ALLEN PARK - You'll have to excuse Joey Harrington if he's living the life of Riley lately.
He's really never had the chance.
After recovering his lost starting position earlier in the week, Harrington's quotables since reflect only a shadow of the Harrington that lost his job a few weeks ago. His well-noted, "What are they going to do, bench me?" comment left both the media and fellow players asking, 'What has happened to Joey Blueskies?'
Everyone, meet Joe. If he has his way, he'll be around for a while.
Given the turbulent nature that has defined his fourth professional season, and the previous three that were as equally abominable, the psychoanalysis of Harrington's emerging second personality could be diagnosed by a toddler. With a new lease on life, and a slew of impressive practice performances, it seems the former Oregon standout and No. 3 overall pick may have finally broken out of his shell.
During Friday's practice, Joe Harrington was against efficient. Taking every repetition with the first team offense, he was sharp, drilling targets in stride and again remaining candidly blunt with the media.
When asked about the potential return of Charles Rogers and Roy Williams to help re-establish a threatening receiving core, Harrington said the receiver situation won't affect his decision making. He simply plans on "chucking it."
"I am not worried about establishing a trio, I am worried about establishing an offense," Harrington said. "I am worried about establishing a ground game, a passing game; anything that can get this offense going. I don't care who is out there.
He added: "I personally think people make too big of a deal about a trio, or quartet or whatever it is supposed to be. Whatever guys are out there and ready to play, that is who we are going to go with."
As the Lions' starter, Harrington struggled to a 55.6 quarterback rating, tossing eight interceptions and throwing just four touchdown passes in five games. Although he didn't get much help from a lackluster offensive line that provided similar support to vetearn Jeff Garcia, it is clear that Harrington must make the most of his newfound opportunity. And, essentially, become a different quarterback.
"It hasn't been happening for anybody on offense right now," said Harrington regarding the team's inability to snap out of its slumber. "This would be a great week to breakout."
He'll have his chance, maybe his last.
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