McMahon's Play Calms Nerves

Lions' QB Mike McMahon solidified his hold on the starting quarterback job with a nice performance in the Lions 20-13 win over Buffalo. But Detroit suffered a couple of injuries. Strangely enough, these could help them with their roster situation.

(DETROIT, MI)-- Mike McMahon put the fans at ease.

Uncertainty about whether or not McMahon really earned the starting quarterback job this preseason was running rampant. Many fans thought that rookie Joey Harrington outplayed McMahon and had earned the starting job, but McMahon's 5-for-5 performance with a 64-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mikhael Ricks put a lot of that uncertainty to rest.

"After that play, he (Lions' head coach Marty Mornhinweg) said 'You're ready. Sit down and relax.' It's nice to hear the coach say that you're ready." said McMahon.

Harrington, who played most of the game, was able to move a sporadic offense, completing 21-of-35 for 187 yards and a touchdown, but also a costly interception.

The Lions offense was plagued by penalities.  Detroit was flagged 12 times for 111 yards.  If they do that next week in Miami, they'll kill any chance they have to stealing a win.  "We were extremely sloppy with the penalties," said Mornhinweg afterwards. "I question a few of those, but we were sloppy in any regard."

Detroit also suffered two worrisome injuries.

Linebacker Clint Kriewaldt injured his right foot and will be out for several weeks.  His injury makes him a candidate for the PUP injured reserve list, which would make him ineligible until week six. It also might open up a roster spot for someone not yet with the team.  Detroit will scour the waiver wire looking for a veteran who can step in and play the strong side linebacker spot.  Brian Williams, who got limited action in the last night's game, will likely  get the starting nod.

Also hurt was rookie defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor, who suffered a high ankle sprain.  Detroit will likely protect a roster spot by placing the rookie on injured reserve which will keep an opposing team from signing him off the practice squad, something that happened when they put 2001 rookie Alfonso Boone there.  Boone recently signed a multi-year deal with Chicago.

Detroit's special teams played their second consecutive poor game, despite the win. Special teams coach Chuck Priefer needs to get the bugs ironed out prior to next Sunday's opener at Miami. Buffalo return man Charles Rogers took Detroit's first punt back 71 yards for a touchdown.  In total, the Lions special teams gave up 120 yards, anything over 100 is too many.

Detroit held out several key players including veteran Desmond Howard, who curiously didn't even dress.  Speculation began that Howard had either been traded or was going to be released.  Mornhinweg said that he was saving Howard for Miami.  If he isn't, this is going to look disingenious to the players, much like the James Jones move of a year ago.

Also held out was running back James Stewart, who will start next Sunday and wide receiver Bill Schroeder, who also likely will start.

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