Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew met with the media for the first time during training camp on Tuesday. We have already covered what he said about Cliff Avril and Jahvid Best, but you can check out full quotes on those two players and what else he had to say below. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)
On the DE Cliff Avril situation: "One of the thing's about Cliff's situation, if there's anything positive to take from it or that was encouraging for me, was he's very optimistic about how he's going to perform this season. He's willing to bet on himself and I respect that about him. He has his reasons for not being here, but I guess what I'm saying is we made a very solid offer to him that we felt was a very good offer. He was willing to bet on himself and bet he's going to outperform what was on the table and I like that."
On potentially making a roster move based on the health of RB Jahvid Best: "I think right now it's very early in the game to start making that kind of call. It's up to the medical professionals to decide when he's going to be available. Eventually he will get cleared. I feel very positive and I feel very comfortable saying that. It's just the question of the timing of it is up to those guys."
On whether he's disappointed about the delay regarding RB Jahvid Best's return: "Yeah, I'm a little bit surprised, little bit disappointed. Everything was trending toward him being ready to go the first day of training camp. It didn't happen that way, so you have to kind of adjust. We have adjusted our expectation on that."
On how he handled team discipline after the offseason problems: "You know what, I think we've done a really thorough job analyzing guys' backgrounds. I think there's some times where we've taken a little bit of risk. But I think we've done a pretty thorough job. We continue to look into guys' backgrounds and try and anticipate what behaviors guys might get involved in, but I think this offseason was different for us. I think there will be a reversion toward the mean. As an organization we have not had a lot of those problems off the field. I think we'll head back toward that as we move forward."
On his expectations for this team to return to the playoffs: "You know, I think every season is different. I think it's important for us to not start focusing on the playoffs right now. I mean, my focus right now is that we have a good practice today and I think a lot of our team feels that way. I know Jim preaches that. The only way to get back to the playoffs is by taking care of the steps along the way to actually get back there. So, a good practice today, good practice tomorrow, good every single day, good preseason game we start with. All those things get you to where you want to get to. That's where my focus is."
On if he thinks the Lions have a better team this year than last year: "I think so. I think we're a better football team for all the reasons we talked about before. The continuity, the maturity of our football team, all those factors come into play. Again, the fact that we had to win some games in December, we haven't been in that situation in a long time. We had to win some and we actually did it so we know what it takes to be successful so I think we are a football team."
On how much continuity on the coaching staff helps the franchise: "It definitely helps. It definitely helps in terms of planning, preparation, expectations, knowing what to expect from each other. Scouts understand our coaches, our coaches understand our scouts. There's great communication in the front office and all that's a positive for us."
On what the strength of the team is: "I always say, in terms of our team's strengths, obviously offensive passing game. We've got two of the best players in the League at their positions in Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. And then our defensive line as well. We've got a great defensive line. Those guys played some good football last year. I know our defense has been criticized but we did some good things on defense last year. Seven TDs, we were third in the League in turnovers, third in the League in third down percentage. We did some good things. We didn't finish the way we need to finish. I think that left a bad taste in some of the players' mouths. I know Gunther (Cunningham) is disappointed in it. I'm also looking forward to us playing consistent football throughout the entire season. We can do it. We've got the players to do it. We've got the coaching staff to do it. I feel very confident in our defense going into the season."
On his response to critics of not improving the defense in the offseason: "I would say to just wait and see how we play. I'm very confident in the guys that we have. Again, we return 10 of 11 starters. I think there's going to be a good competition for the right cornerback spot. I feel good about the guys that we have there now. If we can upgrade that group then we would upgrade the group, but I feel good about the guys that we have there right now."