Marinelli sticking with Kitna at quarterback

Jon Kitna

Despite a 2-7 start and a meager performance by starter Jon Kitna on Sunday, Lions' head coach Rod Marinelli is sticking by his guns. Or at least one gun in particular. Quotes from Marinelli and quarterback Jon Kitna inside.

Despite a 2-7 start and a meager performance by starter Jon Kitna on Sunday, Lions' head coach Rod Marinelli is sticking by his guns.

Or at least one gun in particular.

Following the 19-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Marinelli defended the veteran Kitna, and shrugged off any suggestions that he might consider a quarterback change given the team's dire state.

"No, because I believe in him 100-percent," said Marinelli. "I think what he brings to the table -- I've seen him play some games where he's started slow and he finishes really strong. He's got that great mental toughness to him and he's got the leadership that I'm looking for. That would be why."

Kitna finished the game 19-of-30 for 202 yards and one touchdown, but the team converted just 33-percent of its third down opportunities. They also turned the ball over four times, including Kitna's interception on fourth down late in the fourth quarter.

On the same series, Kitna absorbed a 10-yard sack that crippled Detroit's chances on the drive.

Throughout the contest, the Lions' signal caller seemed to hold the ball too long. And while the 49ers' defense did an effective job neutralizing Kitna's favorite target, receiver Roy Williams, the Lions' pass offense was still unable to take advantage of one of the most porous pass defenses in the league.

"They did a good job (taking away Roy), they were playing the run pretty effectively with two safeties back there and they changed up coverage the whole game on Roy," explained Kitna. "It's not like we didn't try to get him the ball, I don't know how many catches he had today but we just didn't have many plays. We didn't have many opportunities and that's unfortunate."

While Williams gathered five receptions, running back Kevin Jones finished with nine of his own -- the result of many check downs by Kitna.

The ragged play affected Detroit throughout the game. Before settling for a Jason Hanson field goal to end the first half, the Lions had managed just one first down in the first four series of the game.

On the second play of the third quarter, Kitna fumbled the ball inside Detroit's own 30-yard line after a massive hit by 49ers' cornerback Shawntae Spencer.

"San Francisco came in here and played hard and early on we didn't match their intensity on the offensive side of the ball," Kitna said. "They did a great job of changing up coverage and all of that stuff, but you have to give credit to them today."

Marinelli, meanwhile, didn't buy the notion that the team's slow start on Sunday was related to the play behind center.

"Nobody should allow somebody to set their own course," said Marinelli. "Each man is responsible for setting their course. Each man is responsible to set their course, how they play and they shouldn't rely on anybody else. Nobody else should need a spark from anybody. Each man is paid to do their job. Each coach is paid to do their job, do your job, come out and (be) ready to go."

Before the game, Kitna was on pace to shatter Detroit's single-season record for passing yards. But with the losses mounting and the team's inability to play consistently, did the offense suffer a major setback?

"We didn't play as good as we should have - as good as we need to," said Kitna. "We're not getting a lot of possessions with the football so you can't turn it over four times. You can't come out in the first few possessions and go punt, turnover, punt. You're only getting four possessions a half so you have to take advantage of them."

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