Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Kitna Resolute Under Heat

by Goeff Hobson, from the official site of the Cincinati Bengals
Bengals quarterback Jon Kitna may be the lightning rod for the Bengals’ 33-17 loss Sunday to the Bills. But with Carson Palmer still questionable for this Sunday, Kitna remains resolute about his play as he prepares for a possible start against the Giants even as he told about taking heat from his coaches.

“You don’t go back second-guessing what you’re doing,” said Kitna after being involved in three turnovers that produced 13 Buffalo points. “You tweak things that you did wrong, but you have to have some perseverance. I’ve been through it all. This is nothing new for me.

“I don’t think not playing all year bothered me at all yesterday,” Kitna said. “The three turnovers I was involved in, even after watching film I don’t know if I would have done anything differently.”

Kitna said he took some heat from coaches when they challenged him on the screen pass to running back Rudi Johnson that turned into Buffalo linebacker Takeo Spikes’ 62-yard interception return for a touchdown that gave the Bills a 21-7 lead early in the second quarter.

While many observers thought the throw ill-advised because he threw it across the field as he was pressured, Kitna doesn’t think he took any unnecessary chances during a day he compiled a lowly 47.8 passer rating on 16-for-32 passing that included 151 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Kitna has argued that Spikes fouled Johnson by pushing him to the ground before the ball got there.

“My coaches are giving me a little bit of heat for that screen play,” Kitna said. “But I looked at it. When I threw the ball, my guy was standing up and we had a guy ready to block the guy who intercepted it. I guess I take a sack next time. I guess I take a sack. Because I don’t know what else you can do.”

But after hearing talk that he didn’t know the snap count, the one thing Kitna is going to change if he plays Sunday is the cadence. Kitna doesn’t think it was a problem in his fumbled exchange, for which center Jerry Fontenot took responsibility. But he thinks the cadence was an issue in false starts called on Johnson, left guard Eric Steinbach, and right tackle Willie Anderson.

“I’m not going to mess with the cadence. We’ll go on one every time so there’ll be no confusion up front on what’s going on,” Kitna said. “I’ll take responsibility for that. There was confusion where (people said) even I didn’t know the snap count, so we’ll just make it on one every time and go from there ... I’m referring to the false starts, or guys still in their stance when the ball is snapped. Those are things you can’t have. You try to work with the cadence - go on a quick count, go on a hard three - try to do those things to help and if it’s not working, go on one the whole time. Guys, I guess, weren’t used to me.”

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