The Detroit Lions are coming off a 4-12 season in which they lost their final eight games and seemingly have half of their roster to replace, but coach Jim Schwartz isn’t buying that his team is in rebuilding mode.

“I wouldn’t call it rebuilding,” Schwartz said Thursday. “There’s been a lot of other words used for it: reloading, whatever you want to call it. But when you say 'rebuilding,' it sounds like you’re starting from the ground up.”

Unlike 2009, when Schwartz took over an 0-16 team that had few redeeming qualities, the Lions are not completely bereft of talent.

They have four cornerstone players under contract -- quarterback Matthew Stafford, receiver Calvin Johnson and defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley -- the No. 5 overall pick to add to the roster, and they’re a season removed from making the playoffs.

“We’ve got some strengths on our team that we can build around,” Schwartz said. “It’s not so much a rebuild.”

But the Lions do need to add depth this off-season, and they do need to fill considerable voids at running back, receiver and across the defense, where seven starters and several key backups are unrestricted free agents.

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said he’s confident 2012 was an aberration, and the team will be back in playoff contention this year.

“Just in going back and evaluating some of those games and watching those games over, a lot of things happened last year that won’t happen this year,” Mayhew said. “We had a ton of injuries, we had a bunch of situations that happened.