General manager Martin Mayhew understands that's just a start.
"I've got a lot of work to do. We won six games," Mayhew said. "I don't care where you come from, six games is six games."
Mayhew met with reporters late Wednesday afternoon to discuss the organization's progress, but aside from saying linebacker Julian Peterson won't be back, he didn't provide much detail about the Lions' offseason plans.
What appears clear is that the Lions no longer need a complete overhaul. Although they didn't contend for the playoffs, they won four consecutive games to finish the season despite constant injury problems at quarterback.
"You certainly see a lot less holes," Mayhew said. "I was very pleased with our finish this year. I thought our coaches did an outstanding job."
The Lions don't anticipate any major changes on coach Jim Schwartz's staff, and Mayhew is looking forward to that continuity. The team withstood injuries to quarterback Matthew Stafford and backup Shaun Hill but was able to triple last season's victory total and put that winless season even further in the past.
All NFL teams are dealing with a decent amount of uncertainty right now because the collective bargaining agreement expires in March, but that doesn't mean the Lions can't plan ahead.
Mayhew did announce that Peterson won't return. The veteran linebacker was deactivated for Sunday's season-ending victory over the Minnesota Vikings despite no apparent injury after starting 14 games this season.
"I met with Julian on Monday," Mayhew said. "I thanked him and told him that we're not going to bring him back, and we shook hands and we parted ways."
The Lions are slated to pick 13th in this year's draft after selecting in the top two for three of the last four years. Detroit has used its high picks to add some much-needed young talent, drafting wide receiver Calvin Johnson second overall in 2007, Stafford with the top pick in 2009 and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh with the second pick last year.
"There will be a great player there at 13," Mayhew said. "We can go a lot of different places with that pick. ... We're not going to reach for a certain position in the first round."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press