Stafford is the one constant moving forward for Lions

Posted by ttwentyman on February 14, 2012 – 6:02 pm

In an interview with last month, Lions vice chairman Bill Ford admitted the team was facing some tough decisions this offseason regarding the salary cap and some key free agents, but added that consistently good teams have to make those decisions every offseason.

“You look at the best teams in the league and they don’t get sentimental,” he said. “The one thing about the New England Patriots is they reload on the run. If they feel like somebody they considered untouchable even a year ago no longer untouchable, they’ll make that decision and go. That’s what the salary cap forces upon you.”

Lions president Tom Lewand referenced that quote in a fan forum with season ticket holders Tuesday, but wanted to add to it.

“Bill Ford did an interview a couple of weeks ago on our website and I thought he had great insight about the New England Patriots being able to build on the fly,” Lewand said. “That they’ve had to make changes on the fly as they’ve sustained a level of competitiveness in this league, but a lot of that has to do with having Tom Brady as a quarterback for so long.

“When you’ve had Tom Brady there and you can build around him, you’ve got guys on defense that they’ve been able to do the same thing with, that makes changing on the fly easy because nobody has 22 solid starter spots in the NFL, plus now rotational players. Nobody has that.

“You’ve got to have that core of players; you’ve got to be able to change around them and make the tough decisions when good players leave you in the salary cap era that you’re confident that that nucleus will get it done and the guys that can fill in around them will fill those support roles.”

Quarterback Matthew Stafford is the primary piece of the puzzle for the Lions; the starting point when Ford and Lewand talk about core pieces to build around.

Like Lewand said in the fan forum, players will come and go in the salary cap era and tough decisions have to be made all the time. The Lions are facing a tough decision this offseason with the pending free agency of defensive end Cliff Avril. The Lions have to decide how much they value Avril monetarily, whether they can afford to franchise him if a long-term deal doesn’t get done, or whether they can live without him.

The Patriots made a tough decision in 2009 when they parted ways with Pro Bowl defensive lineman Richard Seymour, who was entering the final year of his contract, by trading him to the Raiders. They endured, reloaded and had Tom Brady to guide them through the transition.

The same goes for the Lions and Stafford and any tough decisions they might ultimately make.

“The focus when we’re winning will be on that core of players on both sides of the ball: Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew, Ndamukong Suh, Louis Delmas, those guys that we drafted who are our guys who provide that nucleus that we can then build around,” Lewand said. “Look at any competitive team in the NFL and they have that nucleus of guys.”

All of the players Lewand mentioned above are under contract next season.

“As a our quarterback continues to get better, he naturally becomes the leader in that locker room, and guys will naturally look to him to set the tone and I have every confidence that Matthew is going to set right tone for us going forward,” Lewand said.

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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 7 Comments »

7 Responses to “Stafford is the one constant moving forward for Lions”

  1. By Richard Heyman on Feb 14, 2012 | Reply

    The one thing Tom forgot to mention is that Matt needs someone to throw the ball to, so I consider CJ a second part of that key player component. True Matt and any great QB is #1, but CJ is clearly #2. That’s why we need to play our rookies, and see what we can get out of them, and not be dependent on Free Agents to try to “BUY” (like the Yankees) Championships. Also, the Patriots have been to 5 Superbowls and won three with Brady, so we have a long way to go before comparing the Lions to them. I’d like to see more play from Willie Young, and Sammie Hill, and Bobby Carpenter etc..

  2. By Michael Schmitz on Feb 14, 2012 | Reply

    I like every move that management has made since Mayhew and company came aboard. And I trust any and every decision they make moving forward. I am looking forward to a super bowl run next year and am pretty confident we will make a splash in the playoffs. The salary cap is the only thing that worries me, I don’t like the idea of borrowing money from future years, and hopefully we can get some contracts restructured.

  3. By gibbyfan23 on Feb 15, 2012 | Reply

    Look for the Captain’s of this team,Stafford,Johnson,VandenBoesch,Suh, to do what it takes to keep this team heading in the right direction,Stafford & Van den Boesch resturctured there contracts to help last year, i am assuming they will again, if needed, your talking about Very Educated young men that know what it takes to be a SUPERBOWL contender, from a ATHLETIC & BUSINESS sense, Tulloch is more of a valueable piece than Avril, not that Avril is not important, he is, but we have back-ups, if he wants the availiblity to play for a winner,such as DETROIT, or possible go to a franchise and be a biulding block for another team, we need DB’S & RB’S,Avril is a needed LUXURY,We have Willie Young,Nick Fairley & others,Trade him and stock pile picks,trade our 1st rd. and stock pile picks,Now is the time for Detroit to be SMART, with there team and Lewand,Schwartz & CO. will do just that,Detroit, will be a terror for years to come, if they don’t imploed.

  4. By gibbyfan23 on Feb 15, 2012 | Reply

    We have another Luxuary in Schwartz, that he attracts great players who want to play for him, that Finnigen kid is a great db, look for him to be in our back field, and a few others, they see as well as VandenBoesch did, Detroit is on the rise,with the GREAT possibility of a SUPERBOWL in the REAL NEAR FUTURE, So that attracts priemer players who are wanting that ring,the only time Detroit will have to worry is AFTER they win a SUPERBOWL, with team dismantling, but at this point Detroit has only to go up in the football world, they have they’re franchise QB,WR and D-lineman, they need a Franchise RB,linebacker and DB, which i think they will get this year, thats why they need to keep Tulloch, he is that L-backer, that will leave us a RB & DB, Delmus is a great piece to the puzzle,but not the primer DB, with a SHUTDOWN corner, Delmus will be a MONSTER, as well as a primer RB, LaShoure will be a monster that we need as a short game killer, Isiah Pead or LaMichael James, will be that RB, which can be had in the middle RDS.a true shutdown corner and O-LINE help are the nessisities that are need this year, DOM & Backus are our ROCKS and still have a couple years left each, let DOM & BACKUS, teach the KIDS, we are in pretty good shape,compared to stats.WE are the NEW….Patroits, lets use some of there formula’s for success, start building draft picks.

  5. By Corey on Feb 15, 2012 | Reply

    I’m sorry Richard but I would have to say that Matt throws like Calvin is the #1…. Matt needs to learn not to throw to him in triple coverage….

  6. By wendymaddy on Feb 20, 2012 | Reply

    looks like more posturing to bring Cliff Avril’s price down. The bottom line in decisionmaking is this: would you rather have him playing with you or against you next year?

  7. By Detroit Lions #1 on May 30, 2012 | Reply

    this kid is going to be a Detroit Legend.

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