Colts Will Continue To Tinker With Eric Ebron's Role

Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich acknowledged he wanted to get the ball to Eric Ebron a couple more times in Sunday’s win over the Washington Redskins, but is overall satisfied with the way the team is using its big-play tight end.

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Indianapolis Colts tight end Eric Ebron, center, catches a pass for a touchdown in front of Washington Redskins defensive back Montae Nicholson (35) and linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons (40) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

INDIANAPOLIS — Win or lose, playcallers typically use the day after a game to evaluate what their gameplan was heading into the matchup, take into account the adjustments they made and add then up how it all ended up working out.

When Frank Reich looks back at Sunday's victory over the Washington Redskins, there was plenty to like on the offensive side of the ball — particularly how the unit started and finished the game.

Those efforts, matched with a terrific all-around performance by the defense, led to a 21-9 road win — the Colts' first victory of the season.

But that doesn't mean there weren't certain aspects of Sunday's game that Reich, with hindsight, wouldn't have changed. And one of those was the general use of tight end Eric Ebron.

Not that this turned out to be a major issue; Ebron did have three catches for 26 yards and hauled in his second touchdown reception of the season on the Colts' opening drive of the game. But considering the fact the team's top tight end, Jack Doyle, participated in 59 of the team's 61 offensive snaps, while Ebron played just 17 snaps in all, Reich said a few more two-tight end sets might've really helped at times when the offense struggled to move the ball on Sunday.

"At the end of the day, I'd probably like to get him the ball a couple more times than we did," Reich told host Matt Taylor Monday night in his weekly appearance on 1070 The Fan's "Colts Roundtable Live."

Overall, though, Reich likes what Ebron has brought to the table the first two games of the season. He has seven catches for 77 yards and is tied with T.Y. Hilton for the team lead with two touchdown receptions.

Even if the Colts didn't really tinker with Ebron's role moving forward, his averages through two games would lead to a very solid season over the course of 16 games: 56 receptions for 616 yards and 16 touchdowns.

It's also tough to compare Doyle's role to Ebron's, considering how they are oftentimes utilized in different ways.

While Doyle remains a major target in the passing game — remember, he had 80 receptions last season and was named to his first-career Pro Bowl — he is also the Colts' top blocker at the tight end position, which was extremely evident throughout Sunday's win over the Redskins.

"Jack is our starting tight end," Reich said. "Jack is a great all-around player. He's a very good blocker, and for us to have the balance that we want to have, Jack is our best blocking tight end. That's why he's in there a good bit."

In the end, there's only one football to go around, and quarterback Andrew Luck has been effective in getting the ball in the hands of multiple receivers to this point, targeting nine players with passes both in the Week 1 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals as well as Sunday's victory over the Redskins.

Ebron will continue to be a big part of the Colts' offense, whether or not he's a prominent figure in each week's boxscore, Reich said.

"You see we spread the ball around," Reich told reporters last week. "There will be games where he'll have eight or nine catches and then he'll have a couple weeks where he'll have two or three. It's just normally the way it rolls."

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