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Lions Starting QB Job Up For Grabs - Kitna or McCown?

With the signings of free agent QB's Josh McCown and Jon Kitna during this offseason, the question on every Lion's fans mind is who should get the starting job.  Joey Harrington is out of Detroit, after being dealt to the Dolphins.  I'll present a case for each, and see who gets the nod.  Right now it appears Kitna has the #1 spot, but it's still a few months from the season.  McCown could still take that.

Why Jon Kitna should be the starting QB... Jon Kitna is a seasoned veteran who has been in this league long enough to know the ropes and to lead an inexperienced team.  Kitna has 10 years of experience and has been very successful in that time.  He had been a backup in Cincinnati the last two years, but before that he threw for over 3,000 yards 4 out of 5 years.  The reason why I think he should start is that with a very young team, a veteran like Kitna can not only guide the Lions to success, but become a star as well.  Kitna has great throwing ability, and in my mind is better than McCown as an overall thrower.  The Lions need a player that can step it up and become the go to guy, Kitna can do that for them, as he's showed over previous years.  

Why Jon Kitna shouldn't be the starting QB... Kitna will be 34 this September, which in quarterback years is pretty old.  Kitna's prime years in the NFL have passed, and he just can't get back up after sitting for basically 2 years to start playing again.  With young talent that can be transformed into great output by Mike Martz, why waste that by starting a QB that used to be good and isn't going to be as sharp now?

Why Josh McCown should be the starting QB...  Josh McCown was stuck on a talent-less Arizona Cardinals for the first 4 years of his career.  Other than Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, he had no one surrounding him to make him better.  He had to do it all himself.  McCown threw for 2511 yards in 2004 while starting 13 games.  Last season, it seemed Dennis Green wanted a new starting QB each week, that constant change hurt McCown.  McCown only started 6 games last year, and still managed to throw for 1836 yards, translate that into a full season and McCown would be a possible Pro Bowler.  Detroit also has a great receiving corps, so he would have those targets to throw to.  McCown is a young-bred talent that would work better with Mike Martz in my mind because he doesn't necessarily have his ways in stone yet.  He would be the better fit in a Mike Martz system.

Why Josh McCown shouldn't be the starting QB... McCown doesn't have the experience or known talent as Kitna does.  McCown was playing on a bad team, but he contributed to that.  With Kitna you know you're getting; a smart, known talent QB.  McCown is more of a risk, and with a Lions team that is a contender in the NFC North, you can't take any chances that early in the season.

Overall... I think that Josh McCown should be the starter, all points are valid, but McCown has been the better player as of late, and has played more recently.  Kitna has only come off the bench a few times in the last 2 years, and isn't polished in a game situation.  Everything can change from now until opening weekend, but if the season started now, I'd want McCown being the signal caller for the Lions.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.