Something the fans and upper management won't be able to handle again.
If the offensive line doesn't roll up the red carpet leading to Joey Harrington, he will only have hope that the carpet will remain on his path right out of town.
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