The Lions nearly pulled off another comeback, but there is reason for concern after the team fell behind three scores after three quarters.
Detroit – It’s probably too early to draw meaningful conclusions about the Detroit Lions’ tight end rotation following the team’s 27-24 loss to the Carolina Panthers, but it was the first time we saw Darren Fells play more snaps than Eric Ebron when the game plan didn’t revolve around running the ball and controlling the clock.
The two worked a nearly even timeshare in the defeat, with Fells drawing 35 snaps and Ebron 34, after the latter struggled, putting two catchable passes on the ground and being met by loud boos from the home crowd.
But look no further than rookie Michael Roberts’ playing time to see that the Lions weren’t prepared to abandon Ebron’s role in the plan. Roberts played a season-low five snaps Sunday.
Obviously, after his recent string of struggles, which has seen Ebron tally fewer than 100 receiving yards through five games, it will merit watching his usage rate going forward.
Here are some additional observations from Sunday’s snap counts.
- Linebacker Nick Bellore had a diverse role, taking three snaps at fullback, seven on defense and a team-high 28 on special teams. He showed promise in his debut at fullback and will likely continue to see work there.
- With little success on the ground, and trailing big in the second half, it was receiving threat Theo Riddick who controlled the backfield rotation, out-snapping Ameer Abdullah, 30-22.
- A week after having his role limited as he worked his way back from a shoulder injury, safety Tavon Wilson was full-go against the Panthers, working all 66 reps on defense. Rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis also played every snap in his return from injury.
- The right cornerback rotation continues to change by the week. In this game, Nevin Lawson saw the lion's share of the work, playing nearly double the snaps as D.J. Hayden.
- With Haloti Ngata exiting during the first half with an elbow injury, A'Shawn Robinson was called upon to shoulder a bigger load. The second-year defensive tackle's 46 snaps were the most he's played in a game.