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Detroit Lions OC expects 'big things' from Eric Ebron

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The Detroit Lions made zero free agent splashes this offseason. The plan to improve the offense in coordinator Joe Lombardi's second season lies in part in the improvement of 2014 first-round pick Eric Ebron.

After his disappointing first season, Lombardi said the athletic tight end is working with quarterback Matthew Stafford on chemistry and route running.

"I think that's going to be a big key to our growth is to get more production from Eric, and I think he's ready to do that," Lombardi said Tuesday, per the Detroit Free Press. "I know he's been making some trips to Atlanta to work with Matt already this offseason, so he's -- the thing you like about Eric is he's a bright kid and he works hard and he wants to be good. So we expect very big things from him moving forward."

Ebron caught just 25 passes for 248 yards and a single touchdown in 2014. Lombardi pointed to the difficult transition in making the leap from college to his offensive scheme as the biggest reason for the struggles.

"There's a big learning curve, obviously, for any rookie, and the tight end position is one that requires a lot," Lombardi said. "As you look back, if you're self-critical, you might say maybe we asked a little bit too much of him, from that perspective. So I think there's just a volume that he struggled with early, but he was productive and, again, for anybody, the second year's always where you see the biggest jump."

The Lions have already been bullish in praising Ebron this offseason, which is partially a product of hope and partially having no other choice. With Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate cemented on the outside, Detroit needs Ebron to fill the gap up the seam and in the red zone for their offense to fully function the way Lombardi intends.

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