Lewand says Lions have “nucleus of a perennial championship contender”


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.

30 responses to “Lewand says Lions have “nucleus of a perennial championship contender”

  1. From a Packers fan, yes, the Lions have the nucleus (players) of a super bowl contender. Unfortunately, they lack the rest that makes any team a real contender, COACHES.

  2. Me thinks Detroit needs to take a hard look at their O.C. It just seems to me they could be utilizing what they have much better than they do…

  3. Me thinks Detroit needs to take a hard look at their O.C. It just seems to me they could be utilizing what they have much better than they do…

    What school did you go to? “Me thinks” sad

  4. Talk is cheap, actual results are all that counts.

    I don’t what is worse, to get to the Superbowl and lose all the time like the Vikings or never get there like the Lions.

  5. Why do people even engage in this type of banter?

    The NY Giants have said nucleus because they still have players on the roster with ring(s).

    Talk is cheap, as the infamous ‘they’ say…

  6. The Lions do have some parts of a great nucleus.

    What they lack is depth, defense, an offensive line, good defensive ends, a talented secondary, a threat at running back, good coaching, and maturity.

    But other than that, the nucleus is all set!

  7. yeah a pretty good qb and one of the best wideout’s in the league but what about the rest of the team? this team seems to try harder to look tough than stay focused. i mean they look like they are trying to blow games?

  8. The Lions have never had the nucleus of a perennial championship contender. It is the worst organization in football. Perhaps in all of professional sports. In all honesty, I don’t think they even know what it takes to be a perennial championship contender.

    Worse, they’re complacent about it. They’ve had so many losing seasons they don’t even care anymore. They’re tired to trying to figure it out, so they don’t even bother. They just call it good and move on.

  9. Uh…this is the NFL. Every team has the nucleus of a championship. It’s the rest of ’em that you need to play great if you want to win consistently.

  10. Jim Schwartz got his job being a defensive coor. Hes perrenially had one of the worst defenses in the league. Enough said. Keep the GM, can schwartz before its too late and stafford gets injured behind that shotty oline and youre back to rebuilding for 15 years.

  11. I’m a die hard lions fan… Shut up mayhew! You look like an idiot! All you need to say is, “I haven’t drafted like I should, I haven’t built the team up around the core nucleus, and I will do better! These results are unacceptable!” … That’s all we need to hear! But don’t worry other nfl fans, we will never hear that!

  12. thejohnsmith1122 says:
    Jan 7, 2013 9:36 PM
    From a Packers fan, yes, the Lions have the nucleus (players) of a super bowl contender. Unfortunately, they lack the rest that makes any team a real contender, COACHES.
    All snickering aside, Lions’ were rarely out of games—despite coaching. Problem is, there is no indication that ownership will ever figure this out.

  13. My goodness people….dude is right. Don’t be ignorant here. I’m not a Lions fan…hate them in fact….but this team has tremendous talent and all the right pieces to be a GREAT team. They have the QB, the wide receiver, and hard to find pieces on the D line. You give them a few more and they’re gonna be good. Don’t kid yourselves. Problem here is the coaching is seriously the worst in the NFL. Why JS wasn’t fired, I will never know. If this team had a gruden, they’d win 11-12 games right away and be a factor. Poor Lions fans and that ownership.

  14. “So you mean I have to field twenty-two different starters every week? CJ/Stafford/Suh/Fairley can’t play every position?”

    – Lions brass

  15. @Iks311

    This is the NFL. Rarely are teams consistently out of games. The Lions being in a lot of games says very little.

    Having said that, coaching is a huge issue on this team.

  16. They lead the league in probation. And having Schwartz almost guarantees no Super Bowl for Detroit — what a hothead.

  17. And from the top to the bottom, the organization continues to meander in a mediocre haze of self induced delusions. They have a premier WR, a talented but inconsistent and poorly coached QB, a pair of dominant DTs and an ageless place kicker. How does that comprise the makings of a championship caliber team? They squandered the opportunity to improve following the 2011 season with a horrific offseason and draft, they are shackled by salary cap restraints induced by too many years drafting in the top ten, they are not an appealing destination for quality free agents, they are not likely to retain many of their own free agents which constitute nearly 1/2 their roster, they need to rebuild their defensive backfield, linebackers corps, defensive ends and offensive line and find some depth at WR due to injuries and miscalculations in the draft. Oh, and they also need a legitimate threat at RB, a GM who understands how to build a winning roster and a coach who can effectively manage divergent personalities and game time adjustments. Other than that they are well on their way to starting a bona fide dynasty.

    In reality, a place where Lions brass rarely visits, the team is a lot closer to third year expansion team caliber than championship caliber. In a league where quick fixes are the norm, this organization continues to fizzle.

  18. Lions may have the “nucleus of a perennial championship contender” but they have the front office of a perennial loser. Tom Lewand is joke. Smithers to the the old man’s Mr Burns. He needs to go and take Schwartz, KVB, DOM and Peterman with him.

  19. Madden 13 cover was good for CJ’s season so maybe 2013 will be good for the Lions season. Thats all Lions fans can really hope for: mystical football god intervention because its the blind leading the blind in the Lions’ front office.

  20. I love the Lions, but I hate these comments…and I especially hate them coming from someone who has not been apart of a Super Bowl winning program. This past year has been furious and painful to me. The Detroit Lions need to trade Suh. (Pre-draft please.) Cut Titus Young. (I don’t care that you fired your WR coach. Young hurt his teams this year and doesn’t seem to care about it. cut him. period.) You do not have the answer at RB and your Defense is Weak. Stafford threw the ball 727 times for only 20 TDs? (4,967 yards) Ridiculous…
    I need to win. I need to win. I don’t believe in the GM and Head Coach anymore. Schwartz looks like a rookie coach and Mayhew’s draft picks outside the first round are embarrassing. I believe the Lions have some talented young players…please don’t ruin them.
    You don’t get to talk about what it takes to win, until you win. Lions should not be talking right now, they should be in the weight room…even the CEO.

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