Lions vice chairman Bill Ford Jr. said he liked the direction of his team, and praised General Manager Martin Mayhew, but didn’t want to get into a discussion about the future of coach Jim Schwartz.
Ford talked to reporters for the first time in a year, and admitted the growing pains that have come under Schwartz, who has one winning season in four years on the job.
“I think Jim would be the first to admit that there have been times where he’s learned on the job,” Ford said, via Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. “But I think he’s a very, very good coach.”
Asked later whether it was crucial for Schwartz to have a good year, Ford replied: “I’m not going to address that at this point.”
Ford also said “I very much like the talent and the coaching staff we have together.”
While I suppose it’s not as bad as having your authority stripped away by the owner, it’s hardly a ringing endorsement for Schwartz, who is 22-42 as a head coach.
Ford was effusive about the work Mayhew has done over the same span, however.
“I think Martin has done a terrific job of building a very professional front office, and I do like the direction,” Ford said. “I think the addition of [senior personnel executive] Brian Xanders has been an important one for us, and I like the new coaches we have as well. . . .
“It’s very early, but I certainly like the talent on the team. I think Martin has done a great job of getting the roster — we have a lot more depth than we did going into prior seasons. I think the chemistry seems very good.”
But if that doesn’t translate on the field, there could be more questions about the future of the guys who put the team together and/or coach it.