Frank Reich and the Indianapolis Colts have high hopes for Eric Ebron. Lions fans can tell you they’re probably going to end up really disappointed.
Much of the Indianapolis Colts’ preseason has been understandably dominated by discussions over Andrew Luck’s health. Frank Reich is doing his best to change that. Instead, he wants to talk about what a good weapon Eric Ebron can be for Luck upon his return.
The Colts coach even went so far as to refer to Ebron as an “elite tight end.” That’s news to his former team. The Lions were reasonably happy to see Ebron leave via free agency after a frustrating four seasons in Motown.
The Colts shouldn’t get too caught up in Ebron’s ability to dramatically change their offense. He’s a tantalizing talent, but there’s a reason the Lions let him get away. For whatever reason, his production on the field never seems to match his talent level.
A big part of Ebron’s struggles are a result of his drops. He managed to catch 53 passes in 2017, but his production was significantly hampered by dropping eight balls as well. Ebron’s inability to secure tough catches in traffic make it hard to rely on him as a consistent weapon.
Assuming Luck returns to full health, he’s going to need sure-handed receivers. The Colts offense will be designed to get the ball out of his hands as quickly as possible. Minimizing hits on Luck will be a huge priority for Reich and the coaching staff.
In theory, a player with Ebron’s size and speed should fit right in. The reality of Ebron just doesn’t measure up to his theoretical potential though. He can make some great plays for the Colts, but he’s also going to drop crucial passes. That’s the harsh reality ahead of Colts fans.
As the season progresses, look for the Colts to fall out of love with Ebron and his inconsistent play. That will open the door for steady Jack Doyle to have another excellent season in Indianapolis. He isn’t nearly the athlete that Ebron is, but he’s a much more consistent pass-catcher. That’s what Luck will need to enjoy a productive 2018 campaign.