Even with the Lions at 2-7 and having thrown as many interceptions as touchdown passes, quarterback Jon Kitna isn't worried about losing his job. "No one in this locker room is looking at me as the problem," Kitna said. More inside.
ALLEN PARK -- Rod Marinelli is in his first year as coach of the Detroit Lions, so he can be excused for looking bewildered at Monday's press conference.
It's been so long since the Lions have had a star behind center that one bad
performance is enough to start a quarterback controversy.
So when Jon Kitna struggled in Sunday's 19-13 loss to the 49ers, talk radio
immediately exploded with calls for the immediate promotion of Josh McCown or
The noise level built to the point that Marinelli was asked Monday if he was
considering a change.
"I'll make this statement right off the bat -- Jon Kitna is our quarterback,"
Marinelli said after a stunned pause. "I believe in him and this team believes
in him. It's not an issue.
"He's our quarterback."
Kitna only threw for 73 yards as the 49ers built a 13-3 halftime lead, then
had two key turnovers as Detroit tried to rally in the second half.
On Detroit's first play from scrimmage, no one picked up a corner blitz, and
Kitna fumbled after a highlight-reel shot from Shawntae Spencer.
"I never saw him, and that was going to be a touchdown," Kitna said. "Roy
(Williams) was gone, and if I make a good throw, he scores."
Kitna had a chance to be the hero in the final minutes, but two key mistakes
helped the 49ers escape. On first down from the San Francisco 16, Kitna was
sacked for a 10-yard loss.
"What did you want me to do?" asked a testy Kitna on Monday. "Mike Furrey's
going to score, and someone trips him, so I've got no receiver, and I'm in the
pocket, so I can't throw it away. I tried to get outside, and they got me."
Three plays later, the Lions faced 4th-and-13, and Keith Lewis intercepted
his pass at the goal line, allowing the 49ers to run out the clock.
Even with the Lions at 2-7 and having thrown as many interceptions as
touchdown passes, Kitna isn't worried about losing his job.
"No one in this locker room is looking at me as the problem," he said. "I
could play better, but Peyton Manning's 9-0, and he knows he can play better,
too. I think I've been OK."Despite Sunday's rough outing, QB Jon Kitna remains on pace to break most of
Detroit's single-season passing records. He has more completions and yards than
Scott Mitchell had through nine games when he set team marks in both categories.
Kitna is also completing 63.2 percent of his passes, which would break Eric
Hipple's 1986 record of 63.0 percent.
RB Kevin Jones has had at least 100 total yards in four straight games, and
his 995 total yards rank ninth in the NFL. He set career bests of nine catches
and 71 yards receiving against San Francisco.
WR Roy Williams had his scoring streak snapped at three games when he didn't
get into the end zone against the 49ers. He also fumbled on his biggest play of
the game, a 22-yard gain. He is third in the NFL with 800 receiving yards, and
is tied with three other players with four 100-yard games.
WR Mike Furrey had his worst game in weeks against San Francisco, only
catching two passes for 13 yards. Furrey, who played safety last season in St. Louis, started 2006 behind Corey Bradford, Charles Rogers and Mike Williams on
the depth chart, but moved to No. 2 early in the year while the others vanished.
TE Dan Campbell was brought in as a blocker, with Marcus Pollard and Casey
FitzSimmons expected to be the pass-catching tight ends, but has moved past that
role. Campbell has 12 receptions, as many as Pollard and FitzSimmons combined,
and his average of 16.8 yards per catch is a half-yard higher than explosive WR
DT Cory Redding had two sacks against San Francisco, and now leads Detroit's
active players with 3.5. DE James Hall has five, but is out for the season with
a shoulder injury. With Shaun Rogers (two sacks) still out for another week with
his drug suspension, Redding is the only player on Detroit's roster with more
than one sack.
CB Dre Bly continued to struggle against the 49ers, despite his play-making
reputation. Bly's half-hearted shoulder block didn't come close to stopping
Frank Gore on his 61-yard touchdown run, and he has only intercepted one pass
LB Ernie Sims has 72 tackles, second among NFL rookies to DeMeco Ryan's 79.
He's fourth among all NFC players and 12th in the NFL.
K Jason Hanson passed Steve Christie for 13th place on the NFL's career
scoring list Sunday, and needs 19 points to reach 1,500.