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 MLive.com 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.