LIONS HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI
On whether they're doing anything different in the mini-camp that they weren't doing in the OTAs: "It's a mini-camp, but it's just another day - just like our OTA days except we have an extra two periods and an extra practice. It's basically the same; the same work we're trying to do. It's just the progress process."
On whether QB Jon Kitna has emerged as the starting quarterback: "He's doing a good job. We'll just let it play out, that's all. All of them are doing a good job right now. I feel good about it."
On whether there's a timetable to when he wants to name a starting quarterback: "I don't want to say that date and then (have) you come and say: 'well, you told me this is the day.' I can't do that. We're just practicing. We had four days off. Right now we've come back in. We're outside. We have just got to keep our tempo, (keep) improving and getting better."
On how G Ross Verba entered the picture: "The front office found him. We just kept searching and looking. Like I told you before, we're going to keep searching, keep looking and keep pushing. We just kind of got in; there were 3-4 other teams (looking at him). We just used our charm."
On why several players didn't participate: "(Some guys) got a little banged up with injuries, pulls and some of those things. We'll just give them a little extra work here and there on the bikes and hopefully meeting work and all of those things so that we can get them back on the field faster. It's not just mini-camp. Still, we've got OTAs left; every practice is important. This is a mini-camp - last week we had 100-percent (participation) and everybody is still doing the same work, we just have two extra periods in two days."
On what some of the injuries are: "I'm not sure. We just got a (few) here and there."
On where TE Darius Williams came from: "We had a lot of these guys at the rookie mini-camp a while back with tryout guys and all those things. We brought guys in and had a chance to look at them. Some guys caught our eyes; we're putting them in and giving them looks. This is the time to do it.
On the competitive nature of these practices: "The competition is fierce just to get to camp right now. Obviously you can't take everybody we have right now to camp so the competition is fierce. You've got to make sure you're looking at everybody and make sure these guys are on it."
On why the team released QB Shaun King: "I thought, at this point, we had three quarterbacks we really like and I have had a great relationship with the guy over the years - I just didn't know if he had a great shot coming in (to the mini-camp). (Now) he has a chance to maybe go and be in the mix someplace else."
On whether they will bring another arm into camp: "We might look at a guy like a (NFL Europe) league quarterback or something like that. We're still looking."
On whether guys are buying into what he's trying to do here: "I think so far it's been very good. I'm pleased with the effort and trying. It's not good enough but I like the effort; the willingness to come out; the different environments we're trying to create; the different tempos we're trying to create. In this league it is so difficult to win because there are so many intangibles that stop you from winning - not just the other player(s). It could be elements in travel, it could be anything. This whole process is overcoming minor obstacles to win the game in the fourth quarter. Do you understand? Their willingness has been good. The progress has been good."
On the health of the linebackers: "I think we have nine right now. We're just waiting for Teddy (Lehman) and Boss (Bailey) to come back. The rest of them - we have some good people (practicing) there right now. So I'm excited about the guys that are practicing and I'm excited about the two guys we're going to get back."
On whether Bailey and Lehman will be ready for the start of training camp: "We'll wait and see. I just want to get them healthy - that's the No. 1 thing. If it takes a little bit longer, we're going do that and then be smart with them when we get them back."
On whether he has any team injury concerns: "No, I don't. To be very, very honest with you, I don't. I don't really concern myself because I can't control it. Honestly, this is the way I am. I've always been. Once I start, we're going - that way (pointing forward). We're going to leave a few on the way and I know that. We can't show this team it (injuries) affects us. We're going there (pointing forward). We're going to drop a few but we're going there. That's the goal. Things happen; I can't control it all. Things happen that way. That's how I've always approached things and they (the team) know that. As soon as you lose a few guys, it's: 'oh, woe is me,' and 'well, we can't do this.' I don't want any excuses or explanations (if we get into that situation)."
On whether G Ross Verba and RT Rex Tucker are the starters at their positions: "Those are going to be the guys in the mix right now. But really, we're just mixing. You know, we're mixing and working. When the pads come on and the competition goes and guys elevate up and down and all those things - I'm not so interested in who the starter is right now and who that guy is. I want to teach them our system and how we're doing things. That's the most important thing we're trying to do right now. The opener is not the issue. We're the issue. Doing what we're supposed to do, that's the issue. It's us and how we do things; how we're supposed to practice. If you start focusing on that opener, not everybody will be here for it."
On whether he finally feels good about his group of offensive linemen: "We've (added) a few now haven't we (laughter). I do (feel good about them). To be honest with you, I like them. I think these guys all like football. They're tough guys; they're coachable, they're working, they're smart and we'll keep working and working. We've got the best offensive line coach in football without a doubt. I know that because I played him so many years. That combination is really going to give us, I think, something very solid."
Courtesy of the Lions Media Relations!
Courtesy of the Lions Media Relations!