The Lions plunged from 10-6 to 4-12 in one season, but the powers-that-be see the glass as 25-percent full.
“We still have a lot of confidence in our young players — Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson with a record year — guys who can form the nucleus of a perennial championship contender,” CEO Tom Lewand told WWJ-TV on Sunday, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “Obviously, we’re disappointed. We got off the rails a little bit, and it’s our challenge to get back on the rails and make sure that our fans know that we’re doing the right things and that we’re invested in the outcome on Sundays in 2013.”
The problem isn’t as much the nucleus as it is the rest of the roster, especially with 23 unrestricted free agents and not nearly enough cap room to keep them. Even with the spending space to do whatever they would want to do, the Lions have shown a tendency to take chances on too many talented-but-troubled players.
Still, more than a week after the season ended, it sounds like none of the key members of the football operation will be getting axed, including coach Jim Schwartz and G.M. Martin Mayhew.
“I think the responsibility of ownership is to give the team the resources it needs and provide the leadership, and the Fords do that as well as anybody,” Lewand said. “We’ve, obviously, had our challenges along the way or over different eras, but I have a lot of confidence in the team that we have right now, with our head coach, our general manager and, most importantly, that nucleus of players to get us going in that right direction and make good on the investment and the direction the Fords want us to go.”
The direction the Fords want them to go is the primary gear into which the cars they manufacture routinely are placed. The problem is that, for much of the past decade, the franchise has been stuck in reverse.