Pro Football Weekly wrote:PFW: Why didnâ€™t Harrington work out in Detroit?
Reynolds: The most candid response on that subject came from Charley Casserly in an interview last year. Casserly said he knew of teams who placed a second- or third-round grade on Harrington in 2002, meaning his value was that of an early-middle-round pick. The Lions then were in the relatively early stages of a front office headed by Matt Millen and personnel director Bill Tobin. Head coach Marty Mornhinweg had zero experience calling the shots. According to league sources, the Lions had phoned other teams the week of the draft to get their opinions on Harrington. April being National Liarâ€™s Month in the NFL, you can imagine the type of mixed response Millen likely received. It was telling that the Texans, who had the No. 1 overall pick in â€™02, considered only David Carr and Julius Peppers (interestingly, had they selected Peppers, they might now have Reggie Bush). Harrington wasnâ€™t even in the picture for Casserly when he pulled the trigger five years ago and brought in Carr.
Once Harrington made it to Detroit, his professional growth was extremely limited by the inexperience of the front office, coaching staff and roster. Harrington had little help on the field and didnâ€™t show much improvement through practice and offseason repetition. Harrington was a Jeff Tedford prodigy and was drilled to the hilt at Oregon. He didnâ€™t receive the same meticulous attention to detail in Detroit, and his preparation habits suffered because he didnâ€™t have a mentor to follow. By his third season, there were still only flashes of ability and no long-term stretches of brilliance to indicate he could be a long-term starter.
Harringtonâ€™s position coaches, including Greg Olson and West Coast offense tactician Ted Tollner, were unable to get a key message across to Harrington â€” anticipation is a must at this level. Whether it was adjusting to the speed of the game or the proliferation of cover-2 defenses that clouded reads for Harrington, heâ€™s never been able to anticipate location or time up routes with his receivers. He was most successful on stationary short routes or deep throws off vertical routes and failed to grasp the essential elements to make timing patterns â€” the bread and butter of the West Coast offense â€” click with the Lionsâ€™ assortment of talented receivers. With Mike Martz in Detroit to integrate his timing offense, Harrington was never truly in the equation.
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I realize that the Falcons chances of acquiring Harrington are next to nothing for this year, but I still have some hope for the possibility that he could be a backup here in future years. Just thought this was an interesting read on him. Whether or not Harrington develops into a starter in the NFL is up in the air, and unless he's playing for the Falcons, it has little impact on our success. But I have a feeling that he is going to be one of those players much like a Rich Gannon that is going to be a decent starter down the road. He's only 27 years old, and QBs have a lifespan up to like 35 so he may be able to stick around in this league for another 10 years. Something that I would look out for in the future: Harrington to the Raiders. If Al Davis is still running the show in Oakland 3-5 years from now, I would not at all be surprised to see Harrington make a stop there before his career is done.
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