Luke Waltons Forehead presented by the Sports Dude.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005 at 10:02 AM

With Garcia it is not an "if" but more a "when".

You know how to tell if you are a Detroit Lions fan? It is quite simple – the loudest talk of this off season has been about a back up position. Not starters mind you, not even the draft or what young gun we might pick. Are we going to trade that pick for more picks later in the draft or how about those other free agent signings, Kennedy and Pollard. No, that is not the case here in Lions town these days; our excitement is reserved for a back up position, that of quarterback, because it has been so long here in Detroit since we have had a good one.

See, the key to this signing is not so much “if” but rather “when”. With most teams in the NFL, when they go after a back up quarterback, the signing is looked at like “Well, if our starter gets injured or goes down, then this back up we signed can come in and we know he will perform well.” However, with the Lions situation, it goes more like “When Joey fails, because we know he will, we finally have a guy that can come in and do a better job then him.” That is the key to this signing, that is why it is creating such buzz – because finally the Lions have a real quarterback behind Joey, not just some third stringer like McMahon was. The Lions actually have a back up plan they believe in, where as with McMahon it was just as bad as Joey, if not a little worse.

Look, I am not saying that Garcia is Joe Montana Jr. here, but he is a hell of an upgrade from McMahon. Furthermore, he is a hell of a greater threat to Joey, much more of a push, and maybe that is what Joey needs. Joey always knew the job was his, no matter what he did, because he knew, as well as everyone else did, that McMahon was never going to surpass him. Now he finally has a guy behind him that has a proven track record, has succeeded extremely well under Mooch, I think it is safe to say that this is the first push Joey has felt in a long time. I hope I eat my words on Joey; I really do, because the better he does then the better the Lions do. But my guess is that by the second game of the season, the third game at best, the Lions will have a new starter in Garcia and Joey will be where he should have been all along – on the sidelines with a clipboard.

I think the most telling sign of this plan will come in the draft. If the Lions anywhere in this draft pick a quarterback, even in the later rounds, I think that is a telling sign that they all but are putting the final nail in Joey’s coffin. Yes that might be a bold statement, but I feel it is also quite true and highly possible. I think Garcia has enough left in the tank to surpass Joey and become the starter. I think his lousy year last season is more a sign of the crap that is the Cleveland Browns than it is a sign of a quarterback on the decline. I think reuniting with Mooch, playing again in Mooch’s system and the success he had in it, you will see some of the Garcia that you saw in San Francisco. Joey is going to have to come out gunning, he is going to have to make plays, but I think his days are numbered. Couple that with the Garcia signing, throw in what I feel will be a Lions draft pick at the quarterback position and I think you can all but see the writing on the wall – the Lions are prepared to put Joey up there with Andre Ware, early QB picks that spell “B-U-S-T”. Garcia should be the starter at some point in time this coming season, and the sooner the better now that the Lions division is weaker than ever.

Well, that is really all I have to say on it at this point. I like the signing, I think that finally there is someone there to push Joey and perform better than him (not hard to do) if (or should I say when?) he fails. The Lions finally have that luxury, where in the past it was a joke backing him up, AKA Mike McMahon. Mooch finally got his man, he no longer has Morningweg’s puppet as his only viable option at quarterback, and if Joey falters for one second (or should I say when again?) then there is finally someone there to step in and out perform him under center. I hope Joey is looking over his shoulder, I hope Joey is sweating a little today (other than because he is playing his piano to hard!) and I think the Lions are an actual legitimate contender for a playoff spot now. I am excited about Lions football for the first time since Barry Sander’s glory days, and just like the Tigers I can’t wait for the season to get under way. Again, I ask this question – is it a matter of “if” Joey is the quarterback or a matter of “when” Garcia takes the job? Personally, I think it is just a matter of time before Joey holds the clipboard, but you can call me a slappy on that one all you want, I’ll take my chances with Garcia over Joey any day.

Here is a link to the ESPN article on the signing, later – the sports dude.

Anonymous Evan said...

OK, I'm a Joey optimist. You know this.

But really. Do you HONESTLY expect that Jeff Garcia's limp-as-a-dish-rag arm is going to carry the Lions anywhere they haven't already been? More accurate? Probably.

But he was a tad over-rated in his Pro Bowl years, and he's not had a good year in a while. What reason is there to assume that he'll be any better?

Thankfully, this is just a one year deal. If Joey fails this year, we'll need someone real -- not a has been from Mariucci's past life. I'm glad he's there because McMahon was awful. But all I think of when I think of Garcia is "bench!"  

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Anonymous SB said...

I'll have to whole heartedly agree with the original post. If the Lions drop to 0-2 or 1-3, then Garcia's in. Mariucci's got to show some progress and will turn to his veteran QB to win games. Garcia shouldn't have to carry the team that has Kevin Jones, Marcus Pollard, Roy Williams and Charles Rogers.

I would LOVE for Harrington to do well...however, I'm done waiting and will welcome a change.  

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Anonymous Evan said...

Well let's be honest. It won't matter. Here are the first four games in a nutshell:

Game 1: Kevin Jones twists his ankle and goes out for 3 games.

Game 2: Charles Rogers breaks his collarbone AND newcomer Kenoy Kennedy gets a concussion laying a monster hit on a WR.

Game 3: Jeff Backus breaks both knees, out for 2 years.

Game 4: Shaun Rogers eats an opposing player and is out for 7 games.

And then the slide begins.

Seriously, the first thing I'd sign as head coach is a better training and medical staff.  

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Blogger the sports dude said...

Evan - I love your optimism on the upcoming season, makes me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside when I think about it. LOL.

As far as the injury bug goes, the only one I believe is Rogers - I think he is going to be a bust, but that is just the Spartan in him and the Maize and Blue in me.

As far as Garcia goes, I think he still has something left to give. It is my honest opinion that his woes last year were more the problems in Cleveland than they were with him. Is he his former pro-bowl self? I doubt it. But even if he were 75% of that, which I think he can still be thanks to coming back to Mooch's system, that 75% is still better than Joey's 100%.

Like I said, if Joey does well that means the Lions are doing well. I would love to eat my words on Joey, but I just don't see it happening. Put him up there with Andre Ware, he is a bust. Like SB said, how many more chances are we going to give this guy. He has had three years and if by the third or fourth game this year it still isn't there then give him a clipboard - the dude is all but done. Later.  

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