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 THE GOOSE: Joey Harrington still the guy, for now! 
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Post THE GOOSE: Joey Harrington still the guy, for now!
Harrington's still the Lions' guy, for now

07:24 PM CDT on Saturday, June 18, 2005
Steve Mariucci was hired by the Detroit Lions ostensibly to become their head coach in 2003. In reality, he was hired to bring the franchise some credibility.
The Michigan native coached the San Francisco 49ers to four playoff berths, two division titles and an NFC Championship Game in his six seasons (1997-2002) out West.
Mariucci knows how to win, and the Ford family was hoping he could rub off on their Lions. Instead, the Lions have rubbed off on him. Mariucci has won only 11 of 32 games in two seasons.
But Mariucci isn't feeling any additional pressure. The same cannot be said for his quarterback, Joey Harrington.
Harrington arrived in Detroit a year ahead of Mariucci as the third overall pick of the 2002 NFL draft. But he has not developed into the franchise quarterback the Lions had hoped he'd be. At least not yet.
So the Lions have turned up the heat on Harrington by signing free agent Jeff Garcia, who was a Pro Bowl passer for Mariucci in San Francisco at the start of the decade. Garcia, 35, gives Mariucci an attractive, albeit aging, alternative should Harrington falter.
But Harrington will determine how soon, if at all, Garcia sees the field. Harrington will dictate that with his play.
"I told Jeff right from the start we needed a backup quarterback," Mariucci said. "We're still determined to develop Joey Harrington as our starter. Joey knows that, Jeff knows that, the fans know that, the media knows that."
Harrington has shown improvement, increasing his yardage and touchdown totals in each of his three NFL seasons ? he had 3,047 yards and 19 touchdowns last season.
But the Lions have not shown as dramatic improvement in the standings. They won three games in 2002, five in 2003 and six in 2004. But Mariucci insists it's still too early to judge Harrington.
"Would I like him to be in the Pro Bowl? Yes," Mariucci said. "But you have to take other things into consideration. He's been playing on an awfully young team, and the skill positions around him have changed every year. It's always somebody different, somebody new, somebody getting hurt ...
"For a quarterback and receivers to get on the same page takes a lot of throws and a lot of time. He hasn't had that. That's slowed his progress down."
Harrington has had a different tailback in each of his three seasons: James Stewart in 2002, Shawn Bryson in 2003 and Kevin Jones in 2004. He's also had two tight ends, Mikhael Ricks in 2002-03 and Stephen Alexander in 2004.
Az Hakim was signed in free agency to become Detroit's lead receiver in 2002, but his season ended after 10 games with a fractured hip. Then the Lions drafted Charles Rogers second overall in 2003 to give Harrington a lead receiver, but he lasted only five games before suffering a broken clavicle.
Rogers suffered another season-ending clavicle injury on opening day in 2004.
Now Rogers is back. Roy Williams, the team's first choice in the 2004 draft, has emerged as a lead receiver after an eight-touchdown rookie season. The Lions drafted another potential lead receiver last April, taking Mike Williams with the 10th overall pick.
Jones flashed elite back potential with a 1,100-yard rookie season in 2004, and the Lions signed free agent Marcus Pollard this off-season. He started at tight end on the NFL's most explosive offense at Indianapolis in 2004.
On paper, the Lions have their most explosive offense since the Run-and-Shoot days of the mid-1990s when Barry Sanders was winning rushing titles and Herman Moore receiving crowns.
"It doesn't matter what's on paper," Mariucci said. "It's who's on the field. It's who's out there playing. If Charles is there for 16 games and Roy is out there for 16 games, Marcus Pollard. ... If they're all on the field, we can be pretty darn good. That's exciting to me. I think there's a chance we could have that. That's encouraging."
With all the weapons Harrington will have at his disposal, the Lions ought to be able to move the football and compete for a playoff spot. That's the expectation. So judge Harrington this season. The Lions will.
"It's time for him to come along," Mariucci said, "and we expect him to do that."
E-mail rgosselin@dallasnews.com


June 20th, 2005, 12:47 pm
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Post Re: THE GOOSE: Joey Harrington still the guy, for now!
Ferris wrote:
"Would I like him to be in the Pro Bowl? Yes," Mariucci said. "But you have to take other things into consideration. He's been playing on an awfully young team, and the skill positions around him have changed every year. It's always somebody different, somebody new, somebody getting hurt


Thats the first time i heard Mooch say something somewhat encouraging to Joey. He never gives Joey props (not that he always deserves it), and maybe this will allow Joey go out there and show his talent now that his coach is backing him up.


June 20th, 2005, 12:55 pm
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for as much money as we have tied up into Joey Crog R.Williams, and BMW(we will be giving him big money anyways).. Joey better look like a probowler


June 20th, 2005, 1:05 pm
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