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Dre Bly's return brings comments on Joey Harrington back into focus

In 2005, Lions cornerback Dre Bly appeared on NFL Network and said quarterback Joey Harrington was the sole cause of the team’s lousy season, which had resulted in coach Steve Mariucci being fired.

“Matt Millen did a great job drafting the guys, coach was brought in, and yeah, there were some things he could have done better, it’s just one guy in particular that I feel is the cause of this whole thing,” Bly said.

When NFL Network’s Rich Eisen asked Bly to clarify which “one guy in particular” he was referring to, Bly confirmed that he meant Harrington.

Those comments have come back into focus this month because the Lions have reached back into the past and brought Bly back. And Tom Kowalski of reports that far from those comments indicating that Bly is a locker room cancer, Bly was actually speaking for almost the entire Lions organization.

“More than 90 percent of the people in the organization believed the same thing Bly did,” Kowalski writes.

If Kowalski is right about that — and he has plenty of sources within the Lions organization, so I assume he is — it shows just how out of touch the Lions franchise has been over the last decade.

For starters, if 90 percent of the people in the Lions’ organization really agreed with Bly that “Millen did a great job drafting the guys,” well, then I don’t even know what to say.

But it’s also worth dissecting Bly’s comments about Harrington a little bit. The Lions went 18-37 in games started by Harrington, a .327 winning percentage. That’s a lousy record, and on first glance you might think it makes sense to blame Harrington for the Lions’ struggles.

Except that the Lions have gone 15-74 in games started by all other quarterbacks since Millen took over the franchise prior to the 2001 season. That’s a .169 winning percentage, far worse than the Lions were with Harrington. So how, exactly, could Harrington have been the “one guy” who caused the “whole thing” if the Lions have had a better record with Harrington than without him?

None of this is to say that Harrington was a good quarterback in Detroit. He wasn’t. But he was far from the only problem. And if 90 percent of the Lions’ locker room in 2005 thought Harrington was the “whole problem,” that just shows what a clueless group of players the Lions had. Now they’ve brought one of those clueless players back.

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46 Responses to “Dre Bly's return brings comments on Joey Harrington back into focus”
  1. vires90 says: Jul 25, 2010 1:28 PM


  2. ClownBurger says: Jul 25, 2010 1:29 PM

    The person who was the WHOLE problem for the Lions was Matt The Moron Millen.
    Harrington was a big part of it too. One of the reasons that Moron Millen kept drafting receivers was to try to get Harrington better.
    Fortunatley, The Moron Millen era is over and that team has been completely gutted and no longer exists.

  3. mk says: Jul 25, 2010 1:30 PM

    Is that an attempt to be a Harrington apologist? Way to reframe Bly’s comments to say something he didn’t. Harrington was an albatross around the orrganization’s neck and his failure to even become an adequate NFL QB was a large factor in getting 2 coaches fired. Spin it for your media bretheren all you like, but Joey couldn’t hack it.

  4. ClownBurger says: Jul 25, 2010 1:32 PM

    Way to take this out of context.
    Kowalski is saying that most of the players felt that Harrington sucked, so when Bly said it publicly he wasn’t splitting up the locker room or saying anything that anyone else disagreed with.
    That’s all.
    Florio tries to stir the pot again.
    What a shock.

  5. JayoEZ says: Jul 25, 2010 1:39 PM

    Um no, it really doesnt

  6. CO55 says: Jul 25, 2010 1:39 PM

    Ahhh…..the Detroit Lions, making the Cleveland Browns look better since 1999……

  7. Patrick says: Jul 25, 2010 1:45 PM

    Yeah well Millen & Harrington are both gone and old news…looking forward they should sign Suh &T.O soon…Then take the division!…Go Lions!

  8. zilla1126 says: Jul 25, 2010 1:45 PM

    As usual this site is posting things with poorly thought out “Except thats”.
    Saying that Harrington was not the problem because QBs that backed up Harrington had worse winning percentages – well they WERE even SHITTIER than Harrington.
    Having Harrington there and being annointed the “QB of the future”. Had Harrington NOT been drafted in 2002, the following QBs (all of which would have represented a upgrade) were available in the draft during his honeymoon period (2003-2004):
    Carson Palmer
    Byron Leftwich
    Kyle Boller
    Rex Grossman
    Tony Romo
    Eli Manning
    Philip Rivers
    Ben Roethlisberger
    J. P. Losman
    Matt Schaub
    So Joey Harrington’s existence as well as managements refusal to admit that he was a bust precluded Detroit from drafting another QB with a early pick.

  9. HOU59FAN says: Jul 25, 2010 1:47 PM

    if 90 percent of the people in the Lions’ organization really agreed with Bly that “Millen did a great job drafting the guys,” well, then I don’t even know what to say.
    LMAO. Hillarious.

  10. Lurch says: Jul 25, 2010 1:53 PM

    Actual comments from actual Lions fans!!
    Where have you all been? Go Kitties!!!

  11. Butkis-n-Ditka says: Jul 25, 2010 1:54 PM

    Is there a term in the media for digging-up the corpse of a long-dead story and parading it about, “Weekend at Bernie’s”-style?

  12. OC Dave says: Jul 25, 2010 1:55 PM

    Millen was, and still is, the worst GM in Detroit history. He had no business trying to decide a teams future, let alone, be in charge. Bly was venting frustration from the bottom up.

  13. onlymyopinionmatters says: Jul 25, 2010 1:56 PM

    It’s Detroit. Everybody in Detroit is clueless or they wouldn’t live there.

  14. Bob Nelson says: Jul 25, 2010 2:04 PM

    The Lions need Bly this season. I’m sure they will be looking for an upgrade as soon as possible.
    Just as we rally around those who suffer after and earthquake or hurricane, let us rally around the Lions after being devestated by the Millen disaster.
    Just as everyone was happy when the Saints beat the vikings last season, let us cheer for the Lions to beat down the vikings at least once this season.
    The Lions should not be kicked when they are down. They have to get back to 5-11 before getting negative on them.

  15. crabman82 says: Jul 25, 2010 2:05 PM

    just dre being dre

  16. Hugh says: Jul 25, 2010 2:13 PM

    I thought this was a PRO football site. Why is there an article about the Lions?

  17. MrHumble says: Jul 25, 2010 2:15 PM

    Harrington was a lousey QB, no doubt about it, but Bly and the other 90% find it far to convenient to put all the blame on Harrington…….it takes the focus off of their own pathetic abilities and effort. Everyone needs a scapegoat right! I could give a little more cred to Bly’s comments had he not tried to support his position by claiming that Millen and everyone else was bringing in good players and doing their job when we all know better than that. Also, for all of Harrington’s defeciences, football is made up of offense and defense and the last time I checked, Harrington didn’t play defense. I suppose we should believe it was Harrington’s fault that Charles Rodgers, M. Williams, Roy Williams, etc. etc. were busts! As the article states, what is the Lions record since Harrington left????? Like I said, Harrington was not a starting NFL QB, no question about that, but it is far to convenient to lay the blame of the Lions ineptness at one person’s feet…..especially coming from a less than average defensive player.

  18. PurpleNGold says: Jul 25, 2010 2:32 PM

    management distance
    Lions’ brass futility
    constant arrogance
    little kitties play
    chasing tails in the sunshine
    rolling on the turf

  19. Sow Crates says: Jul 25, 2010 2:59 PM

    Except that the Lions have gone 15-74 in games started by all other quarterbacks since Millen took over the franchise prior to the 2001 season. That’s a .169 winning percentage, far worse than the Lions were with Harrington. So how, exactly, could Harrington have been the “one guy” who caused the “whole thing” if the Lions have had a better record with Harrington than without him?
    Jon Kitna was 10-26 with the Lions in 3 seasons/36 starts, also known as .278 winning percentage. He started and lost 4 games during Detroit’s 0-16 season in 2008, started all games in 2007 and 2006.
    Jeff Garcia was 1-4 in 2005, but the 4 teams he lost to were a combined 34-29 by season’s end and included the Bengals on Palmer’s best season and 2 other playoff teams in the Vikings and the Bears

  20. JimmySmith says: Jul 25, 2010 3:08 PM

    You can’t go 0-18 in a season without some pretty lousy drafting. I am so happy the Lions reside in the NFC North.

  21. football24-7 says: Jul 25, 2010 3:14 PM

    thats right (lurch an others) even though the team has SUCKED for the last 10 yrs this fan base wont be fair weathered fans.. like MOST of the other fan bases around the league.. .. the dark days are fading away… a new era is comming into place its a new shake up of powers an the lions are gonna be on top when its all said an done…

  22. kishcollageit says: Jul 25, 2010 3:18 PM

    Do I see Vikings fans mock the Lions? Wow at least the Lions have a stadium and no chance of moving! All this talk of London getting a team has the making of the Vikings returning back to that side of the pond.

  23. dolfanSS says: Jul 25, 2010 3:19 PM

    I’m a Dolphins fan and I’ve got to say out of the countless crappy QB’s I’ve watched since Marino retired Joey Harrington was my least favorite. His deep ball was non existent (noodle arm Pennington had a better one) and if there was any pass rush on him it was game over. With that being said, if Matt Millen drafted well the Lions must have the best 3 WR set in the NFL.

  24. Joe Williams says: Jul 25, 2010 3:39 PM

    This post is pretty ignorant of the facts and twists them into something else in attempting to create a story.
    The Lions were still a decent team when Jeff Garcia was healthy. Bly was exactly right in his criticism of the QB situation and this post distorts what he said and focuses on a side issue (Millen’s ability to draft) which wasn’t the focus on Bly’s comments. However, the author still couldn’t get his facts and make a decent case.
    At that time, the Lions had Pro Bowl talent at several positions, including Bly, Shawn Rogers, etc. Millen’s first drafts were pretty decent. Backus and Raiola still start on the line and they both came from that first draft. Millen’s real problem was that he simply couldn’t build a TEAM and often reached too early for players he fell in love with who would be available later. Even Charles Rogers didn’t start off a bust, he played pretty well until a second collar bone injury gave him plenty of time off to “blow e’y day.” Millen’s biggest problem was continually changing schemes and coaches so he ended up with a mismash of talent that didn’t fit the system from one year to the next. When Millen took over the Lions were a playoff contender and it still took him a while to dismantle the roster which at the time of Bly’s comments was still fairly decent.
    After Bly’s comments, Millen started to dump quality vets who complained about his idiotic decisions (they got labeled “cancers” in the media, with the help of writers like Kowalski). The constant changing of scheme and dismantling of a playoff quality roster took it’s toll and the team finally slid all the way to the infamous 0-16 mark under Rod Marinelli’s incompetent leadership.
    Oh well. The Lions will put the NFL on notice this year as Mayhew has finally reassembled an NFL caliber roster and this kind of garbage will be ancient history.

  25. burntorangehorn says: Jul 25, 2010 3:59 PM

    Harrington had some talent, but the combination of an abortion for a coaching staff and a worse front office made it a difficult situation for any QB, especially one that did still need some good coaching to develop.
    Blaming Harrington for the futility of the Lions is like blaming Hermann Göring for the loss of World War II.

  26. Faithful209 says: Jul 25, 2010 4:06 PM

    Dre Bly is a waste of space. His showboating, and subsequent refusal to take responsibility, cost the Niners a game last year, and arguably cost them the division. Himself. One man. No doubt.

  27. dewalt2990 says: Jul 25, 2010 4:18 PM

    Its good, coming to this site, and seeing the article you read earlier in the day twisted around to accumulate a couple more advertising hits. Sarcasm.

  28. DirtDawg55 says: Jul 25, 2010 4:21 PM

    Blaming Harrington for the Lion’s ineptitude is like blaming a single turd for the entire stink in a toilet bowl.

  29. Buck Stallion says: Jul 25, 2010 4:40 PM

    burntorangehorn is correct. Harrington was not good, but he had a horrible team around him.
    Perhaps he could have been decent if he had gone to a decent team.

  30. PurpleNGold says: Jul 25, 2010 4:53 PM

    @ kishcollageit
    Why want ownership that has no chance of either winning or moving?

  31. CKL says: Jul 25, 2010 4:55 PM

    Bly shouldn’t have said it publicly then even if the LR was on his side. Not cool. That said I think from what I have seen of /know of Harrington that his play on the field was only part of his issues. I don’t think he had a QB personality, one guys can rally behind. He seemed to be an introvert and not a leader of men.

  32. ICEWALKER says: Jul 25, 2010 5:22 PM

    PurpleNGold says:
    July 25, 2010 2:32 PM
    management distance
    Lions’ brass futility
    constant arrogance
    little kitties play
    chasing tails in the sunshine
    rolling on the turf
    Vike fans know football
    No way you know more than them
    Losing is known most

  33. numberfour says: Jul 25, 2010 6:53 PM

    good article, florio, and i have said it before, under numerous screen names. harrington wasnt good, but he wasnt that bad. for a stretch there he was better than vick, on teams with worse talent than atlanta, and he has actually been much better than chauncey pullpecker for years in very comparable circumstances,
    harrington wasnt the problem, certainly not the biggest one. garcia wasnt the fix. his arm was shot and he couldnt toss it 10 yards that year. that made it real easy for the opposition to shut down the lions offense. at least harrington could and did stretch the d.
    it also wasnt harrington’s fault the zebras helped tampa that year by disallowing a td pass to marcus pollard.
    also of note is that the lions did much better when bly wasnt playing than when he was.
    look it up, and stop just “believing the jock who shares yer complexion”.
    bly has been overrated from day one.
    that all said, there were certain high profile picks that millen made because he was told to. harrington. rogers. dont think old wcf doesnt exert some decision making here and there to try and increase ticket sales.
    and… isnt it the job of the team to try to get better receivers at some point? the lions needed to do that. and with the exception of calvin and the possible exception of diva roy, they failed very badly.

  34. football24-7 says: Jul 25, 2010 7:46 PM

    to— the D-BAG called ice walker. boy oh boy you guys( vike fans) are not smart. an they are VERY FAIR WEATHERED !! say something smart???? prove me wrong!!

  35. mk says: Jul 25, 2010 9:37 PM

    Mention Joey, and the Harrington apoligists come out of the woodwork. When someone says “he wasn’t that bad” then next words are inevitably blaming someone else for Harrington’s inability to perform at the NFL level. He was that bad. He was a failure on every team he was on and was out of the league amazingly quick for the 3rd overall pick.

  36. granadafan says: Jul 25, 2010 11:04 PM

    Dre forgets that football is a TEAM sport. Harrington did not block. Harrington did not run the crappy routes the WRs “ran”. Harrington did not play on special teams. Harrington certainly did not play defense that was run all over.
    Blaming one guy on a football team is a complete cop out and a refusal to accept one’s own shortcomings and bad play.

  37. TuffLynx says: Jul 26, 2010 1:13 AM

    Joey Harrington was a joke. The guy was all about playing the piano and drinking properly chilled win, but he seemed to really struggle at working to become a man.
    I have never seen a quarterback bail out so quickly on so many plays as Joey Harrington. For two years the Lions had the lowest sack total in the NFL with Harrington at QB. But that was not due to a great offensive line. That was due to the fact that Harrington would thrown the ball before the play even came close to developing so that he would not take a hit. The guy was a coward and had no business being a football player.
    Now he can sit at home with his buddies and drink all the wine he wants and they can amaze at his playing Blue Skies on the piano. Just remember to be as safe in your love life as you were as a quarterback and you will avoid bad things Joey.

  38. tv says: Jul 26, 2010 6:42 AM

    Last I checked, no team is controlled by one guy. This is a true team sport and it takes 22 on O and D plus another 11 on ST to make a team.

  39. ICEWALKER says: Jul 26, 2010 7:10 AM

    football24-7 says:
    July 25, 2010 7:46 PM
    to— the D-BAG called ice walker. boy oh boy you guys( vike fans) are not smart. an they are VERY FAIR WEATHERED !! say something smart???? prove me wrong!!
    I’ll prove you wrong, penis breath (how’s that for being childish).
    I’m a Packers fan. Been that way since I was born. Hell, right there, at least to me, is pretty damn smart.
    Second, did you even read my post? It was a total dig at Viking fans. The first post was by PurpleNGold. He wrote two haikus about the Lions. So then I wrote one …..
    Vike fans know football
    No way you know more than them
    Losing is known most
    It was another haiku (don’t know what it is, Google search it).
    What I was getting at was Vikings fans ‘know so much’ about football but their teams never have won the big game. EVER!!! Bears, Packers, Lions have all won championships in their franchise history. Yes, sports fans, the Lions won 4 (1932, 1952, 1953, and 1957). Vikings know losing.
    So there you go. Was that smart enough for ya?

  40. football24-7 says: Jul 26, 2010 10:13 AM

    thank you!! to my good friend (ICE-WALKER) yes that will do. sorry about the d-bag comment too.

  41. azlionsfan says: Jul 26, 2010 12:19 PM

    The one guy Dre was speaking of was Paul Edinger. If he misses that kick the Lions go to the playoffs that year and Millen is never hired.
    I blame all of the Lions recent futility on Paul Edinger. If anyone would like to see my room just watch “Pet Detective”. LACES IN BI@TCH!

  42. Kris says: Jul 26, 2010 12:29 PM

    I do believe Harrington did contribute to the firing of Mooch (if Garcia was healthy, that may not have happened) but it was really Millen’s bad drafting that sunk this team. Even with a really good QB, we never would have been better than mediocre.
    There is a good 5-6 years worth of drafts were we don’t even have a single player left when those are the players that should be making up the core of our team.

  43. ToledoLions says: Jul 26, 2010 1:33 PM

    90% of the organization thought Harrington was a bad quarterback who cost the Lions countless games with his limp piano playing wrists constantly under-throwing the ball and his inability to throw a football accurately or longer than 20 yards. The guy was terrible and most Lions fans know that he was the major problem on offense. Kitna coming in and putting up back-back 4,000 yard seasons just goes to show how truly bad Harrington was. Now I know the defense was never very good and I put 95% of the overall blame on Millen for being so incompetent and putting such a bad product on the field. But in this story, Kowalski, was referring only to how many people disapproved of Harrington’s play, not the other statements made by Bly about Millen and the drafting.

  44. ToledoLions says: Jul 26, 2010 1:45 PM

    @ Faithful209,
    You mean that game the Niners lost 45-10. WOW, you wanna put that game on the fact that Bly fumbled an interception when the Falcons were already up 35-10. Granted, that was a boneheaded play, but dude, the Niners got bent over and punished in that game. How about you blame that loss on the fact that the Niners offense is completely incompetent and Shaun Hill was their leading rusher. Or the fact that their defense folded like origami and the over payed, underachieving Nate Clements got absolutely torched by Roddy White. To say Bly cost the Niners that game is just idiotic.

  45. ICEWALKER says: Jul 26, 2010 2:15 PM

    football24-7 says:
    July 26, 2010 10:13 AM
    thank you!! to my good friend (ICE-WALKER) yes that will do. sorry about the d-bag comment too.
    Sorry about the p-breath comment, as well.

  46. HeyLardAss says: Jul 27, 2010 2:17 PM

    Good article, to bad there are so many ignorant people who don’t understand football.

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