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Sunday, August 10, 2014
Ebron, Van Noy see a lot of time in debuts

By Michael Rothstein

DETROIT -- He may not have practiced for part of last week, but tight end Eric Ebron always figured he would be on the field Saturday night for his debut with the Detroit Lions.

The No. 10 pick in May’s NFL draft needs it, too. He’s playing all over the place during training camp -- lining up in the slot, out wide, next to the offensive line and even in the backfield from time to time. So there is a lot to digest for Ebron, who had issues with all of this early on.

He even joked Saturday that at this point, he may line up at quarterback one play.

Playing in a game is much different than in practice, though, so how did he think it went after his first NFL game?

Ebron said “it went great for the first time” and that he felt comfortable on the field. That’s key considering he mentioned during spring workouts and the first week of training camp how his head was still trying to take in everything.

Ebron has looked better during the second week of camp and has started to pick things up more. So nothing really surprised him, and the speed -- typically an issue for rookies -- didn’t bother him at all.

“It was everything you look forward to,” Ebron said. “It’s the NFL. Ain’t nothing else to look forward to but that.”

Ebron’s production was probably not what he would have liked -- one catch for two yards on four targets -- but he didn’t drop a pass and blocked when called upon as he played with both the first- and second-team offenses against the Browns.

Of the Lions’ rookies, Ebron's debut was the most anticipated and also among the shortest, as he played 26 offensive snaps.

His defensive counterpart in anticipation, second-round pick Kyle Van Noy, played 20 snaps and mostly with the second unit. That might have been more challenging, though, as the linebacker spent a lot of his time chasing around the mobile Johnny Manziel.

It appeared he had Manziel wrapped in the backfield on one play, but the rookie quarterback eluded his dive and ran for positive yards. On another play, it appeared Van Noy forced a fumble but it was ruled he did not. He ended up with no tackles but a pass defended.

“I just tried to make a play on the ball,” Van Noy said. “I read the back coming out and tried to make a play. Coach (Teryl Austin) called a great call right there for me.”

Those types of plays are what intrigued and eventually sold the Lions on Van Noy, who they traded up for in the second round. And it will be those plays that he’ll continue to have to try to make for him to beat out Ashlee Palmer for the SAM linebacker spot.