Detroit’s QB controversy intensifies

first_img Mariucci’s dilemma: Should he keep playing Joey Harrington, who has the NFL’s lowest passer’s rating and was booed off Ford Field by angry Lions fans last weekend? Or should Mariucci switch to Jeff Garcia, a 35-year-old coming off a broken leg and a shattered 2004 season with Cleveland? “You take a lot of things into consideration,” Mariucci said earlier this week. “But the bottom line is that it’s a matter of who I feel gives us the best chance to win the game. I really believe both guys are capable.” CLEVELAND — Calling it a controversy doesn’t come close to explaining Detroit’s quarterback situation. An ugly, festering mess might be more appropriate. Pity poor Lions coach Steve Mariucci, who has a first-place team and a second-or third-rate offense. He goes into today’s game against the Cleveland Browns with two choices for a starting QB, neither of them very good. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Too bad Mariucci can’t combine the best qualities of his two QBs: Harrington’s arm and youth, Garcia’s legs and experience, into one. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing Jeffy Garcington. Despite their quarterbacking conflict, the Lions (2-3) are atop the dreadful NFC North, and after playing the Browns (2-3), they’ll face division rivals Chicago and Minnesota in consecutive weeks with a chance to separate from the pack. They’ll only be able to do that if they can fix the league’s 30th-ranked offense, which was outscored by Detroit’s defense in a 21-20 loss to Carolina last week. Harrington, who has yet to live up to the expectations of a No. 3 overall draft pick (2002), has taken the brunt of the criticism. But Mariucci, who wasn’t expected to make a decision on his starter until gametime, has sheltered Harrington better than Detroit’s offensive line. center_img “It would be crazy to point the finger at one person the quarterback,” he said. Last week, Detroit fans focused their hostility on Harrington, whose string of 37 consecutive starts the most by a Lions quarterback since Greg Landry from 1970-73 could be in jeopardy. That’s not surprising to Harrington, who is 16-33 as a starter. However, he isn’t about to give up. “I’m not in a spot I want to be in right now in terms of wins and losses and where this team is sitting, but that’s just more reason to keep working,” he said. “I’m not someone who’s going to quit just because I hit a little bump in the road. I don’t care how big that bump is, I’m going to keep fighting through it.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more