ALLEN PARK -- Lions' head coach Rod Marinelli would like to make something very clear: The team does not have a starting quarterback.
Well, at least not yet.
Following the team's opening day of a voluntary mini-camp on Tuesday, Marinelli cleared up his own previous statement that quarterback Jon Kitna might have the starting position by default.
"I thought that the way that thing was answered - the way it was asked is not the way I wanted to answer it," clarified Marinelli. "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."
Kitna will battle fellow free-agent addition Josh McCown, a four-year player with a cannon for an arm and mobility. McCown's arm strength might make him better suited for offensive coordinator Mike Martz's vertical offense, and he even spent last year as Kurt Warner's understudy in Arizona. Warner had his most productive years under Martz in St. Louis.
Each quarterback looked sharp during the first day of camp, but the drills were not complex.
Marinelli, however, said that the decision of who will be the team's No. 1 would take time.
"It's really hard after just one day," said Marinelli, "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."
That evaluation process is lengthy, and with a few mini-camps before the team reports to training camp in late June, he doesn't expect to fill out the quarterback depth chart any time soon. Second-year quarterback Dan Orlovsky and veteran Shaun King will battle for the third spot.
"Well you don't, because we're not playing," said Marinelli. 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."
When asked whether or not Kitna would have an edge due to his experience in the league, Marinelli was non-commital.
"I don't know," he said. "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."
Marinelli said he is looking for "Accuracy, command, leadership, command of the offense and moving the football team" in his quarterbacks.