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Lions get little at tight end with Eric Ebron out

James Hawkins
The Detroit News
Eric Ebron

Allen Park – Before the injuries crept up, tight end Eric Ebron was off to the most productive start of his three-year career.

Through the first four weeks, Ebron had 18 catches for 210 yards and was averaging career highs in yards per reception (11.7), receiving yards per game (52.5) and catch percentage (72 percent).

But with Ebron sidelined the past three games with knee and ankle ailments, production at the tight end position has been non-existent.

The Lions tinkered with the offense and tried to fill the void by having offensive lineman Corey Robinson line up at tight end and signing tight end Clay Harbor. It’s yielded little results, though, as Robinson hasn’t been targeted at all in the passing game while Harbor has accounted for three catches for 19 yards.

“We’re always going to adjust our offense depending on who’s active, and who’s inactive, and who we got up and who we don’t,” offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter said. “We had some newer guys playing some of those spots and we adjusted our offense accordingly, and we’ll keep adjusting.

“Some of those guys as they get more reps in the offense will probably start getting a few more targets, as well. But, Ebron is a guy that’s had some success in this league, and I think he’s going to have more whenever we get him back. We’ll look forward to it.”

Lions receivers aren’t good hands people this year

Ebron, along with running back Theo Riddick, participated in practice for the second consecutive day on Thursday, signaling that the two starters could be available Sunday against the Texans.

While Ebron’s return would be a plus, it could lead to rookie tight end Cole Wick seeing fewer offensive snaps in an already diminished role.

“If we get them back, it’s obviously a boost for us,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “There’s no question about it, in particular the guys we’re talking about who’ve played a significant amount of football for us and are very capable individuals. So that does indeed give you a boost, but doesn’t give you any guarantees.”

jhawkins@detroitnews.com

Twitter @jamesbhawkins