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  1. #1
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    Kurt Warner to the Lions?

    Lions shop for backup QB

    BY CURT SYLVESTER, FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

    Joey Harrington is still the Lions' quarterback, but -- judging by coach Steve Mariucci's comments Friday -- he will not necessarily be their only thrower next season.


    Mariucci, president Matt Millen and the personnel department have begun evaluating quarterbacks they expect to be available as free agents beginning March 2.


    A number of candidates have been mentioned, including veteran Kurt Warner of the New York Giants, and Mariucci made it clear he is not looking for a player to be used strictly in mop-up duty behind Harrington.


    "We haven't made any sort of decisions on what's going to comprise our pitching staff," Mariucci said. "That's what I'm going to call it -- our pitching staff.


    "All I want is the best pitching staff we can find, that we can sign, that we can have on this team."


    Although Harrington had his best production in three seasons, Mariucci isn't satisfied. He was frequently critical of Harrington's performance last season, even in situations where receivers dropped catchable passes.


    Harrington completed 56 percent of his passes for 3,047 yards, 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His passer rating of 77.5 ranked 22nd in the NFL.


    The Lions have denied suggestions they will trade or release Harrington, but it is becoming increasingly apparent they want a quarterback capable of at least taking over when Harrington is struggling and perhaps competing for the starting job.


    Mike McMahon, Harrington's backup the past three seasons, is an unrestricted free agent and isn't considered a contender to replace Harrington.


    "If there is somebody out there that we can sign that's good enough to compete, terrific," Mariucci said. "And if we end up with two good quarterbacks or two higher-priced guys, that third guy's probably going to be a rookie.


    "It wouldn't be an older Rick Mirer, Ty Detmer kind of third guy you've got to pay a lot of money to. So the third guy's going to depend on who are the other two."


    Does that mean that for the first time since the Lions took him with the third pick in the 2002 draft, Harrington will have to compete for the starting job?


    "Sure, depending on who you get, who's out there that can compete with him," Mariucci said. "You're always trying to have the best players you can at every position, and if there's a guy that's good enough to compete with Joey, or beat Joey out or be his backup, that'll all sort out."


    Although Mariucci stopped short of saying the Lions are seeking another starting quarterback, he obviously isn't opposed to putting the job up for grabs when training camp starts in July.


    "You're looking to see who's available," Mariucci said. "You look to see who can fill whatever role is possible, you're looking for what's best for this team, and how much money you want to spend at the position.


    "It's all got to fit. You've got to sort through that as time goes on. It depends on who's available. Is there just a backup-type guy out there to be signed? Well, then that's what it is. Is there a guy out there good enough to compete? Then that's great, too."


    Aside from Drew Brees of San Diego and Matt Hasselbeck of Seattle, the list of free agents is not bristling with starting-caliber quarterbacks. There are players who have started -- including Kelly Holcomb of Cleveland, Kordell Stewart of Baltimore and Vinny Testaverde of Dallas -- but they haven't been successful or, like Testaverde, are at the end of their careers.


    Brees, who had a career year in 2004 after showing little in his first three seasons with the Chargers, has been mentioned as a possible trade target for the Lions. But the Chargers apparently are not eager to dump him -- even with first-round draft pick Philip Rivers waiting in the wings -- and the cost of signing Brees would be formidable.


    Two other quarterbacks mentioned as possibilities are Warner and former San Francisco quarterback Jeff Garcia.


    Garcia was a two-time NFC Pro Bowl passer when Mariucci coached the *****, but he quickly fell out of favor at Cleveland last season. The Browns have a new coach in Romeo Crennel, and Garcia might be available in a trade or as a free agent.


    Warner, two-time NFL MVP and MVP of Super Bowl XXXIV with St. Louis, was 5-4 in the first nine games with the Giants last season before he was replaced by first-round pick Eli Manning, seen as the quarterback of the future.


    Warner is expected to be released March 1 and apparently is interested in competing for the Lions' job.


    "His agent sent us -- as he did a lot of teams -- the tapes of Kurt, and they're looking for a new home," Mariucci said.


    Mariucci was quarterbacks coach at Green Bay when Warner went through training camp there in 1994.


    Mariucci said the Lions are considering whether to keep McMahon, a four-year veteran.


    "He's going to be free in about two weeks," Mariucci said. "He's keeping his door open, and we are with him."


    NOTEBOOK: Wide receiver Roy Williams had surgery Thursday in Charlotte, N.C., to clean up the ankle injury that hampered his performance in the second half of the season. Tight end Stephen Alexander had similar surgery shortly after the season.


    Contact CURT SYLVESTER at 313-222-2621 or sylvester@freepress.com.


  2. #2
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    Re: Kurt Warner to the Lions?

    I've been considering the Lions as a possibility for Warner to go but really haven't given it too much weight until now. Maybe I'm reading the article the wrong way but it seems that the Lions are high on Warner from what this guy's writing. I think the Lions would be a very good fit for Warner. A good stable of wr's, reuniting with Az-Hakim on top of that, a good up and coming rb in Jones and the Mariucci offense should all help out Warner. The line is a question mark to me but it couldn't have been any worse than the Giants line in 2004. Joey should be a lot tougher to beat out than a wet-behind-the-ear's Eli but Mooch doesn't seem too sold on JH at this point so who knows. Playing in a dome setting 9 times won't hurt either. The Lions schedule rotation is on NFC West/home and NFC East/away so it sets up nicely for possible storylines/former fans as well.

    Very interesting possibilities.

    *I just looked at the Lions website for the 2005 schedule and noticed that Joey isn't even on their "banner" of players. That's kind of unusual I think but realize I may be reading too much into it. More to the point, the Lions will have two opponents on the road that play in domes (Minnesota and New Orleans) so they will have 10 dome games next year.
    Last edited by moklerman; -02-12-2005 at 03:45 PM.

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    Re: Kurt Warner to the Lions?

    Garcia would be a better fit in that system, IMO, and I think if Mooch had the chance to reunite with him, I think he'd prefer that, despite Warner's better play in 2004.

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    Re: Kurt Warner to the Lions?

    Give Kurt a better line then last year and let him hook up w/detroits WR'S and I think he's a way better fit. Garcia IMO is a bit gun shy and a bit more beat up. Never thought that highly of Garcia. Always seemed like where ever he was it was a (it's the best we can do situation) for Now. He always seemed out of place.Then again ,I didn't watch many SF or CLEV games. What I did see wasn't pretty!
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    Re: Kurt Warner to the Lions?

    He didn't look sharp in Cleveland, but rememeber, he was a three-time Pro Bowler under Mooch in San Fran. His numbers during that span were pretty good. There's a slim chance he'll stay in Cleveland because of his play there and his contract. I wouldn't be surprised to see him released by the Browns and picked up by the Lions with an incentive-based contract.

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    Re: Kurt Warner to the Lions?

    I still think any team with an O-line that needs a qb, would be stupid to not give kurt a chance.If you stop and just think a minute......Kurt's downfall came from the O-line turning to **** and that is where the injuries came from. In N.Y., they had probably the worst line in football . He needs to be put in a good position,not like last year.Pulling last year was a mistake. Giants would have at least made the playoffs. Hell send him to the Ravens,all they need is a QB that is a QB!
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    Re: Kurt Warner to the Lions?

    I'm not sure if the Giants would have made the playoffs, but I agree they would have stood a better chance with Kurt through that rough stretch of schedule than with Eli. That said, I would think Mooch would want a QB with a bit more mobility than Warner. Still, it's an interesting proposition, and the fact that they've got his tapes show they're interested. I'd just put my money on Garcia, if he becomes available.

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    Re: Kurt Warner to the Lions?

    My money's on Kurt! Six-Pack!what do you sat Nick!
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    Re: Kurt Warner to the Lions?

    Well, let's wait and see if Garcia even hits the market first.

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    Re: Kurt Warner to the Lions?

    All Right........Just funnin ya anyway! :redface:
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    Re: Kurt Warner to the Lions?

    I heard a different story.I heard ole Kurt is desperatly working on getting a contract with the Scottish Claymores.
    Last edited by psycho9985; -02-02-2006 at 10:23 PM.

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    Re: Kurt Warner to the Lions?

    I heard a different story.I heard ole Kurt is desperatly working on getting a contract with the Scottish Claymores.
    You should probably save these types of...dare I even label it a "joke", for the official site or the PD board. There are lot's of adolescents on those boards who seem to enjoy these types of tired, unoriginal, excuses to take a jab at Warner.

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    Re: Kurt Warner to the Lions?

    Lighten up I still a Warner fan.I think we all are.

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    Re: Kurt Warner to the Lions?

    Quote Originally Posted by moklerman
    You should probably save these types of...dare I even label it a "joke", for the official site or the PD board. There are lot's of adolescents on those boards who seem to enjoy these types of tired, unoriginal, excuses to take a jab at Warner.
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    Re: Kurt Warner to the Lions?

    Just give Warner a shot with a team not a crappy thrown together team like the Giants!!!
    I stopped going to the dentist.......I got tired of the cavity searches!

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