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Schwartz says Lions have reasons to be optimistic

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 26, 2013 at 2:31 am •  Published: July 26, 2013

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Lions, like all NFL teams, are fired up about their chances right now.

Jim Schwartz said there's a difference in Detroit.

"We have tangible reasons to be optimistic," the fifth-year coach said on the eve of his team's first practice Friday.

The Lions are facing more pressure than usual to win because the pieces seem to be in place to have success after last year's once-promising season closed with an eight-game losing streak and a 4-12 record.

Schwartz said he fully expects the Lions to bounce back with Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh leading the way on a team counting on some newcomers and returning players coming off injuries.

"I'm the most confident I've been in four years here as the head coach," said Schwartz, who seems to be entering a win-or-else season with a 22-42 career record. "We're confident in our players, we're confident in our system. I like where this team is, and we're looking forward to having a good training camp."

The Lions made a lot of moves in the offseason, quickly signing running back Reggie Bush to replace Jahvid Best, who was released last week, and safety Glover Quinn to address a glaring need in the secondary.

"A lot of people talk about Reggie Bush, and he's going to be an impact player for us," Schwartz said. "I think the one we're equally excited about, that's flown below the radar, is Glover Quin."

Detroit drafted defensive end Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah at No. 5 overall, took cornerback Darius Slay in the second round and offensive guard Larry Warford in the third to headline a rookie class that is expected to do more than stand and watch from the sideline.

"They weren't drafted to find their way or redshirt or things like that," Schwartz said. "They were drafted with very specific purpose in mind."

Lions veterans reported to team headquarters on Thursday for a physical and a conditioning test. Schwartz expected positive results, including from banged-up players such as safety Louis Delmas, who he doesn't anticipate putting on the physically unable to perform list.

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