LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Boca Raton, Fla. — In discussing the Lions roster Tuesday, general manager Bob Quinn said he expects there to be a competition at nearly every position this year except quarterback, where Matthew Stafford will remain the starter.

Quinn’s assessment would surely please owner Martha Firestone Ford, who’s a big fan of her team’s signal-caller.

“Oh, I think he’s the best,” Ford told The Detroit News of Stafford at the NFL annual meetings Tuesday evening.

Ford, 90, stopped to chat for one minute after leaving one of the meetings for owners. As she did at other league meetings the past two years, Ford has been attending several meetings per day thus far at the Boca Raton Resort and Club.

Ford, of course, made sweeping changes with the team over the past few months, first firing president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew in November. The Lions hired Rod Wood as president later in November and Quinn in January, and Ford thinks the team’s new executives are “great.”

The front office changes followed a 1-7 start in 2015, but as Ford looks ahead, she thinks the team could be better in 2016.

“We’ll see, but I’m very optimistic,” she said.

And why’s that?

“Because I think I’ve got good people in the organization,” she said.

For the team to win, Stafford will have to play well, particularly after losing star wide receiver Calvin Johnson. After Johnson officially retired earlier this month, Ford said in a statement that “he was the epitome of dignity, class, humility and excellence” and will forever be a part of the Lions family.

Of course, the team now must move on without Johnson. And asked to expand on her thoughts on Stafford, Ford said he's the best in "every which way.”

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/jkatzenstein

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE