Luke Waltons Forehead presented by the Sports Dude.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 at 10:56 AM

Monday Morning QB - Tuesday Edition.

Yes, I know, lazy again but here we go!!!!

The Wolverines

I am going to start off by saying this, those haters out there that are screaming for Lloyd Carr’s head be careful what you wish for because he will be missed when he is gone. Think back to the Moeller years, if you will, think back to some of the lean years with even Bo. Do you all realize this is truly the first rough year that Carr has had? Also, think of it this way, if Carr would not have won that National Championship in 1997, would any of you actually be screaming for his head now? If anyone answers that question “yes” then shame on you, get up, smack yourself in the head and give me a honest answer, because it should be “no”. Forget the injury bug that has plagued the team all year, forget about the fact that Henne has had no Hart and had to learn to live without Braylon, forget about the fact that the said injuries left the Wolverines with inexperienced players playing significant minutes, forget about all of the excuses and just focus on this point for one second! Carr himself is the reason why we are screaming for his head and for the simple fact that he won it all in 1997, he raised the bar on his own to this level. If he never would have won the damn thing then there would be no bitching about the coach needing to go because he doesn’t win enough, we may bitch about other things sure, but not like this and not to this extent. People Carr is the problem not because of the way he coaches (or doesn’t coach in some peoples eyes!) but rather because he raised the bar not only for this team but for himself. He said it best before this season when asked about 1997 and his statement was “Once you do it, there’s nothing else, there’s no goal out there that compares to that one.” My thinking on Carr is this that next year will be his last. He sees this team this year and the experience they are getting, playing young kids all over the place that should be here for at least another two or three years. He sees Henne growing, Hart continuing to lead and knows next years team has the chance to be the team that everyone expected this year. I think he rides out next years team, one that WILL have a legitimate shot at the National Championship and will retire, leaving a senior Hart and Henne to his successor for a smooth first year. But be warned, you all will miss him when he is gone, because he is a great man, a great teacher and a great coach.

As far as the Iowa game is concerned, I will say this about Carr, I have only ever had one beef with him and it is this – run, run, run, punt. It almost came back to bite us in the ass again this weekend, but we won it in overtime. Another close game and nice to see back to backs for the first time all season, but I am not getting too excited because Northwestern seems to be a pretty big beast, on the road, looming this Saturday. The good news is, at 5-3, they are all but bowl eligible because they have Indiana at home in a few weeks meaning they are all but guaranteed to get the minimum required sixth win. Something tells me a slip this week to Northwestern, but they close out the season at 7-4 with victories over the Hoosiers and the Buckeyes.

The Spartans

Well, I didn’t see that coming! I mean, I saw the Northwestern score coming but I still expected MSU to score more! I think the season for the Spartans went up in flames in one instant and that was the blocked field goal against Ohio State. A once promising and exciting season is now on the brink of disaster with tough games left at Purdue, at Minnesota and at home against Penn State. Thankfully, like U of M, they have a home game against Indiana so there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

The Lions

My good buddy Evan asked me a question in a comment he left about why I liked Mooch so much, why I believed in him. I am just mentioning that because I don’t want him to think I am dodging him, I just want some time to think it thru and give him an answer later. That and the fact that this post is already running long and I really just want to stick to the game!

THE LIONS WOULD HAVE LOST THAT GAME IF JOEY HARRINGTON WAS THEIR STARTING QB, period, point blank, end of story. In yesterdays Free Press there was an article that pointed out four plays Garcia made that Joey would have been sacked on, taken a safety on or left for dead, they are as follows:

First Quarter – Garcia dances in pocket, escapes pressure and finds Mike Williams for a 49 yard gain over the middle. Joey’s result most likely would have been a sack or a check down for two yards to Bryson.

Second Quarter – Garcia scores from fourth and one at the goal line, resulting in the Lions only touchdown of the game. To be fair to Joey he never would have been in there on fourth and one, Mooch would have gone for the field goal. But, to play along, if he would have been given the chance he either would have been sacked, thrown it out of the end zone or forced a shitty throw into coverage for an incompletion or interception.

Third Quarter – Jeff Garcia again dances around in the pocket and just as he is going down flips the ball to Bryson for a ten yard gain. Joey’s result would have been a sack and a good smearing all over the Cleveland turf.

Fourth Quarter – Jeff Garcia again eludes pressure when the pocket fails, but this time in his own end zone, and finds Scottie Vines for a ten yard gain and a first down. Joey’s result would not only have been a sack this time but it would have been a safety as well.

Bottom line is this here people, Jeff Garcia won us that game, make no mistake about it! He allowed the defense to rest by moving the chains as opposed to constant three and outs that Joey loved to generate. Even though the final score does not reflect it that was the Lions best offensive game all year and it was because of what Garcia did. He kept plays alive, where as Joey would have checked down or been taken down. Are there still areas that need to be improved upon, hell yeah there are! But it is the receivers that need to step up now and, get this, take some notes from a virtually unknown in Scotty Vines. You see with Joey the receivers did this – they ran their route, turned around and if the ball wasn’t there they knew Joey was either sacked or he checked it down to Bryson. With Jeff there is never a dead play on the field and Vines was the only receiver that realized that you need to move with your QB and come back for the ball! These other guys aren’t used to that and once they do wake up and realize they have an athlete under center now the offense will look like it is supposed to, legitimate. Scotty Vines, to me, gets a game ball and is someone that all the other first round picks at receiver can take a lesson from, the undrafted guy who was cut a couple times already schooled them! Oh, and for the record, if Roy Williams had known for certain that Jeff was going to start he would have been playing in that game on Sunday. He sat because he was tired of busting his ass for Joey, plain and simple.

Lastly, on the Garcia tip, no I am not saying that Garcia is finally “the chosen one” or something, the cat is still 35! If he stays healthy maybe start feeding him the old “one year contracts” at the end of each season, but they still need that “QB of the future.” Maybe it is Orlovsky, maybe it is a guy in college that they draft next year (please don’t say Leinart of first rounder again, the better ones are in the later rounds, just ask Tom Brady!), maybe it is a guy on another roster that they trade for, but the bottom line is it is not Garcia. Garcia is only the answer right now because Joey failed miserably; we had no other choice for this season. But he is only the immediate future, not the long term future that this franchise so desperately needs. That future is out there somewhere and that kid, whoever it is, needs to be on the side lines next year, sitting, watching, learning and waiting because there never should be another “throw him to the wolves” QB here again. Just ask the last few we have seen in Joey and Charlie Batch, what it is like to be thrown to the wolves and I guarantee you they will say it blows as they remember their bus rides out of town.

Later – the sports dude.

Anonymous Evan said...

I don't disagree that Garcia played OK. But I mean, for the most part, the Lions looked about the same as they did against Tampa Bay -- one sustained drive and then lots of punts and field goals. I don't think anyone can say for sure that Joey couldn't have won that game. Joey has a bigger arm than Garcia, and who knows what might open up with one play here or there. Remember -- we're talking about a game in which the Lions scored ONE TOUCHDOWN against the fourth-worst defense in all of football. Joey's already done that much against better teams, so it's unfair to insert Joey into the plays that Garcia made. Joey wouldn't have made THOSE plays, but he may have made DIFFERENT plays. We'll never know.

Keep in mind that I'm still saying that Joey should be on his way out of town.

I'm just not jumping on the Garcia bandwagon at all until he plays well -- not just competently -- against a couple of decent teams.

As for Leinart... Carson Palmer came out of USC and isn't exactly shitting the bed in the pros. I'm not saying I know Leinart will succeed, but those guys at USC *may* be the exception to the rule when it comes to producing QBs these days.

And unlike a lot of the losers that have come out of that conference in the past, USC has played at least a couple good teams, including a surprisingly good Notre Dame team, and won -- often with Leinart leading the charge.

(Caveat: I never pretend to know whether a QB will be awesome coming out of college or not. I thought Eli was going to suck. Shows what the hell I know.)  

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