LIONS HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI TRAINING CAMP PRESS CONFERENCE

Hondo S. Carpenter

TRANSCRIPT FROM LIONS HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI TRAINING CAMP PRESS CONFERENCELIONS HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI
On the tone and message being sent to the players today: "I think the first thing I really want to point out as we get started is that this whole thing is about a process. I want to make sure that the very first thing we hit on is training camp. You can look down the road to the season and all of those things, but the most important thing is what we're involved in now, which is training camp. I want that to be the focus, and not anything past that.

"Then phase two would be the preseason games and the value of the preseason games. The third thing would be how to organize time management of a game week. Then I'll prepare for the opener. I just don't want to look too far down that road; I want to get what were supposed to do right now.

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."

On linebackers Boss Bailey and Teddy Lehman being on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list: "I feel like Boss is pretty close, we'll see, but it sounds like he's pretty close. Then we just have to get a feel on Teddy, and I'm not sure how long that could be. But, we'll get a feel as we go. I think Teddy will be ok; I think Boss will be ok. You have to try to look at the positive, the guy behind them is going to get some great work and we have to coach the heck out of those guys."

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 whether he's trying to eliminate distractions based on the past: "I mean by what's happening right now. I just want to focus on each and everyday and all of our attention is on training camp right now. That's the thing I want to talk to them about."

On assigning year-long captains: "I'm really thinking about year long captains, that's really what I'm comfortable with. I have some time before I do that. As you know me pretty well so far, I don't make quick decisions. I sit on things and I think it through, and think it through. I feel good about that. We could have two or we could have four. We just have to see how we're comfortable as a team."

On the heat and how to keep the players safe: "I've talked to the trainers; you want them on top of that all the time. I've talked to the coaches; you want them to get plenty of water. If it's extremely hot, we'll take a couple of minutes for a cool down period where they'll take their hats off and cool down and get their body temperature back down. The No. 1 thing is to be smart with these men. It's always on my mind, especially coming from Tampa where it was brutally hot."

On player adjustments starting the first practice in pads: "I think it will take some adjustment; what's going to help that adjustment is two things: we've talked about it a lot as a team during the mini-camps in the off-season and then we have a lot of players that we've brought in that have been in pads at different camps. These players know how to handle the business. Then the rookies that are coming in will go either way. Either you're a padded team or you're not and that's how you adjust.

"We've talked about it and we're going to talk about it again tonight. I think there are a lot of advantages. It's not comfortable, I understand that, but the type of team we want to put on the field has to be physical. If you talk about being physical, if that's important to you, to run offense, run defense and tackle, your practice has to reflect that. You have to go out and do it. I feel very good about it. We're going to go hard, but we're going to go smart too."

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.

On being excited for the start of training camp: "Oh, I'm very excited. I can be calm consistently, but the volcano is going off now. But the volcano is going to hopefully be at the same pace for the next twenty-four weeks, or for however many weeks we're doing it.

"I've got to set whatever that standard is, because I don't want to be so excited tomorrow that three days from now (that I'm not consistent); that's not a good message for our team. I want to come out with a standard of consistency, and that's what our staff is. The staff approaches every practice the same way. Our players will then start practicing and playing the same way."

On if he'll spend more time with the defensive line: "Yes, I'm going to be on that defensive side. I sit down in the offseason and think of how best I can help this football team. And I can best help on the defensive side, and I can best help that defensive front. I'm best at holding people accountable and at the tempo and pace that I want. I pick up a shovel and start digging just like the other guys. The only thing that matters is to get this thing sailing right and winning no matter what it takes."

On his expectations on WR Charles Rogers this season: "Tomorrow morning's expectations are that I expect him to come out and be flying; be in great shape; and do the things we ask him to do. Once those things start through camp, that's when those things start opening up. Tomorrow is day No. 1 - let's get to work."

On if there are any excused absences for the first day of training camp: "No. Everyone should be here tomorrow."

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."

On when he'll break out specific season goals: "I think you talk about that a little bit, but the goal right now is that next play. I want to make sure that each and every play we're focused in on that and if you win enough plays, that's how it happens for you and that's how I do my business."

On when he evaluates film during two-a-days and how much time he spends on it: "Within our practice schedule, we get a bigger chunk in between practices. You give the players a little more time to rest, but it also allows us to do a nice job of watching tape. So we'll get a good hour a day right there. Then we'll have a meeting in between practices. If you don't have a meeting in between, then those corrections go uncorrected. Then you can put two practices together without being able to correct it without really correcting it off of film. So we'll have a meeting, correct, and then the afternoon practice - which will be a little shorter, but still explosive - and then we'll watch tape again that night."

On if he's set an order for the second and third string quarterbacks: "Yes, it is going to be Josh (McCown) lined up at the No. 2 and Dan (Orlovsky) at the No. 3 right now. That's how we finished it up at the mini-camp."

On how much of an adjustment it will be to be a head coach for the first time:
"I think there are adjustments with anything that you do. I've kind of made my mind up that there will be bumps, but if I attack everything with unbelievable energy at every point and with as much passion as I can, it will start to smooth things out. I'm going back to my strengths - which are fundamentals and hiring a great staff. I have a big circle of all the things I have to do and right in the middle is a dot - and that's football. I make sure that my energy and my focus is there, now I have other things to do, but it's not going to take away from that middle point in the circle. Each year I'm in it, that dot will grow bigger and I'll get stronger in those areas. So No. 1 - I take care of football, practice and all of those things we do… but there will be some growing pains."

On what he's taken from past head coaches that he's worked under: "One thing that I've been fortunate with is that I've spent four to five years with each coach, or longer, with the shortest one being with John Robinson because that felt like 10 years because of my relationship with him and what I learned from him. I've taken a lot of the things over the years of what I've liked and what I didn't like, and you start putting together what you want a team to look like. Before anything happens, you have to see it. If you're going to build a beautiful new building, the first thing you do isn't to lay the foundation - you visually picture it. I try to see what I want a great practice to look like or what a great team should look like. I have to see it, because once you can see it, then you can start putting your foundation in with your fundamentals and details. You also have to have men that see the same thing that you do. Part of my job is communicating what I want things to look like to the staff and to the team. So you have to be very direct in your communication, very simple and very repetitive in what I want. After seeing that, you go to work. There are a lot of different men that I've been able to work for, three or four key guys that turned around programs and knew how to win. I tried to hire as many veteran coaches whose backgrounds were about being physical and doing things right; which is what I was looking for.

On if John Robinson will be here for training camp: "He'll be here for three days or so. It's going to be great to have him here because he has a great feel. He was a head coach in this league for 10 years and he'll probably go in the Hall of Fame in college football. I like people who tell you the truth. I like someone who tells me when something isn't good. You don't need someone who always tells you that everything is good. I brought a guy in who I'm very confident in and who I'm very comfortable with. Plus, I'm looking forward to seeing him. I love veteran coaches."

On if he allows his coaches critique him: "I will maybe pop into a guy's office in a private setting and ask him, instead of in a group, where he might not feel comfortable. However, with certain guys I feel very confident with where I can ask them what I'm missing. It's about winning football games; it's not about me. I'm not thin skinned, so if you see something, you have to bring it."

On what he likes physically about this team: "I like that we have some big men who can move. I think the balance is good here. This is an athletic football team that's tall and rangy. I think there's good talent here, and across this league, as we're all drawing from the same pool. Our job now is to develop that talent."

On if he feels if there's pressure on this team to win in the city of Detroit: "Sure. There is tremendous pressure on us to win right now. As a competitor, you want to win everyday. I'm here to compete, and I'm not interested in doing anything else. You are in this profession because you love to compete. Every guy I've hired loves to compete. If we go play bingo, they're going to try to take your throat out because we love to compete. We're in one of the highest levels of competition and you have highly competitive men in this because of it. We'll go to camp and will work as hard and smart as we can to go out and win now and we all know that."

Courtesy of the Detroit Lions

Courtesy of the Detroit Lions

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