Extended Notebook: Rookie notes and more

Neither starter Jon Kitna or backup Josh McCown has been extraordinary in their camp repetitions, but Kitna seems ahead of both McCown and third-string quarterback Dan Orlovsky with respect to what coordinator Mike Martz wants. Player of the week, battle of the week, rookie notes and much more inside.

ALLEN PARK -- Coach Rod Marinelli didn't even wait for the Lions to get to training camp before announcing veteran Jon Kitna as the No. 1 quarterback, ahead of Josh McCown.

Both Kitna and McCown were signed as free agents and — after the trade of Joey Harrington to Miami — it was expected they would compete for the starting job. Marinelli said the competition will continue for the job but he clearly did not want to have a quarterback controversy brewing with the possibility of the team dividing into factions, so he made Kitna the No. 1 early.

Neither quarterback has been extraordinary since taking repetitions at camp, but Kitna seems ahead of both McCown and third-string quarterback Dan Orlovsky with respect to offensive coordinator Mike Martz's terminology and ball placement.

The Lions will get a late start on settling the linebacker situation. None of the three anticipated starters were in pads for the start of training camp. Boss Bailey and Teddy Lehman were on the PUP list and first-round pick Ernie Sims had not yet reached agreement on a contract. Sims is in camp with Bailey on the way, but Lehman's return is still almost two weeks away.

PLAYER NOTES

  • RT Rex Tucker, who has started at both guard positions as well as right tackle during his previous seven NFL seasons, has been installed as the Lions' No. 1 right tackle. Tucker played eight games last year for St. Louis under coach Mike Martz, now the Lions' offensive coordinator.

  • RT/RG Kelly Butler, who started all 16 games last year at the right tackle position, has shared time at his former position with Tucker. However, Butler has also spent a considerable amount of time at right guard on the third-team.

  • LG Ross Verba sat out the entire 2005 season but has moved into the starting LG position for the Lions in the opening days of training camp. The Lions split the job last season between Rick DeMulling and Kyle Kosier with modest results.

  • WR Corey Bradford, a nine-year veteran, is lining up with Roy Williams as the starting receivers. The Lions signed Bradford to provide a stabilizing veteran presence on a roster heavy with young receivers.

  • QB Jon Kitna showed enough leadership traits and physical ability during the off-season to convince Lions coach Rod Marinelli to give him the No. 1 quarterback job at the start of training camp.

    BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Shawn Bryson vs. Arlen Harris, Brian Calhoun and Artose Pinner for the backup RB job behind Kevin Jones. Bryson has been valuable as a backup RB and FB capable of running and catching the ball, and is likely to have the job by the start of the regular season but, in the meantime, he is being challenged. Harris has experience in coordinator Mike Martz's system, which puts him ahead of the other backs; Calhoun, the third-round draft pick, has good quickness and speed; and Pinner is a downhill runner who came to camp somewhat lighter and in good condition.

    OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Kenoy Kennedy has the SS job locked up but look for competition from at least three players for the FS job. Terrence Holt was the starter in 2005 but did not play at a consistently high level so newcomer Idrees Bashir and rookie Daniel Bullocks could challenge for the job.

    The linebacker jobs could all be up for grabs, in part because of injuries and in part because the Lions have no truly proven performers. Projected starters Boss Bailey (MLB) and Teddy Lehman (SLB) went to camp on the PUP list and when they get back they'll have to catch up with James Davis, Alex Lewis, LeVar Woods, Paris Lenon and rookie Anthony Cannon.

    Kitna seems to have a lock on the starting QB position and it is assumed fellow free agent-acquisition Josh McCown will be the backup, but second-year player Dan Orlovsky would like to challenge McCown for the backup job.

    PLAYER OF THE WEEK: WR Charles Rogers is coming off the worst of three nightmare seasons with plenty to prove in both production and attitude. He seems to have dedicated himself to both areas and got off to a fast start in training camp. A former No. 2 pick in the draft, he had broken collarbones in 2003 and 2004, sat out four games on a drug abuse suspension and was benched for another three games in 2005. At 195 pounds, he has shown signs of regaining his speed and big-play ability.

    ROOKIE REPORT:

  • LB Ernie Sims missed the first two days of training camp in extended contract negotiations but was on the field, delivering blows, in day three.

  • FS Daniel Bullocks missed the first day of training camp before getting a contract in place. He will work primarily at FS, with a chance at winning the starting job.

  • RB Brian Calhoun impressed the Lions in mini-camp with his quickness and agility. At 5-10 and 194 pounds, he is not a big back but could fill a specialist role in Mike Martz's offense.

  • OT Jonathan Scott is working at RT with the second offensive line in the opening sessions of training camp, ahead of last year's starting RT Kelly Butler, who was moved inside to RG.

  • CB Dee McCann has the size (5-10, 200 pounds) coach Rod Marinelli likes in his defensive backs. He will compete with Keith Smith and Stanley Wilson for backup CB jobs and a role on special teams coverage units.

  • OL Fred Matua, a guard at USC, is taking snaps at center.

  • LB Anthony Cannon is taking advantage of the absence of veteran LBs Boss Bailey and Teddy Lehman, getting reps at MLB and working in the nickel defenses.

    INJURY REPORT: The Lions started camp with six players on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. The six were LB Boss Bailey (left ankle), LB Teddy Lehman (right foot), TE Dan Campbell (elbow), WR Scottie Vines (groin), CB Stanley Wilson (knee) and OG Tyrone Hopson (knee). Wilson was moved to the active roster in the second day of workouts and OG Matt McGhghy, who had been on the non-football injury list with the flu, was released. DT Shaun Cody suffered a sprained left knee but it was believed to be mild and he will not miss a lot of work.


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