Rogers, Harrington To See More Time

Three weeks later, Lions' interim coach Dick Jauron finally got the memo. Play the youth.

ALLEN PARK - Three weeks later, Lions' interim coach Dick Jauron finally got the memo.

Play the youth.

On Wednesday, Jauron named Joey Harrington the starting quarterback for Sunday's contest against New Orleans, after apparently having seen enough of veteran Jeff Garcia.

Inserted into the line-up after the Thanksgiving Day debacle against the Atlanta Falcons (which led the the firing of former coach Steve Mariucci), Garcia has been inconsistent at best.

The former Pro Bowler has put up ratings of 45.7, 80.6 and 57.3, throwing just two touchdown passes in the three losses. According to Jauron, the losses ultimately decided Garcia's fate.

But coupled with a belated youth movement, he won't just sit behind Harrington, he will be shifted to third on the depth chart -- behind rookie Dan Orlovsky.

Jauron was hesitant to admit Garcia's shortcomings were the reason behind the switch, allowing the media to draw its own conclusions.

"In terms of personnel, we did make the change at quarterback, so Joey will be our quarterback and he will start," said Jauron. "Jeff will probably be the third only because of where we are now, so Dan will get more reps in practice and we made it for the obvious reasons - we have lost the games. We were very close in the first two and then of course nothing went particularly well in this last one. We decided to make that change and we will go forward."

Added Jauron: "Joey has been fine in practices but he hasn't had a chance to compete on the field since I have been here, since I have been in this position.

The news wasn't easy on Garcia, 35, who is entering the twilight of his career. After being benched in the fourth quarter of last Sunday's loss to Cincinnati, Garcia might have already spent his last time on the field in Detroit.

"I can't say enough about him - Jeff is an unbelievable competitor," said Jauron. "It wasn't easy for him. It wasn't easy when we talked yesterday because he feels disappointed, he feels he didn't perform like he would have liked to. He is disappointed in everybody's performance - the team, where we are, everything."

Harrington's performance was a lone bright spot in the loss. Although the game was decided, Harrington seemed composed, completing six of his seven passes including a touchdown completion to Charles Rogers.

"That was part of it," said Jauron of Harrington's performance impacting his status. "I don't think there is any way you can divorce what happened. You have to look at it and consider it. It was probably time to make the move and we are just trying to see if we can get a jump start and get a win somehow."

Jauron said that the decision was not influenced by vice president Matt Millen, who encouraged that the team give more time to its younger players.

Harrington will be provided with a large dose of Charles Rogers, expected to see his most time on the field since a suspension earlier in the year.

Rogers had one of his more productive days as a Lion against Cincinnati with his three receptions and 71 yards.

"Charles will get (more time)," Jauron said. "In his case, I know very little about him. When I got here, he wasn't and he hadn't been active for a good deal of time and when I got here a year ago, he didn't play at all except for a few plays in one game that I saw. Here we were and he was inactive for one game and he got on the field and the thing that I told all of them, him included, was if you get out there, you had better perform because you don't want to come back off.

"So he performed. He performed pretty well and now he will get some more chances."

BIG BABY, BIG BOWL: Lions' defensive tackle Shaun Rogers was the lone Lion selected to February's Pro Bowl. He has recorded 32 tackles, 5.5 sacks and forced two fumbles.

"Shaun, at times he has been phenomenal and then most of the time he has been, I would say, outstanding," said Jauron. "He is a very difficult player to contend with offensively just because he has a rare form of size - he really is a giant man - and he is extremely quick and athletic. Maybe more so than about anybody I have been around.

"He is a rare player and I believe he is just going to get better."


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