By Ashley Dunkak
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) Watching Detroit Lions’ training activities on a day of blue skies and sunshine, Bill Ford Jr.’s outlook on the team was just as positive.
“If you can’t get excited watching football, you shouldn’t be in this,” said Ford, vice chairman of the Detroit Lions. “I love the game of football, and yeah, it’s very exciting. I love coming out here. At the end of the day, we’re all fans. I think even you guys, probably, when you put down your recorders, you love watching the game and you get excited. I do and I always have, and I think the day that I’m no longer excited and no longer feel like a fan does is the day I should think about something else.”
Even in the context of a losing season for the Lions, Ford expressed confidence in coach Jim Schwartz and the people with who Schwartz has surrounded himself.
“Jim’s got a really good staff that he’s put together this year,” Ford said. “Jim would be the first to admit that there have been times where he’s learned on the job, but I think he’s a very, very good coach.”
Ford said he liked the front office staff that Martin Mayhew built, and he also sounded optimistic about the employees on the field – with good reason. Quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 4,967 yards last season, the second-highest total in the league, and wide receiver Calvin Johnson racked up almost 2,000 yards receiving. That tandem accounted for the large part of Detroit’s offense in 2012.
Now the Lions have another offensive star – former Saints running back Reggie Bush. Ford said Bush is as good as advertised, not just on the field but as far as his demeanor as well.
“You see what kind of person he is, too, and I think that really excites us – what a professional he is, how he prepares for each practice,” Ford said. “The reports on him around the league were that he was a true professional, and he’s proving that here.”
Detroit went 4-12 last season, but eight of those losses came by a touchdown or less. With Stafford and Johnson returning and Bush coming on board, Ford can hardly help but feel good about the team’s chances.
“We’ve got a quarterback, and there are teams in the league that can’t say that,” Ford said. “Obviously we have a lot of talent around this quarterback as well. Those are reasons – and I think defensively we’ve added important pieces – and I feel very good about the direction.”