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Rod Marinelli Training Camp Press Conference Notes

Yesterday, Rod Marinelli addressed the media before training camp got started.  During the press conference Marinelli would discuss just about everything.  He addressed the starting quarterback situation, which he just announced recently would go to Jon Kitna.  Also, Marinelli talked about what his expectations and goals were for the 2006 season.  Let's take a look at some of the things he said yesterday.

On naming QB Jon Kitna as the starter going into training camp: "Yeah, I think there would be three things that really went through my mind. I thought the time was right, that he had a really exceptional offseason - and the competition was there. I think this team really needs veteran leadership; he really brings something special to the table as a leader. And I wanted to move away from distractions. So we'll do that, and the competition is still there, he just enters the camp as the starter. Then we'll go from there."

On Kitna winning the job in the off-season: "I thought he did a great job in the offseason, he really did. We put a lot of emphasis in it, especially in our seven-on-seven, the blitz period and all of those things we were able to do. But we still go into camp. We're going to compete and all of those things are still there but he'll enter camp as our starting quarterback and I'm really excited about his leadership."

On decision to name Kitna starter so quickly: "It just happened so fast. This team doesn't need anymore distractions; this team needs leadership and that's all part of that decision. He's played well so far."

On what he took into consideration when making Kitna the starter: "He's very accurate for one, very bright and he has great leadership. Those are some of the key things for that quarterback position that you're always looking for. I think he's been very good in terms of those things. He can manage in terms of what we're doing, and I think he can rally those guys around in terms of his leadership which is a strength of his. He's an upbeat guy and those are some of the strengths I see him bringing.

After reading that it would appear that the job isn't set in stone, but something very big would have to happen in order to allow McCown to become the starter.  It's good on Marinelli's part to announce this and make it evident that he's behind Kitna so there won't be too much controversy during training camp.  I mean, it's good to have a position battle because it just makes the players involved even better.  But, you don't want to have the distraction of not knowing who's the number one man.  Now, with that out of the way, the Lions offense can concentrate more on implementing a new system.

On handling rookies coming in late: "The men who are behind are going to need extra coaching. You need to get those guys ready to go and coach the heck out of those guys. But (I'm) anxious for them to get here and once they get here you have to put them in the mix and try to get them caught up as quickly as you can. You don't like anybody missing anything, but that's part of it. I don't dwell on it, I just move on."

Five of the seven rookies were signed, meaning they can get right into the action at training camp.  The top two picks are close, but haven't reached that signing point just yet.  Once Ernie Sims and Daniel Bullocks make their way into camp, which hopefully is very soon, both will have some catching up to do.  I wouldn't worry too much, I'm sure that Sims will be signed within the next twenty-four hours so he can get to camp sometime this weekend.

On what his opening goals are to the team the eve before training camp: "We all know our goal. Anytime you bring men to a table, you have goals. You have to go out and win your division every year - that's a given and is what we're here for. However, to state all of that right now may not be best because guys forget it in a day. Right now, they're only worried about their job, their survival and making the next practice. I have the ability to coach that well and I want to make sure we make progress daily. That's my goal right now, and everything else is just talk. However, by the end of the day tomorrow after the second practice I'll have some film to evaluate and see where our progress is. The next day we'll try to correct that and move on again."
It's nice to see a Detroit Lions coach who just comes out and says what he's thinking.  His ultimate goal is to win the NFC North division, and anything short of that won't be acceptable.  I'm sure most Lions fans just want a .500 season, and anything after that would be a bonus.  The way things could end up, a .500 season may come close to winning the NFC North.  

With the discipline Rod Marinelli can provide to a team that hasn't really had any, they could easily win the division.  It just takes some talent, which the Lions have plenty of, and a coach that makes sure his players want to win.  That second part has been non-existent in recent years.  A loss didn't create any fire with coaches in the past, and I'm sure it will be much different this season.

If the Lions just take it one play at a time, and don't get bogged down in mistakes, then Marinelli's first year in Detroit could be more successful then most would think.

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