ALLEN PARK - The offensive numbers mustered by the Detroit Lions this season haven't been pretty.
Meet the obvious.
A paltry 245.0 yards per game is good enough for 27th overall in the league. 4.1 yards per play falls in at an abysmal 29th. And starting quarterback Joey Harrington's quarterback rating? At least it's consistent with something: October's chilly weather index. At 52.7, Harrington is a cellar-dwellar among NFL starting quarterbacks, joined by rookie company Alex Smith (San Francisco) and Kyle Orton (Chicago).
The problem with that is that Harrington is in his fourth-year.
With excuses running thin, and a hint of dissension amongst his supporting cast, the former No. 3 overall pick told the media Friday that it's only a matter of time before the unit clicks.
"We are on top of the division and we haven't even played our best football yet," Harrington said. "That is nothing but a positive thing. We have some definite bugs to work out, but we have been doing it every day in practice, staying afterwards and working in between drills.
"That is something we are going to work out. And when we do, it is going to be even better, because we are already a game up in our division."
But if it's going to happen, it needs to happen fast. After consecutive games against some of the league's most vaunted defenses, the not-to-shabby Carolina Panthers (3-2) will waltz into Ford Field on Sunday. But what the Panthers lack is a threatening pass defense (26th overall). If Harrington continues to struggle, Lions' head coach Steve Mariucci won't hesitate to turn to vested reserve Jeff Garcia, who could return to action as early as next Sunday.
Harrington was adamant that his timing is improving, slowly but surely, with his receiving core. And with trust will come results.
"(Trust) is the one thing you have to do," he said. "We have been throwing to these guys through camp. It is not just like we pulled them out of thin air. They have been in camp and they have been a part of the team or on practice squad or active and not getting as many reps, but the biggest thing is that you just have to trust it.
"You have to trust that you know where they are going to be, cut it loose and then make them make the plays. It just builds their confidence."
Notes: Harrington will likely be without receiver Roy Williams (quadriceps), who missed an entire week of practice. Mariucci told Williams that if he didn't run full speed in at least one session this week, he would be a scratch. Williams will continue to be a gametime decision, along with kick return specialist Eddie Drummond (knee) -- who will also didn't practice. The Lions signed WR Glenn Martinez from the practice squad for depth, and there's a remote possibility veteran DB R.W. McQuarters could see action at receiver.
Defensive end James Hall will miss his second consecutive game with a sore groin, but Mariucci said his status is improving.
Harrington: Lions Best Is Still To Come
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