Mornhinweg: "We have been in five straight ga

According to our insider affiliate TSX, Lions' head coach Marty Mornhinweg defended the team's apparent second half slumps during ball games. "Listen, we have been in five straight games. Very, very close. Down to the last minute or the last drive. And we've won two." Read more of Mornhinweg's comments, plus additional info on Stockar McDougle, Bill Schroeder and WR Larry Foster!

Lions' head coach Marty Mornhinweg obviously is aware of the second-half problems rookie quarterback Joey Harrington is having, but he'd prefer the problems be ignored by the public and the media, and Harrington be given time to mature away from public criticism.

Mornhinweg has done his best to steer the media off the subject each time the Lions second-half problems have been brought up the last three weeks. The first time Mornhinweg was asked about Harrington's second half dropoff, he told the reporter it was merely "a figment of your imagination." When another reporter broached the subject a week later, he was told: "I think you're overthinking that just a little bit.''

And Mornhinweg was obviously uneasy facing the same question regarding the Lions second-half shortcomings after the 24-17 loss at Buffalo, in which they managed only a field goal in the second half.

"Um, I'm not sure there's much to that,'' Mornhinweg said. "I can make up a lot of reasons and excuses and all those type of things, (but) I'm just going to try to stay above that.

"You know all the reasons. The one good thing about that is our rookie quarterback -- along with a lot of our other young players -- were in a hostile environment. Very loud. On the road. Weather conditions. All those things.

"And (they were) in the football game, with another chance to tie that game. That, in the long run, will be helpful for all those guys. Listen, we have been in five straight games. Very, very close. Down to the last minute or the last drive. And we've won two."

The big question is whether RT Stockar McDougle (groin) will be ready to play or whether his backup Matt Joyce will be forced into duty. McDougle is working hard trying to get back for the game but wasn't able to practice Wednesday and might not practice at all this week; Joyce filled in adequately at RT a year ago but is not as quick off the ball or as physically dominating .... WR Larry Foster is likely to be listed as either doubtful or questionable for the Lions game Sunday against Dallas as a result of a shoulder injury he suffered in practice last week. Foster sat out the Lions 24-17 loss at Buffalo but coach Marty Mornhinweg is hoping to get him back to supplement the receiving corps or fill in for kick returner Desmond Howard, who also has had injury problems. ....WR Bill Schroeder (hamstring) isn't 100 percent but probably will play against the Cowboys.

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