Average Joe

It was obvious the Detroit Lions wanted to part ways with Joey Harrington. They repeatedly gave Harrington chances to succeed, and even brought in three supposed young standout wide receivers. They even want as far as trying to supplant Harrington by expecting Jeff Garcia to win the job over, and that did not pan out either. All of us knew that something was wrong when the Lions benched Harrington on Thanksgiving Day for Garcia, who was playing and played much worse than Harrington the entire season.

A chance to turn around Harrington’s career seems dim. At least he is in a new environment where he steps in for the immediate future as the Dolphins starting quarterback. Of course that door to start will only last as long as it takes Daunte Culpepper to recover from his serious knee injuries.

Miami knows that Culpepper’s return could be an upgrade or a downgrade away from being pushed back into late October or plans for a week one return. Regardless of Culpepper’s health concerns, Harrington will be the one that takes the snaps and gets the starters reps all off-season. By Miami trading away a meaningless fifth round pick, it is a trade off of little risk for Miami. Putting Harrington in a less stressful environment with a stronger team camaraderie and nucleus is only going to boost his confidence. Nick Saban has had a tremendous effect on almost any player he has been around and Harrington should be another.

While at Detroit there were just too many torturous events for a quarterback to blossom. Every year there was either a coaching change or a new system to learn. On top of that Harrington was thrust right in to starting quarterback duties as a rookie in 2002. People think automatically that a quarterback can be like a Ben Roethlisberger, but the learning curve is essential for most quarterbacks. Harrington did not have that and it showed each year as he kept looking like a rookie.

That led to week to week inconsistency from Harrington. One week he could be an extremely patient quarterback that had the big play or two to give the Lions the win. The next he could be a flustered quarterback, and when that happened it would overlap into the upcoming weeks. It just seemed that too much emphasis was on what Harrington had to do with the football, instead of building the offense around him. Whether that be by establishing the run, or even helping Harrington with short dump offs or quick outs to the receiver. The Lions just threw Harrington into the fire every week and let him burn.

Having the tools to play quarterback has always been there for Harrington. He has a great arm and solid enough arm strength and accuracy to deliver a football wherever he wants. Dissecting Harrington’s miscues are as obvious as watching a Jake Plummer or Brett Favre. At times he just has horrible football IQ and awareness on the football field. Poor throws in tremendous coverage have plagued him from launching his career into a positive direction. Maybe he needs to get his eyes reexamined because sometimes he just looks like a blind quarterback throwing into a sea of players.

Nick Saban and the Miami Dolphins will know how to turn Harrington around and steer him in the direction the Lions should have done several years ago. Harrington’s future is still bright as he is only entering his sixth season in the NFL. Bravo to Miami for sacrificing a draft pick to acquire Harrington even though he would have been available in four weeks; as he was all but guaranteed to be cut by the Lions before June 15th.

Picturing a successful campaign from Harrington’s view would be by signifying a change in his dangerous throws that are unneeded. All that would require is the growth from a shuffling worried young rookie type quarterback, to a veteran that has learned from his past and can stand in the pocket for that extra second or two and deliver his throws.

If Harrington can play within Nick Saban’s system he will not have to be a huge quarterback play maker. Jay Fiedler never had to do it and neither did Gus Frerotte last season. Miami is the perfect fit for Harrington and a smart move by Miami’s front office for a cheap expense.

Will there be a quarterback controversy this season or next off-season in Miami?


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