Welcome Jamal Hayden -- our newest fan columnist!
Well it's US Open Time here in NYC, and with that comes lots of replays of John McEnroe's infamous outbursts. My personal favorite was his "You can't be serious" tirade.
Well after seeing Marty Mornhinweg (By the way, how exactly is this guy a head coach?) handle the Lions QB situation, McEnroe's childish outburst best describes my feelings.
I must admit I was very lukewarm to the idea of drafting Harrington in the first place.
My reasoning was the team already had a young QB in Mike McMahon and if he proved to be a disaster, the Lions would have a shot at a number of star college QB's in next years draft i.e. Byron Leftwich, Ken Dorsey, Dave Ragone, and Rex Grossman.
But after seeing Harrington this pre-season, it's clear the Lions made the right choice. Harrington has all the physical tools—ESPN's Sean Salisbury has compared him to Peyton Manning—and all the intangibles one wants in an NFL quarterback. He has poise, leadership ability, and that certain "something" that all the greats have. Simply put, he's the most exciting thing to happen to the Lions since Barry Sanders.
Unfortunately, for reasons not entirely clear—although I suspect ego plays a large role, but more on that later—Mornhinweg is steadfast in his decision to hand the job to a second year guy with three-career touchdown passes. The only thing I can come up with is Mornhinweg is so intent on showing everyone how great he is at developing QB's, he's determined to turn McMahon into a player.
Which is not to say that McMahon isn't talented, because he is. He's extremely mobile, has a strong arm, and has displayed a lot of moxie in his short career. It's just that Harrington is better already. Even though Harrington is the rookie and McMahon the second year guy, Harrington is more polished.
Mornhinweg has said that one reason for holding Harrington back is the pounding Troy Aikman took in his rookie year. This argument is flawed for several reasons. First, That was 1989 and the game was different then. There weren't the seemingly endless mini-camps, passing camps, OTA's, and "voluntary" workouts back then. There wasn't unrestricted free agency, and the parity we have now did not exist. Also, what's he saying about the offensive line? That they're terrible it sounds like; moreover, is he telling Mike McMahon it's OK if he gets creamed but not Harrington?
Maybe all this is moot and Harrington will be the starter by week two. After all there is precedent, just ask Charlie Batch. But after the disingenuous manner in which Mornhinweg (boy, I can't tell you how annoying it is typing that goofy name) and Millen handled the dismantling of the team and lowered the bar—after they said it was raised—I have a hard time trusting the M&M regime.
Paws For Thought
The Lions traded guard Brendan Stai this week and my only question is, why was he ever here in the first place? OK I lied, I have another question: who's going to replace all those false starts and holding penalties?
Let's hope Bill Schroeder and AZ Akim aren't the second coming of Jeff Chadwick and Pete Mandley.
There is absolutely no earthly reason why Chris Claiborne can't be a standout middle linebacker.
If they can stay healthy, corners Chris Cash and Andre' Goodman should be starting by mid season.
I see second year man Dominic Raiola (2nd round pick last year by the current regime) has "won" the starting center job from Eric Beverly, (undrafted free agent by the Bobby Ross regime). Nooo, I'm not implying there's anything funny going on here.
Do you get the feeling there are still some casual Lions fans out there who are still saying, "Marty who?"
And finally, in an attempt to change the Lions' luck, I will not be watching the Lions opening game at Sutton Place, NYC's best sports bar. I will be on Hilton Head Island fresh off a 102, with about four eight's on my card. Some people may think a round like that followed by watching the Lions would be incredibly frustrating. I think they're called sane people.
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