The following is a transcript from today's post-practice interview with Detroit Lions Head Coach Rod Marinelli.
LIONS HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI
On the whereabouts of players not participating in this voluntary camp: "I'm informed of where everybody is at. Everything is fine."
On where Dan Wilkinson is at: "At home."
On whether Dan Wilkinson has decided to retire: "I can't answer that."
On where Boss Bailey is: "We're checking on him for certain things. He's not here. I know where he's at. He's excused."
On why he won't elaborate: "I know where he's at and that's where I'll leave it. He's just getting some things checked out."
On how the first practice went: "Good. I've got to get more tempo yet - it's got to be faster. Other than that, the want to and the effort was good."
On how much this is about showing the players how you want them to practice: "That's a big part of it. The tempo you want, the way you want things done and fundamentals. Fundamentals are everything. We had a long individual period today - teach men how to play football. That's very important. Coaches just love that period where they can get all of their drill work in, the fundamentals, the progressions of fundamentals that relate to our game."
On whether there are any habits that need to be broken: "I don't worry about that. I just worry about what we've got to teach and we just make sure that we explain that. We had long meetings this morning; it's been a day of meetings. That's all part of it: how to meet; how to retain information; how to communicate information and to get on the field and see if we can do it. That today was that. Again, each day now is just a little bit better. I want the progress. We talked in detail about how hard we want to play and knowing what to do, fundamentals and how to finish because those are all of the
untalented issues and that's the thing that I'm stressing."
On what he will try to accomplish in the next three practices: "The same thing I did today. I want to get in and just keep refining our drill work. I want them to understand how a drill relates to the whole picture. Then you just keep doing that and day-by-day have some insertion (of the offense and defense) but the most important thing is how we're going to approach things and how we're going to do things."
On whether he'll work with the defensive line during individual period for all practices: "Oh yeah. Each day I'll probably stay with the 'down guys' during the individual period. I just want to get that thing started in the right direction and the tempo. We explain it well together as a staff: what I want, how I want it, the tempo that I want and the precision. I want a
glittering display of execution everyday. That's what I'm looking for everyday. If its not, I'm not happy."
On whether he thinks he has a long way to go with this group: "I'm going to
just tell you how I am. Tomorrow, I'm going to get up and just start
chopping wood. That's all I look at. I'm not looking that far - I can't do
it; I don't do well like that. What I do well is, we'll get up and evaluate
this film. Get up and get ready to go and see if I can get them a little bit
better; a little bit faster, a little bit lower, a little better steps, a
little better communication, understand what we're doing. Let's just make
that type of progress day-by-day. It's a sign of weakness when you start
looking too far down. I'm just staying right there and that's what I am
On if he will do individual player evaluation: "Right now, we are stressing
a system because there are no pads. It's unfair. What I am trying to do is
stress our system, stress how we do things, how we practice at our tempo.
Now you get all these men prepared when they go to camp and put pads on to
make this football team."
On if he has seen any resistance to the way that he wanted to do things:
"No. I just line them up and go in fast."
On if the guys who weren't there today are excused from the entire
On if there are there any others that are excused: "No."
On how he would asses his quarterback situation right now: "It's really hard
after just one day. I like them all. There's some veteran leadership that I
like and we're excited about that. They played a lot so now it's just
learning the system. The whole system is coming in at once on you. It's a
day by day process."
On what the key to learning the system is at the quarterback position:
"Knowing the system, understanding it and the communication within the
system. A lot of it is so much shifting and moving of offensive personnel.
So the language is a big part of it."
On how you assess who will be the number quarterback right now: "Well you
don't, because we're not playing. So, you just keep working your team. You
have to get all these guys as many reps as you can and then see who starts
progressing and just keep evaluating."
On that he said that Kitna would be the number one guy a week ago: "I
thought that the way that thing was answered - the way it was asked is not
the way I wanted to answer it. So what I'm asking right now, I'm going to
answer it again. We don't have a starter right now. Somebody's got to take
the first rep is what I said. I'm going to let them take the reps and I'm
going to get look at it and try to work it out."
On what the quarterbacks need to show: "Accuracy, command, leadership,
command of the offense and moving the football team."
On if Jon Kitna has an inside track based on his age and level of experience
in the NFL: "I don't know. We're just getting them all out there and working
them. That's the biggest thing. I don't want to just start pinning something
down and saying this is a new statement out here. No. We're just getting
these guys work, stressing the system, how we're doing things; and that's
the number one thing - and then get them as much knowledge as we can in this
mini-camp. Then we have OTA (Organized Team Activity) days and another
mini-camp and more OTA days then we go to camp. Now we're just trying to get
information for skill development."
On if this was a big day for him being his first day on the field as a head
coach: "Yeah it was. It was fun. It was really important. The most important
thing was to get things established that I wanted to get established."
On if he is nervous at all: "No."
On if he is anxious: "Excited."
On if old habits die hard with his breaking away from the defensive line:
"No, I just wanted to make sure. I have a very good young guy who coached
college football for a long time and I got him going and he's on it. I just
want to make sure that some of the details are on it early. So, I'm working
with him a little bit and then I'll eventually start pulling myself away. I
just know how much talent is in the front. If that front starts really
playing like I believe it can, it can be a force."
On if it's different to see all of the players together instead of in
workout groups: "Oh yeah. You can have an off-season workout, but there are
a lot of times where you don't have to remember anything. So, what I'm
looking for now is when fatigue starts to set in, can you focus, can you
play one snap at a time, can you communicate when you are tired? Those are
really important ingredients that have to show up in fourth quarter games
and road games when things aren't right and aren't comfortable. Can we do
those little things, can we stress our tempo? Can we communicate under
On what he likes and dislikes about this locker room so far: "I'm still
getting to know them right now. That's a tough question. I guess what I do
like is the willingness. This is a long day. We started early this morning
and it was going to be a long one and we are going to go in tonight and keep
working. I'm pushing them and I appreciate their willingness."
On if LB Teddy Lehman can do anything: "No, he's still recovering."
On the status of DT Marcus Bell: "Still waiting. We're just rehabbing right now."
On if T Jeff Backus is able to practice physically: "He's still doing some rehab right now."
On any time projection for Lehman: "I couldn't answer that."
On how he feels about WRs Charles Rogers and Mike Williams at this point:
"They came in on time and ready to work all day. You watched them work today
at a great pace and great tempo. That's where you start right there, those
points. You just keep working to get these guys better."
On why he closed practice to the media: "Because we could."
On if he would close practice whenever he could this year: "It's something
that I want to think about. I just thought right now, with a new staff, you
get a chance to see individuals and stuff like that. I just wanted to put
our staff somewhat at ease, to be their selves and just go coach football."