Bill Ford Jr. mum on Jim Schwartz's future with Lions

  • By Kevin Patra
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Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz is entering the first year of his three-year contract extension on a seat growing increasingly warm.

On Tuesday, Lions vice chairman Bill Ford Jr., speaking to the media for the first time in nearly two years, said he is optimistic about the future -- but didn't exactly quiet questions about his coach.

"I think Jim would be the first to admit that there have been times where he's learned on the job," Ford said, via the Detroit Free Press. "But I think he's a very, very good coach."

Ford swerved to avoid questions about whether it was a make-or-break season for Schwartz.

"I'm not going to address that at this point," he said.

The assumption emanating from Detroit has been that both Schwartz and general manager Martin Mayhew were on the hot seat for the Lions' 4-12 record in 2012. The fear is that last season will prove to be more indicative of the team than the 10-6 record in 2011.

Ford, however, gave a more glowing estimation of how Mayhew has performed.

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"It's very early, but I certainly like the talent on the team," Ford said. "I think Martin has done a great job of getting the roster -- we have a lot more depth than we did going into prior seasons. I think the chemistry seems very good."

Piecing together Ford's words: A very good coach has been given very good talent, but we won't address the future.

Someone please make sure the Bunsen burner under Schwartz's seat has enough fuel.

Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.