I Answer Your Questions About Ebron, Caldwell, And The Vikings Matchup With The Lions In Week 4.
Question 1: Is It Time To Trade Ebron Or Is There A Future For Him In Detroit?
This topic does get thrown around a bit whenever Lions tight end Eric Ebron has a bad game. Usually, I lean more towards being patient with first round picks, especially those who were drafted as athletic projects. However, we are quickly approaching the end of Ebron’s rookie contract in Detroit and he has yet to take the leap to the top tier of tight ends like he was drafted to be.
While I understand the appeal of trying to get picks out of a player you don’t believe will make it, I do not think the time is quite right, if they were to move on from Ebron. Tight ends typically take longer to develop and this season is only three games in. I understand the trepidation with Ebron given his career to this point and how he looked down the stretch against the Atlanta Falcons. This may be something that is looked at closer towards the trade-deadline, but with his athletic upside, familiarity with the system, and young age, it would be pre-mature to move on from him at this point.
Question 2: What Can The Lions Offense Do To Succeed Against The Vikings Strong Defense?
This was a tough question for the Lions to figure out in 2016 and it still could be tough in 2017. But when the Lions succeeded offensively against them last year it was largely due to their ability to make defenders miss in open space.
Now this is no easy task. The Vikings defense is incredibly fast and athletic, while being put into a scheme that compliments these tools. They utilize aggressive blitz schemes that often leave defenders one on one in space. While this allows their defense to really bottle offenses up when they are all taking care of their assignment. However, their issue has been when they miss a tackle or pass break up, they tend to give up big yardage and first downs. The Lions offense is set up to win exploit that weakness with players like Tate, Abdullah, Riddick, and Marvin Jones who all excel at making the first defender miss.
Question 3: Was Extending Caldwell The Right Move?
This one is difficult to answer without knowing how the future will play out. However, with how Caldwell has turned around the culture and expectations of this team for the better, it should be a positive move.
I understand there is reason why some fans may not be overly excited. His second season was rough at 7-9, followed by a 1-3 start last season where the team looked unprepared and undisciplined, while the coaching staff mismanaged game time and failed to adjust their opponents. Lions lost several key games early due to these factors.
But Caldwell has fostered an environment that has helped the Lions go from a middle of the pack team with plenty of off the field issues to an expected playoff contender with a much improved reputation and has two playoff appearences in three years to show for it. The Lions starting 2-1, with their solo loss coming from the reigning NFC Champions, is a good sign that the team and Caldwell are headed for another playoff-caliber season in 2017.