Lions Can't Even Think of Firing Mariucci

ALLEN PARK - For all those who believe Steve Mariucci is on the hot seat, forget it. The only pressure Mariucci feels is internal. For better or for worse, Steve Mariucci is the face of the Detroit Lions franchise.

Mariucci is everything the Ford family wants in a coach; talented, smart, well-spoken, good-looking and a winner. He hasn't been a winner in Detroit, but he will be.

Anyone who thinks that Mooch could be the fall guy for the team's early stumbles to a 2-3 record should think again. The evidence is plain and clear; Detroit doesn't have a quarterback. With Joey Harrington on his way out, perhaps as soon as Sunday, Mariucci can't be held liable for a situation he didn't create.

After all, Mariucci didn't draft Joey Harrington 3rd overall in 2002. Mariucci wanted to play Mike McMahon some in his first season as Lions coach, giving evidence that he wasn't convinced Harrington was the guy.

He lobbied long and hard to acquire backup quarterback Jeff Garcia when some thought Garcia's presence would undermine Harrington. When guys such as Kurt Warner and others were being trotted in here as possible backups, Mariucci stuck to his guns - he wanted Garcia.

Also, how accurate was the story that claimed that former Lions offensive coordinator Sherm Lewis wrote a report/evaluation critical of Harrington's ability to lead the team?

If Lewis did write such an evaluation and it was ignored, who's fault is that? And if Harrington actually is replaced as the starter and perhaps is finished in Motown, Detroit will have to go out and find a long-term solution at the position.

How can you even think of firing a guy who never had a quarterback? Beside, their is no real evidence that Lions president and general manager Matt Millen has ever even considered canning Mooch.

But what happens if Garcia actually gets into the game and plays at a middle of the pack level and the Lions win - perhaps even the division title? Who gets the credit then? It's Mariucci.

So instead of being on the hot seat, if Mariucci, while in the midst of a quarterback change, rallies his team and wins and especially if the team secures a playoff spot, then guess who's in line - not for a bus ticket - but a contract extension?

You guessed it.


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