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ALLEN PARK - The hype around last weekend's number one draft choice Joey Harrington
still hasn't died down around the Lions headquarters, but he is not getting the reps in
mini-camp -- which started today in the Lions new practice facilities in Allen Park.
Second-year quarterback Mike McMahon is getting the majority of the reps and the only reason is because he knows the plays and knows the offense. Head coach Marty Mornhinweg wants to see the offense run smoothly, and Harrington is still in the grooming process of learning the complex West Coast offense.
In the first two practices, McMahon ran the offense and did a very good job in the seven-on-seven drills and full team drills. But the hype wasn't around McMahon and his ability to run the offense effectively, it was about the new "franchise" quarterback. Harrington showed his arm off in his individual drills, and displayed the ability to make all the throws, despite botching a few early snaps. Harrington has a good feel for passing game and shows good timing on his passes. He has a quick release and shows ability to lay the deep ball in over coverage.
"Joey's biggest evaluations will come from his individuals drills and group drills," said Mornhinweg. "We are talking about individual routes and one-on-ones. He will go in and get some reps at seven-on-seven, but those will be minimal.
"Those reps will be plays where he feels extremely comfortable with."
Harrington showed some of his leadership skills and what makes him a special quarterback in his one-on-one drills with the wide receivers. Harrington held dialogue with each of his new targets before and after each throw. When the team was in seven-on-seven drills, he didn't sit back and just watch when he wasn't in there, he was trying to learn as much as he could, asking and talking to other players and coaches.
Ty Detmer got the other reps that McMahon and Harrington didn't and there is some question if he will make with the team with Scott Dreisbach doing so well in NFL Europe. There is some talk that if he doesn't make the team, that the Lions will offer him a coaching position because of his knowledge of the West Coast offense.
The Lions have a plan that they want to do with their work at mini-camp, both on offense and on defense.
"Offensively, we will work on base and nickel," Mornhinweg said. "Defensively, we focus on structure and terminology. Certainly, for the first-year players, there will be structure and terminology as well."
-The look of the secondary was totally different and there was a lot of different players working out at both the free and strong safety position. Brian Walker, Corey Harris, and Bracy Walker all worked at both the free and strong safety position, and Lamar Campbell work at both the cornerback spot as well as the free safety position.
-Wide receiver Germane Crowell will not participate in team drills but he has been running and working out. He is still recovering from two off-season knee surgeries.
-Defensive tackle Luther Elliss, who was hampered by an elbow injury last season, and he has be held out of some drill in mini-camp because the Lions want to give him time for his elbow recover fully.
- Two of the newest Lions wide receiver Bill Schroeder and tight end Mikhael Ricks looked very impressive catching the ball in both one-on-one drills and the seven-on-seven team drills.
-Jeff Gooch the newest Lions outside linebacker showed the speed and the pass covering skills that the Lions lacked last season and that is one of the reason that they added him to the mix this off-season.
-The Lions would like to re-sign unrestricted free agent linebacker Brian Williams. Williams had off-season knee surgery and will not likely to be able to practice until June.