Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Monday, December 05, 2005

Purgatory -- One down, four to go

Help me out here. Those of you who thought playing Jeff Garcia at quarterback over Joey Harrington was the best thing for the Detroit Lions, how do you feel about that now? How did Garcia and his flaccid arm work for you yesterday?

What does the Lions' coaching staff see in Garcia that makes them think he gives the team a better chance to win games? What makes the other players believe in him? (And I still say Dick Jauron played Garcia to placate that not-so-silent majority, especially the defense.)

Hey, I'm just a fan watching the games on TV. I'm not in that locker room. I'm not in the huddle. I don't get to watch the film. What does Garcia do better? Are his "intangibles" the reason he's playing? Because there's no physical evidence to suggest the Lions have a chance to win with him at quarterback.

His 126 yards were the second-lowest total by a Lions quarterback this season (Joey threw for 97 against Baltimore, but the Lions won that game), and his 17 completions averaged seven yards per pass. That's a great average for a running game. It's terrible for a passing game.

A completed pass was a major achievement for Garcia yesterday. How many passes were thrown at the feet of his receivers? How many were thrown behind the pass routes? The man could barely complete a pass in the flat to a running back.

And when he did manage to hit one of those throws, how fast did Garcia bail out to his checkdown option? Wasn't that one of the big criticisms of Harrington, that he didn't give his wide receivers time to get open, that he checked down to his third or fourth option too quickly? Garcia didn't even bother going through his progressions yesterday. You can't even call it a "check down," because he didn't bother to "check." Garcia threw to the flat as soon as the ball was snapped on several plays, and TV replays showed that wide receivers and tight ends were open down the field.

Meanwhile, the quarterback on the winning side actually wanted to play in Detroit this year. Boy, that worked out well.

Yesterday's game made one thing painfully clear: Nothing is going to change over these last four games.

Last week, Matt Millen said he wanted to see better development of the team's younger players. And then he gave the interim head coaching position to a guy who seemingly has no interest in that whatsoever. Otherwise, wouldn't Harrington and Charles Rogers have been playing? Jauron preferred to carry a special teams linebacker over Rogers on the gameday roster.

Think about that: the third and second overall picks in the 2002 and 2003 drafts, respectively, didn't play yesterday. Did. Not. Play.

I understand that Dick Jauron wants to win games. That's ultimately what he'll be judged on. But trying to accomplish that with Jeff Garcia throwing to Scottie Vines, and giving roster spots to special teams linebackers over possibly the fastest wide receiver on the team does nothing for the Lions right now. Even if Greg Olson wanted to open up the offense and call for more downfield passing - which is what we all hoped for - he can't, because his quarterback doesn't have the ability to make those throws.

So what we're left with is cheering for guys running away from security staff while holding up "Fire Millen" signs. Do you think the Lions are somewhat relieved, deep down, that three of their last four games are on the road? That last home game against the Cincinnati Bengals could be ugly. The people might be holding pitchforks and torches. There could be effigies burning inside and outside of Ford Field.

Can this possibly get any worse? Actually, don't answer that. Please.

(Photos by Morris Richardson/
The Detroit News)


  • At December 05, 2005 10:38 AM, Blogger Sports Litter said…

    The Lions are what the Bengals were for the better part of the last decade. Don't worry, good times are only about 7 more years away.

  • At December 05, 2005 2:34 PM, Blogger The Armchair Quarterback said…

    Nice write up. I have to agree with you about Garcia. If your offense is predicated on 3-4 yard throws even if the defense is expecting it then Garcia is your man. I think that is what got Terrell Owens tired of playing with him (although can this guy be truly happy with any QB?). I think Harrington has had his time to prove what he can do though. They need to look towards a trade or free agency for a QB next year. I don't think they want to develop another rookie.

  • At December 05, 2005 3:09 PM, Blogger Ian C. said…

    I realize I come off as (very?) pro-Joey, but I'm really more anti-Garcia. Joey has had his chances, and the proverbial change of scenery is probably required.

    But I will still argue he hasn't played in an offense that suits his skills. Watching San Diego last night almost made me cry, because Cam Cameron (and Schottenheimer) looked at the roster and built an offense around those players. No way a player like Antonio Gates (or Tomlinson) would be split out wide or moved to different sides of the formation in the Lions' archaic system.

  • At December 06, 2005 12:11 AM, Anonymous Benny said…

    The only good things about the Lions season is that it's almost over and they host the Super Bowl. Wonder if the Lions players will be shut out of all parties the week of due to lack of coolness??

  • At December 06, 2005 10:58 AM, Blogger Ian C. said…

    Benny, I have a feeling the Lions will get a lot of free sympathy drinks from their fellow NFL players during Super Bowl week. Peyton Manning, for instance, will surely provide a shoulder for his old teammate, Marcus Pollard, to cry on.

  • At December 06, 2005 12:51 PM, Blogger the sports dude said…

    If Garcia starts again this weekend then there really is nothing left to even look at as far as I am concerned! Actually I haven't looked all season so I guess why bother now. It is clear to me that both Joey and Charles will be elsewhere next year and I agree with you that in both cases a change of scenery is required for them both to survive. I say start Joey because there is nothing to lose but in all honesty I say give it to Orlovsky at this point. I like the kid and maybe these last four games can propel him into next season, who knows. Hey, like the old bit goes, there is always the draft and the guesses can now begin as to what receiver Millen will take next year!

  • At December 07, 2005 2:21 PM, Blogger Chris said…

    I know you're anti-Garica, but Joey isn't able to win games either. I'm tired of wasting energy on this season. Like countless past, this season is left in the shitter while Lions fans watch the Ford's sit and spin their wheels. It's clear that Ford doesn't give a fuck about winning, or doesn't understand how to win. Either way he needs to figure it out or sell the Lions to someone who wants to bring a winning franchise back to Detroit.


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