Garcia, Not Harrington, Grabs Start

ALLEN PARK - After talk of a youth movement in the final five games, it appears doesn't necessarily include quarterback Joey Harrington.

ALLEN PARK - After talk of a youth movement in the final five games, it appears doesn't necessarily include quarterback Joey Harrington.

Harrington was named the No. 2 quarterback for Sunday's game against Minnesota, elevating veteran Jeff Garcia into the starting position.

The move was a relative surprise (although nothing is surprising in Allen Park these days) considering vice president Matt Millen's comments that the younger players needed to be developed. Harrington, although in his fourth season, is still an unknown.

Interim coach Dick Jauron stood by his decision.

"It was a decision certainly that I made," said Jauron. "I talked to the offensive staff, but I made the decision. I have played against Jeff a number of times.

"It wasn't anything that I don't think Joey (Harrington) can do it. He is disappointed that he is not getting the chance to be the one and he is focusing and he is being professional about being the two. We feel good about that situation and you hope that you don't get to your two unless you have one of those very rare games."

Rookie Dan Orlovsky will naturally remain the third quarterback.

When asked whether or not the decision to start Garcia was a contradiction to the statements made on Monday, Jauron remarked it was his decision -- not Millen's -- on who would start behind center.

"All I know is that I was given the power to make that decision and so I made the decision," said Jauron. "We are just going to compare each players stuff at each position, and that is just one spot.

"We will take every spot, the way I feel like we have all year. We are going to play the guys that play the best on Sunday that compete the best in practice and show the best and we will go from there."

Garcia took the news in stride, and despite a questionable performance in the team's loss to Atlanta last week, wasn't surprised by the decision.

He has posted a quarterback rating of 74.7 this season to Harrington's 66.5, but nagging leg injuries suffered in the preseason have limited his effectiveness.

"I think it is people outside of this locker room that seem to be surprised by the way things are done or the way decisions are made," he said. "Everybody within this locker room supports the decision. Unfortunately for the health issues throughout the season - I think we would be in a different situation or a different position right now. But we can't base anything upon that and we just have to take what is left of the season and salvage what we have.

"I am the guy right now and I am going to go out there and I am going to play hard and I am going to play mentally tough. I am going to go out there and make the best possible decisions and try to put the team in the best possible position to win the game."


Lions Report Top Stories