Below is a look at what Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew had to say on Day 5 of training camp. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)
Opening statement: "Let me say something first. Just really excited about this season, excited about this football team. I think we've got real positive energy in the locker room, guys showed up in great shape, they're working really hard and it's going to be an exciting season for us."
On the 2012 season: "I think I'm going to let last season be last season, and this season be this season. We move forward. I'm excited about where we are right now. Obviously we learned a lot from last year, and we're going to take those lessons into this season and have a more successful season."
On the most important lesson learned from last season: "Again, last season's going to be last season and I'm interested in talking about this season."
On the Lions' talented secondary: "I think the guys that we drafted last year have gotten off to a good start. Obviously (Darius) Slay's gotten off to a really good start too, and then Ron Bartell and Chris Houston give us good veteran presence at the cornerback position. Glover Quin's been a great signing for us thus far. He's just great in the locker room, really smart player. He's going to be a productive player for us this year. I really think some of the vets that we signed, speaking of Glover, just what they bring to the table in terms of their football character, their work ethic. I watch the running back position and I see Montell (Owens) and Reggie Bush doing extra every day after practice. Glover's been great for us. Jason Jones has been a great pickup for us. Izzy Idonije's a great locker room guy. Those veterans have really made an impact already on our football team."
On the urgency to win: "It's the National Football League. The urgency's there every single year. I think you talk about hot seats, there are 32 hot seats on every GM, every head coach. There's an expectation in this league of perfection and people are imperfect. There's a high expectation, a high urgency level every single season."
On expectations to make the playoffs: "Again, I have no predictions on playoffs. I have no predictions on number of wins. I'm going to be focused on us really getting better every single day, every day of training camp, just getting a little bit better, trying to get better talent. We're still looking at players that are out there. We're still trying to acquire some players. We want to just keep constantly improving, and I think all that'll take care of itself."
On the Lions' current talent level compared to past years: "I like our group, I like our talent level. I think it's probably, I'd say it's safe to say, the biggest, most athletic, fastest team that we've had. Obviously, there are some places where we were more experienced last year than we are right now. We had more continuity and experience on the offensive line last year. Secondary-wise, we got a lot of new faces, so there's a lot of learning how to play together that the guys in the secondary have to do, but I like our talent level."
On if there are any specific positions that still need to be shored up: "As usual, we're not going to talk about specifically what our needs are and the directions that we might be headed. We'll just keep trying to get better."
On if management did a better job this season adding high-character players compared to last year: "It's all relative. I think if you go back and look at our 2009 offseason, obviously some great football-character guys added to our football in that season. Going back to last year's draft, some exceptional football-character, great off-the-field guys, and solid workers. It's all relative. We try to do a great job every single year. Does that answer your question?"
On how much emphasis was placed on creating a better locker room environment: "It certainly was. Like I said, you talk about bringing in guys like Montell Owens, guys like Reggie Bush, Jason Jones, Glover Quin. There was certainly an emphasis on brining in the right kind of veterans into this football team, and we always had that emphasis on drafting the right kind of guys."
On if last season's distractions and misbehaviors carry over to the playing field: "Again, this year's going to be this year, and last year's going to be last year. I'm excited about where we are right now, and we got the right kind of football team right now."
On the criteria that head coach Jim Schwartz will be evaluated on after the current season: "Again, we're focused on getting better every single day right now, and we'll talk about postseason, after season, and all that at the appropriate time. Right now we're trying to win football games and we're getting better out here. Like I said, guys showed up in great shape, guys working really hard. It's going to be a great practice today, in full pads, looking forward to seeing it, and we'll just keep trying to get better."
On re-signing S Louis Delmas despite his injury history and slow rehabilitation process: "Anytime we deal with guys with injuries, you guys might be shocked to hear this, but I'm not a doctor. So, generally I talk to our doctors and I see what they say, and I get their prognosis and we make decisions on their prognosis. Louis (Delmas) is coming around, he's doing a little bit more every single day, and I think he's on track to be ready for the season. I talked to Louis about a couple years ago when Jeff (Backus) got injured. Jeff got injured right before the season. And our emphasis on Jeff at that time was getting him ready for the Buccaneers game. And I talked to Louis about making sure everything that he does doing training camp is geared toward being ready for that Minnesota Vikings game. Then once we get to that game, we'll just take it week by week. That's the track that he's on and he's making progress."
On the decision to release RB Jahvid Best and what his future holds: "I don't know what his future holds. It just got to a point where it was a virtual certainty that he was not going to play for us this season. At that point, in terms of where we are, in terms of salary cap and in terms of our roster, we didn't have much of a choice."
On if Best indicated that he still wanted to attempt to play: "I don't know, you'll have to talk to him about that. We had a conversation about it and I think he'd be the right person to talk to."
On DE Ezekiel Ansah's role this season: "It's no different than from after the draft. He can have a really big role for us. He's, as we thought, improving every day. I think he works well. I like the feel we have in our defensive line. I like that group of guys, they're working very hard and they're obviously going to be a very big part of what we accomplish this season. We've got to get back to being disruptive up front. We've got to get back to getting turnovers, and just being more of a playmaking sort of defense, and Ziggy can be a very big part of that. If you go back to 2011, we were +11 in turnovers. Last year, we're -16. The turnovers are big and the front is a big part of being disruptive, and making those things happen."
On if Coach Schwartz's "hot seat" is hotter than other coaches due to the team going 4-12 last year after making the playoffs in 2011: "I think what happens is, the heat on the seat kind of varies from week to week. Some guys whose seats are real cool right now, they're going to be hot come January. So we'll see what happens."
On if he is on a "hot seat" as well: "32 GMs, 32 head coaches, so there's an expectation that we have success here and that's across the board everywhere in the National Football League. I'm certainty going to work as hard as I can to keep my seat cool."
On the Lions' 2013 rookie class: "It's still kind of early on the rookie class this year. I've seen some very positive things from some guys, but this is our second padded practice. It's hard to make a judgment on those guys right now, but I'm excited about what they bring to the table. They're a very hard-working group. From what I understand, they were one of the best groups at the rookie symposium. A real sharp groups of guys, and I'm excited about seeing them work this season."
On if he hopes to add a veteran offensive tackle: "We got some guys here that we've been training that have been working in our system for a long time. We feel very comfortable with the tackles and we're going to play with those guys."
On the competition at kicker with K Håvard Rugland: "He's done an impressive job, but I don't want to get out ahead of ourselves. He's never played in a National Football League game. He hasn't played a preseason game. I'd like to see him do that before we start making a judgment on him."