PHOENIX – Rod Wood has been team president of the Detroit Lions for 18 months now, and over that span has gained a good handle on how to steer the franchise into the future.
Wood sat down with reporters at the league meetings Tuesday, and spoke on a wide range of topics in a more than 20-minute interview.
Here's a few of the Key Questions:
How has the franchise grown over the last year under Wood's leadership?
"It's been a good year and a half," Wood said. "We've made a lot of progress, I think. Starting with the changes we made on the football side. Hiring Bob Quinn was a great addition to the organization and the team that he's building underneath him. The early results from last year's draft and free agency and making the playoffs."
Wood reiterated that it was a "good" season and not a "great" one because it ended with a loss to Seattle in the first round of the playoffs.
On the business side, the team is spending $100 million this offseason on improvements to Ford Field and is also replacing the outdoor practice field in Allen Park with new surfaces.
"It's really a player safety issue," Wood said of the fields at Allen Park. "They are the original grass fields (from) when the practice facility opened. They started to have the divots that would come out and we couldn't replant."
The grass was grown in Colorado and will be shipped in time for the start of training camp, just as soon as the fields are ready for it.
The team has also rebranded their logo and will unveil new uniforms on April 13.
Did the Lions make any scheduling requests to the league this week?
If you remember back a year ago, Wood was instrumental in securing a home game Week 17 against the Packers, after reminding the league at these meetings a year ago that the Lions had been on the road to end the season the previous three years.
In a similar fashion this year, Wood has requested that the league consider giving the Lions more home games in the first quarter of the season.
The Lions have played three of their first four games on the road the last two seasons.
"I'm sympathetic. It's a very complicated process to do the full league schedule," Wood said. "But we've had the last six seasons the majority of our first four games on the road.
"I think only once in the last six seasons have we had an equal number of home games to road games. We're generally one at home and three on the road. That puts you a little behind the curve in terms of your scheduling, if you get off to a rough start in the hole like we were last year."
The Lions were able to fight their way out of that early hole last season, but Wood would rather at least have an opportunity to have two of the team's first four games in 2017 to be at home.
Have the Lions increased their football operations budget?
One interesting tidbit on this front is Wood acknowledged that Quinn and his staff have access to more funds in the pre-draft process to go to pro days and do whatever they need to find good players in the draft.
"We've invested in the whole process of player acquisition, both in terms of the people we've hired and the process Bob's team goes through in evaluating players both in pro days and Combine and any other way they need to get to know the players," Wood said.
"I have a commitment to invest enough so they're prepared to do the best they can at the draft. Whatever it costs to do that is well worth it if we land a player that's going to be impactful on the field."
In fact, Quinn is flying back from the league meetings on Wednesday to catch Tennessee's pro day.
Will the Lions continue their plans to bid on the Super Bowl and NFL Draft?
Wood informed the NFL this week that he plans to bid in the next round of Super Bowls in the fall, and also wants to bring the NFL Draft to Detroit and to the Fox Theatre.
How will the Lions keep the next generation of fans interested in the product?
"I heard an interesting statistic this morning that a goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds," Wood said. "Generation X has an attention span of eight seconds. So, a goldfish would win a stare down, I guess."
Wood joked, but the Lions' contingent at the league meetings have been thinking about ways, and listening to presentations, on how they can maintain a connection with the younger generation of fans who want to be on their smart phone during a game.
It's part of the reason the Lions have spent considerable resources this season increasing their WiFi capabilities at Ford Field.
"Those are things we have to be thinking about," Wood said. "While still maintaining what our fans today want. It's a tough challenge, but exciting."