Sunday, February 12, 2006

Kurt Warner to the Lions... A match made in Heaven or Hell?

As much as you might try to avoid talking about our favorite soul crushing football team, another rumor pops up to keep things interesting. What's the latest from the rumor mill? Kurt Warner and Mike Martz would like to reunite in the D.

Martz, the Detroit Lions' new offensive coordinator, patched up his relationship with Warner after their falling out in St. Louis. Martz has confided to associates that if he ever needed a quarterback in his new destination - and he needs one in Detroit - he wouldn't hesitate to bring Warner in. Warner, who spent the 2005 season with Arizona, is a free agent.

This rumor brings the same vibes as last season's rumor du jour, when Mooch was pushing to sign his veteran QB saviour to be, Jeff Garcia.

Experienced head coach offensive coodinator wants to hand pick a QB he has had major success with in the past, despite said QB being benched by his last team and having major miles on their odometer.

Warner has shown that he is better than last season's designated saviour, Jeff Garcia, but how much better? At first blush you would think, "Six of Harrington is a half dozen of Warner, and let's not talk about Garcia." But take a closer look at last season's stats, and then see what you think...

Warner: 10 G / 2713 YRD / 64.5% / 11 TD / 9 INT / 85.8 rating

Harrington: 12 G / 2021 YRD / 57% / 12 TD / 12 INT / 72.0 rating

Garcia: 6 G / 937 YRD / 59% / 3 TD / 6 INT / 65.1 rating

Maybe that's a fluke. Warner had to throw the ball often as the Cards were constantly playing from behind and had a non-existent running game. Honestly, I think Warner was benched due to Denny Green being out of ideas and was grasping at straws. He decided to go with a younger Josh McCown as he had no other tricks up his sleeve. Please remember, Green is also the man who thought John Navarre was a viable starter. That alone is why I'd take any QB decisions Green made with a huge grain of salt...

So let's go back to 2004. As in Arizona, Warner was unceremoniously yanked as a starter. This time it was by the Giants, who decided they had to play their designated saviour, Eli Manning. 2004 was also the season that was considered Harrington's all around best. Let's check the numbers, shall we?

Warner: 10 G / 2045 YRD / 62.8% / 6 TD / 4 INT / 86.5 rating

Harrington: 16 G / 3047 YRD / 56% / 19 TD / 12 INT / 77.5 rating

Kurt Warner suddenly doesn't look like such a bad option, does he?

I realize Warner brings Brenda Warner baggage to the table. He tends to fumble, holds on to the ball too long, will force passes, lacks mobilitiy, and has taken quite a physical beating over the years. But he is still capable of putting up wins and numbers in the right system. It wasn't all that long ago that he was the next coming of Tom Brady.

As it's looking like Harrington will be coming back, who else would you rather have the Lions pick up? Who's available as a free agent, other than Warner? No legit starters, but you could possibly make a case for Jon Kitna and Josh McCown. Both have been nothing more than OK at best and Harrington-esque at worst. I'm not bringing up Drew Brees, due to the fact he'll cost big money and his severe shoulder injury. Thats it, the rest are used-to-bes, wannabes, and never-weres.

Via trade, two names continue to be mentioned. Matt Schwab of the Falcons and the Titans' Billy Volek. It'll cost draft picks and/or players to get either. You also have to consider neither has been a starter for more than a few games at a time, with a modicum of success. In my mind, it would reek too much of Scott Mitchell, who parlayed a handful of starts with the Fish into big money and much grief with the Lions.

Via the draft? God, please no!

So that leaves Kurt Warner. Yes, Kurt Warner.

From my viewpoint, he may be the best fit for the Leos. Warner won't ask for huge money, he has had success with Martz, and he's not Jeff Garcia. What more can a Lion fan ask?

So is Warner, Martz, Marinelli, Harrington, and the Lions a match made in Heaven or Hell? At this point, I'll settle for a match made in purgatory...


  1. I agree with the proviso that Warner is the CLEAR backup to Harrington. I'm not a huge Harrington fan, but if Joey is on the roster he had better be starting considering how much cap space he takes up and the fact that he has more upside than anyone else the Lions can bring in (except via trade).

    I don't want to see any repeat of Mariucci's mealy-mouthed "We have two great pitchers" nonsense. If I don't hear Marinelli or Mike Martz say "Joey Harrington is my starting quarterback. Period." then you might as well chalk up another lost season.

  2. Forgive me for what I'm about to say...

    Yes, I like bringing in Warner. He IS NOT the savior. NO WAY, NOT A ALL. However, he is the best QB on the FA market, and I trust him a butt load more to step in and play than I did Garcia.

  3. Al, I want to be mad at you for making me think about the Lions while I'm trying to detox. But of course, I welcome the fix.

    I see the parallels between Garcia and Warner, but I think they end once we talk about what Warner could do on the field and how a coach would utilize him.

    If he's brought in here under the pretext of being a backup, then that's fine. If Warner were to naturally win the job in training camp competition, that would be fine too. It's if Warner is brought in here under an agenda - as Garcia clearly was - that I would have a problem with signing him. I think he's shown he's not a capable 16-game starter anymore.

    Otherwise, I think he's absolutely a great fit for the Lions. Besides the fact that he could actually play when called upon, he'd be an excellent mentor for Harrington as he learns Martz's system.