Lions president Tom Lewand spent an hour answering questions during a fan forum for season ticket holders on Tuesday.
Lewand touched on a wide variety of subjects including the current situation with the salary cap, the importance of keeping the team’s core players together and the health of running backs Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure.
Here are a few other points Lewand touched on:
On playing home games overseas:
“I think the expansion of the NFL into international markets is a great thing, but we don’t look to participate as a home team. We have a commitment here to Detroit, the Ford family has a commitment to Detroit, you guys have started to make Ford Field into one of the best home field advantages and we don’t want to give that up, we want to make it even better.
“It’s not easy to do if one of our home games is in London or Mexico City or Toronto or somewhere else. We would like to be right here at 2000 Brush St., right at Ford Field and have you guys there week-in and week-out supporting us and giving us that huge advantage that you gave us this year.
“If we end up playing a road game in one of the international venues, so be it, we’ll embrace that opportunity like we would some other ones that come our way. But we won’t be putting ourselves up as lone of those teams that would take a home game on the road.”
On how important a season 2011 was for the franchise:
“I think that 2011 was very valuable to us because it taught us a lot. We broke some losing streaks, we set some other records and we did some things that were great on an individual basis, but as a team, we learned how to handle winning. We learned how to handle teams coming into Ford Field aiming for us where they may not have been in the past.
“We learned to handle some adversity when that adversity comes with having a target on your back as opposed to having losses on your record. I think that was important because I think guys need to know how to handle pressure when it comes through success as much as they need to learn how to handle adversity when it comes through losing. Those experiences that we had in handling pressure when it came with success will serve us well going forward.”
On preparing for free agency:
“We’re going to look at good players out there. As a matter of fact, our free agent meetings internally will be this week. We’ll have meetings with all of our coaching staff, all of our scouts, obviously with Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz and we’ll go through the offensive and defensive players who are going to be free agents out there.
“(With) the work that Sheldon White and our Pro Personnel Department does throughout the year to keep our boards current, we know how we value all of those guys and how they fit our profiles and whether they fit our profile. Having said that, I don’t foresee us being in a position to go out and make a lot of aggressive, quote-unquote marquee free agent moves. That’s not what we’ve ever been about.”
On any updates he has with negotiations with the Lions’ unrestricted free agents
“Free agency starts two weeks later this year than it has in the past. It’s normally been about March 1 every year, this year it’s a full two weeks later. I think you’ll see some things move a little bit more slowly in February when it comes to signing your own guys.
“I do think that the combine this year in Indianapolis where we normally go down there to scout college players will be one that’s a little bit more focused on free agent signings; and when I say that, I mean guys who are on our own team. I think that’s when you’ll start to see some of those deals get done. I’m optimistic that we can keep a good part of that core together, if not all of it. We’re going to work hard between now and the start of free agency to get that done.”
Tags: Jahvid Best, Jim Schwartz, Martin Mayhew, Mikel Leshoure, Sheldon White, Tom Lewand
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