Bob Wojnowski, John Niyo and Justin Rogers talk about what went wrong against the Panthers and what has to go right against the Saints on Sunday. Detroit News
Allen Park — The Lions coaches aren’t giving up on tight end Eric Ebron.
And neither are his teammates.
Following Ebron’s rough outing in last weekend’s loss against the Carolina Panthers, quarterback Matthew Stafford had a talk with the four-year pro in an attempt to help him mentally refocus and get back on track.
“I’ll keep that between Eric and I,” Stafford said Wednesday of his discussion with Ebron. “But he’s a guy that’s really talented that can help us, and he’s got to continue to work hard and continue to try to improve just like everybody.”
Ebron has scuffled out the gate this season, averaging a career-low 18.6 yards per game and posting a career-worst 52.2 catch percentage (12-for-23) through five weeks. It’s been one of the least productive five-game stretches of his career, lowlighted by three outings with fewer than three receptions and 10 yards receiving.
Receiver Golden Tate said he can relate when he sees a guy like Ebron going through a difficult time and questioning whether he’s being put in the best position to succeed. Last season, Tate was mired in his own early season slump when his role in the offense wasn’t playing out as he had envisioned.
Tate said he learned from his own struggles that the best approach is to control what you can control, execute every assignment and be ready to step up and make a play when your number is called. So as someone who has been there before, Tate relayed that advice to Ebron to help put matters into perspective.
“I think the best thing to do is just know that when you ball out, social media will be there to praise you. Next week if you don’t ball out, they’ll be right there to tear you down,” Tate said. “A player like him, just want to remind him that, hey, you’re a heck of a player. You’re here for a reason. We need you in order to go where we want to go. All we want you to do is keep working hard, be mentally strong, understand your assignment and just keep growing.”
While Ebron has caught flak from Lions fans for his dropped passes, Tate said he and the rest of the players understand mistakes are a part of the game and bashing one another won’t solve anything. Rather, his job is to keep building his teammates up.
“It’s going to come around,” Tate said. “He’s shown time in and time out in practice that he deserves to be here. We just keep supporting him, keep working together and coming up real soon I believe Eric Ebron is going to have a career-type game. He wants this bad and we know that.
“The problem would be really, any player is messing up consistently but not out here working, not trying to get better, and you don’t see that. He wants this bad. He knows how good he is and sometimes you need to be reminded that.”
Lions coach Jim Caldwell said this week he still has confidence in Ebron and the team will make certain he understands where he can improve moving forward.
“I just think everybody will point to one game, or one play, or whatever it might be,” Caldwell said. “There’s a lot of folks that have a bad game or a bad stretch and he’s got talent. He works at it and it’s our job to get it out of him.”