QB Jon Kitna talks about day 1 of training camp!

Hondo S. Carpenter

QUARTERBACK JON KITNA -- JULY 28, 2006

>> On the Lions’ first practice being in pads
“It was good. Fortunately, our speed, tempo and intensity was pretty high in the spring time. I’ve been places where there is a big change between what you do in the spring time and that first day of (training camp). I didn’t think there was that big of a change. Obviously, I’m a quarterback and I’m not hitting anybody; but, for the most part we have been (practicing) at that kind of speed throughout the spring.”

>> On whether he’s been places that opened training camp in pad
“I’ve been in the league a long time, so I’ve been throughout the whole spectrum. Obviously in the last couple of years with some of the fatal things that have happened on football fields and things – you’re in pads a little less. I’ve been in places in Seattle where you were in pads for two-a-days for six days. So you were (in pads) for 12 straight practices, in the morning and afternoon. This is not overly padded, I don’t think.”

>> On whether Mike Holmgren would open training camp in pads
“Oh yeah – we had goal-line scrimmages in the first couple of days of practice there, and full-padded practices. We had live situations almost every practice early on. This isn’t anything that is out of the ordinary – it’s just been out of the ordinary here.”

>> On how long he’s been a Detroit Tigers fan (wearing a Tigers ball cap)
“As soon as I came to Detroit, I became a Detroit fan. I’m a Detroit sports fan – that’s where I’m at. When people are successful, you like to look at that and see how they get that way. There’s a lot to be learned from that.”

>> On what he sees in WR Charles Rogers now from when he first saw him in March
“I’ve said many times, he’s been our most improved receiver throughout the spring. He was playing at a high level the last four to five weeks we were in (OTAs). Everyday he was doing something that caught your eye on film. I think the expectation, as it is for our team and then for him individually, has been raised to a point to where now, we know what he can do and it’s expected of him every day. He’s stepped up to that challenge.”

>> On the bond developing between him and WR Roy Williams
“There are a lot of good feelings going around right now. Nobody has won a game and nobody has lost a game. You have to deal with adversity as it comes. He and I have gotten along well. I’ve gotten along well with all of the receivers – and tight ends and running backs for that matter. I think that’s my role as a quarterback, my job as a quarterback is to be who I am but be willing to… as they say, ‘When in Rome, be like the Romans and do as the Romans do.’ I try to make sure that each position group and each guy is dealt with individually. Roy and I have gotten along and we’re off to a great start. We were in last week working hard. He took time out of his schedule to fly out here and work and get a head start on camp.”

>> On what makes Mike Martz’s offense special
“I think for me, what makes it special is: that the gas pedal is always down. There’s one way to play the game. You don’t play to protect leads; you don’t play to just squeak out wins. You play to try to be perfect on offense and that’s the way he does it. He just goes after things. He demands a lot. The installation schedule that we’re going through is so much more in volume than anything I’ve ever been around. You can’t go back to your room and just play video games or hang out. You’ve got to put the time in. He won’t slow down for your, so you better get up to his speed. The thing that he always says is: ‘the reason why we give you so many things is because that gives you the best chance to be successful’; teams can’t get a beat on you and all of that. It’s just an ever-changing offense that is complex for a defense, so it’s complex for us.”

>> On where he thinks the learning curve is right now for him and the offense
“It’s early. I have no idea because I’ve never been in it before. I guess you would have to ask Coach Martz or maybe one of the guys who were with the Rams, like Arlen Harris or Mike Furrey. With the stuff that we’re doing right now, I feel comfortable with it. I don’t feel like I got it all, but I’m feeling comfortable out there, like I have a pretty good idea of where he wants to go with the ball most of the time when the play is called.”

>> On how much command he feels he has in the huddle
“I feel like the huddle has been responsive. I feel like guys respect the leadership position of the quarterback. It’s not something that can be taken lightly as a quarterback. You have to go out everyday and earn respect. You don’t just get to come in and flop around. You have to put yourself out there everyday.”

>> On his reaction to Marinelli ending the suspense and making him the starter
“There was no reaction because… I’ve said it all along: my mentality has been that I’ll be the starter unless they tell me differently. It’s not like I started jumping up and down. That’s been my mentality since I got here.”

>> On whether he feels it’s important that the team knows who its quarterback is
“No question – the sooner the better. The longer you drag it out, the worse it is. You might have made the wrong decision but at least those guys know who is going to be in there. They can’t be guessing because then you start to get division and that’s never good for a football team. I’ve always said: I’ve been through quarterback competitions and I see what that does. I think that the sooner the better. You just deal with the guy that’s in there – his strengths, his weaknesses, the things he can do and he can’t do. There might be some guy that can do it a little bit better in a certain area but, you just deal with that.”

>> On whether he’s anxious to prove he can have a great year again
“I’m not anxious to prove it – I’ve proven myself over and over in this league. Every time that people have said that I can’t do things, I’ve been able to do them. I think the one thing that people have said is: ‘he’s a career backup.’ I’m not. I was a starter in this league but they just happened to draft a guy No. 1 overall and they have to play him. Obviously that was the right choice for their organization but, I was playing at a pretty high level when that decision was made. For me, (this is) just an opportunity for me to go out and finish what I started with my career. You guys know pretty much about my faith, and I believe that God has prepared me for 10 years for this situation right now.”

>> On how he would rate his arm-strength
“On a scale from one to 10 – I’m not Brett Favre, I would say he’s a 10. I’m probably like a 7 or an 8. I don’t think it’s below average. I think the misperception has been ever since Bill Walsh made the comment that I didn’t have arm strength after my first game in this league even though he wasn’t at the game. That just kind of stuck. It’s never been an issue: ‘oh, you didn’t have enough arm to throw it out there.’ I would put my arm with anybody. I can throw it well.”

>> On how WR Mike Williams looked today
“He looked good today – it was nice to see him back out there. I’m sure he was anxious to get back out there after the hamstring thing that he had in the spring. He looked good today. You know, everybody looked good today (laughter).”

>> On whether the success of the other Detroit franchises raises the bar for the Lions
“I guess we’ve got something good rolling in this town. Mike Martz says it all of the time: ‘you can’t put limits on yourself.’ So you just go out and you try to be perfect and see where that gets you.”

>> On what he thinks he brings to the Lions that former QB Joey Harrington didn’t
“I don’t know Joey and I don’t know what skill set he has. All I know is that I’ve been hardened by this league; I understand the ups and downs; I understand the lengths of a season; I understand the need to get better each week; I understand offenses and defenses and I understand the need to have chemistry in your locker room.”

>> On whether criticism from the media drives him
“Are you the one that asked the question about the arm? That’s why it stuck; that’s why people always say, ‘well he doesn’t have the arm strength.’ People that play with me; people that know me; people that spent time on the field with me, that’s never been a comment that I’ve heard. It’s not something that drives me. To be honest, all you local guys, I’m sorry; I don’t listen to the local media or the paper because if things are going good, you’re probably saying things that aren’t true about me because you might be saying he’s better than he is. Then when things are going bad, they might now necessarily true either. I try not to listen to those things and I think that has helped me. Early on in my career, I did (listen); but (not listening) has helped me remain even keel. In 2003, we started 1-4 and I would have hated to have read what they were saying about me then. We ended up making a playoff push and at the end of the year, I was right there with the Top five or six quarterbacks in this league.”

>> On whether he’s ever gotten over not being drafted
“I got over that after my first year. I went to a small college – so, you weren’t going to get drafted. That’s just the nature of the business. They believe that you’re at a small college for a reason and I was there for a reason: I met my wife there; I got saved there. I’m perfectly content with where I’m at. It’s been a great road and a lot of fun.”

>> On whether this receiving corps has the potential to be one of the best he’s ever thrown to
“No question – top to bottom, no question. The potential is there. The great thing is that Mike Martz knows how to turn potential into reality."
 


Courtesy of the Detroit Lions

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