The Detroit Lions have made the playoffs twice in three years under head coach Jim Caldwell, but with no postseason wins in those three seasons, many believe 2017 is a make-or-break year for Caldwell. The Lions head coach is presumably entering the final year of his contract—although general manager Bob Quinn would not confirm nor deny whether the Lions were giving him an extension—leaving a real opportunity for Detroit to move on in 2018.
But for as hot of a seat as Caldwell may appear to be on, he has his star tight end firmly in his corner. Eric Ebron joined SiriusXM on Monday afternoon and threw his full support behind his head coach. “That’s definitely our coach,” Ebron told co-hosts Bruce Murray and Kirk Morrison. “Hot seat, whatever, we want to play for him because we want to keep him there forever.”
Specifically, Ebron appreciates the time and effort Caldwell puts into each individual player. “He really takes his time with understanding his players, and he puts so much time and effort into putting us into the best situation as players,” Ebron said.
2017 presents an interesting year for Ebron. Now with an arsenal of supporting tight ends that can take the blocking burden away from Ebron, Caldwell may be able to put Ebron in the best situation he’s been in since joining the league. There has been speculation that Ebron may finally shift to a more slot receiver type of role in 2017, and Ebron may have hinted at exactly that during Monday’s interview:
But Ebron’s respect for Jim Caldwell is nothing new for the veteran head coach. Caldwell has always remained one of the most respected coaches in the league among his peers. Peyton Manning once called Caldwell, “a great coach for me, a great friend for me, a great resource, ally.” When Detroit was off to slow starts in the past two seasons, there were never any signs of losing the locker room nor was there any skepticism over Caldwell’s methods.
However, a lot can change when the winning goes away, and no one knows that better than both Caldwell and Ebron. “He preaches about going out every day and giving it your all, and, pretty much, if you don’t win in this league, you get replaced,” Ebron said of Caldwell.
Caldwell may have the continued support of his players, but if he doesn’t produce in 2017, he could very well be replaced.
Ebron also spoke briefly on Matthew Stafford’s contract situation. As expected, Ebron fully supports giving Stafford a big payday. “I think you have to pay top dollar for a guy like that,” Ebron said. “If you’re in the locker room with him, if you’re on the field with him, he cares nothing more and nothing less but giving it everything he’s got.”