Scott Mitchell, starting his second season with Detroit, still has a lot to prove - to his coaching staff as well as to Lions fans.
If the former Ute isn't sharp in the Silverdome tonight against the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1), Mitchell is sure he will hear about it. The fans will boo him. Coach Wayne Fontes might bend his ear a little, too.Mitchell, a free agent who spent four seasons on the Miami Dolphins' roster, appeared to be coming unglued last season. But a broken thumb got him off the hook.
Dave Krieg, then the backup, took over for the injured Mitchell and guided the Lions into the playoffs. Krieg has since signed as a free agent with the Arizona Cardinals.
Mitchell completed 11 first-half passes in last week's 30-17 preseason victory over the New England Patriots. All very nice. But the coach noted that Mitchell overthrew tight end Ron Hall, who was open in the end zone early in the second quarter.
"I thought Scott did some good things," Fontes said. "But we did talk to him after the game about the one pass he missed wide-open when they had their best guys in and we had our best guys in.
"I think he has to get better. He has to make the throw that needs to be made. You look at that throw to Ron Hall. That's the kind of throw that wins the Super Bowl."
There will be other interesting sidelights to this otherwise meaningless exhibition, as well. For one thing, there will be four Heisman Trophy winners in the Silverdome, all but one struggling to prove he belongs in the NFL.
The Jaguars have former Detroit quarterback Andre Ware and University of Michigan favorite Desmond Howard. The Lions have quarterback Gino Torretta and tailback Barry Sanders on their roster.
Can you guess which one isn't in any danger of going unemployed?