Lions: Jim Caldwell Sees Improvement in Eric Ebron


Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron needs to take a big step forward in year two after a disappointing rookie season. Head coach Jim Caldwell noted the improvement at OTAs on Wednesday.

The Detroit Lions were concerned with the long-term, not the short-term, when they made Eric Ebron the tenth overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. Still, Ebron’s rookie season was a disappointment as he never quite seemed to become part of the offense like many expected.

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Ebron took a lot of heat from fans, probably too much, and breaking out the “bust” label was certainly premature. A slow start in 2015 leading to a lackluster sophomore campaign, however, and the heat will really get turned up.

Not surprisingly, Ebron was a hot topic during Jim Caldwell’s media session following the Lions’ OTA practice on Wednesday. Asked specifically about Ebron’s development, Caldwell answered in generalities concerning all young players:

"Yeah, just like a lot of young guys, some days they have great days and some had days that are not so good. They’re just ups and downs until we get that kind of consistency. That’s what they’re working for all across the board. We have a lot of guys that are in his situation, first- and second-year guys that are still developing. Typically, you’ll start to see some progress. You have to see some progress. I think that’s certainly going to be the case for all our young guys."

May 27, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron (85) during OTA at Detroit Lions Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

That’s all well and good, but is progress evident? Caldwell was about what changes he has seen in Ebron’s game so far and this time he was more specific and the details were more positive:

"What I can see right now is the fact that he’s in better shape than he was last year at this time just in terms of his approach. He’s learning. I think they all kind of learn and develop as a pro. He’s learned that aspect of it, now there’s so many other things for him to learn as well and to try and create a level of consistency, which is key."

Ebron worked hard during the offseason to get his body ready for the season and the results are evident to Caldwell:

"Well, he’s in better shape. I mean, obviously, he’s running better. Even though he always could run, but in terms of his endurance. You look at his lean weight, it’s different. His muscle’s gone up in terms of his lean weight, fat weight’s gone down. That’s a real good indicator of it. Those are the things that I’m talking about from a physical standpoint. He’s worked. You can see him even working on his hands and those kinds of things. He’s been constantly working and catching, but consistency is the thing that’s key. So, he’s working on that."

This is a time of year when quotes about players being in the “best shape of their life” abound and it seems like everyone is a breakout-player-to-be. Sometimes that turns out to be the case and other times not. The Lions need it to be the case with Ebron. Early indications are good from Caldwell’s comments but the lingering issues with consistency could be Ebron’s downfall.

Next: Quandre Diggs Making Good Early Impression

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