Bill Ford's optimism for 2013 centered around quarterback Matthew Stafford

Posted Jun 4, 2013

Detroit Lions vice chairman Bill Ford expresses his excitement looking toward the 2013 season

How far the Lions go in 2013 will inevitably fall on the right arm of quarterback Matthew Stafford.

We can sit back and debate for hours where Stafford ranks among the league's signal callers or among the top 100 players in the NFL, but there's little debate as to his importance to the success of the 2013 Detroit Lions.

Stafford is now a veteran player entering his fifth season, and he is one of the reasons Lions vice chairman Bill Ford is optimistic about the upcoming season.

"I think we've got a quarterback and there are teams in the league who can't say that," Ford told reporters after Tuesday's open OTA practice.

"Obviously, we have a lot of talent around this quarterback as well, so, those are reasons (to be optimistic about 2013)."

Stafford has thrown for more than 10,000 yards over the last two seasons combined, but will need his touchdown passes to creep closer to the 41 he threw in 2011 (rather than the 20 last season) for the Lions to regain their playoff form from 2011.

Ford said he likes the pieces general manager Martin Mayhew and Co. have surrounded Stafford with, and views this Lions squad as a much deeper team than in previous seasons.

"We have a lot more depth than we've had going into prior seasons and I think the chemistry seems very good," Ford said. "The challenege is to integrate them, but that's what the coaches are here for, and I've got great confidence in them."

More than anything, Ford seems excited to have turned the page on a disappointing 4-12 season last year and is looking forward to the clean slate 2013 provides.

"You have to go into every season expecting you have a chance to win and we do," he said. "But I very much like the talent and the coaching staff that we have together."

Bill Ford also touched on a few other topics, including:

His confidence in head coach Jim Schwartz:

"I think Jim has a really good staff that he's put together this year. I think Jim will be the first to admit that there have been times he's learned on the job, but I think he's a very, very good coach."

The addition of Reggie Bush:

"I think you see what kind of person he is and I think that really excited us; what a professional he is and how he prepares for each practice. The reports on him around the league were that he was a true professional and he's proving that here."

On the direction of this team moving forward:

"I think Martin has done a terrific job building a very professional front office and I do like the direction. I think the addition of Brian Xanders has been an important one for us and I like the new coaches we have as well."