The Lions just signed one of last year’s Super Bowl champions at wide receiver, Golden Tate. When Tate traded in his Notre Dame gold dome for a Seahawks helmet after the 2009 college season, no one knew for certain how his NFL career would pan out.
Most agreed that he is undersized — 5’10, a hair over 200 pounds — and a little slow, but there were many people that believed he had potential. Those that said he would be productive in the NFL can now rest on their laurels and say I told you so!
Tate has had kind of a tweener career, ‘tween mediocre and good. It must be admitted though, he has made large strides every year. He’s not elite, but he’s no scrub.
Now though, after being traded to Detroit, he’s going to be playing on the opposite hash from Megatron.
So how will it fare?
5 Reasons the Lions Signing Tate is a Great Decision for Both Parties
1) Tate Has Been Productive
Golden Tate, it can’t be denied, was productive in Seattle, especially under Pete Carroll. He was one of the primary reasons that young QB Russell Wilson is considered one of the leagues rising stars. He had almost 700 yards in 2012 and almost 900 last season. That was good enough to lead a run-happy team in receptions.
2) The Lions Pass the Ball… Alot
Last year, the Seattle Seahawks passed the ball just over 400 times, 1/4 of those targeting Tate. The Lions passed the ball 634 times, 1/4 of those targeting Megatron. That means Detroit throws the ball 37% more often than the Seahawks, but they don’t target their superstar anymore than Seattle targeted Tate.
If Tate only catches 25% of those 234 additional passes and catches the same number he did last year, that means he will have over 100 receptions and at a 14 yards per catch average, he will have over 1,000 yards receiving.
3) He Will Be a Number Two Receiver
Ordinarily, that might be a shot to a receiver’s confidence, but he’s going to be number two on the team that has far and away the best receiver in the league. Not only will it not be a shot at his confidence, it will probably improve his productivity.
Tate is no longer going to be the receiver opposing defenses focus on. That means less double-teams, less attention from opposing team’s best defensive corner and more space to work with to get open.
4) Backers Can’t Help Defend Against Tate
One of the solutions for stopping a megastar like Megatron is to double-team him and put back-side help on the number two receiver with a linebacker. Defenses can’t do that against Detroit though because of Reggie Bush.
Last year Seattle threw the ball to Marshawn Lynch 44 times. Detroit targeted Bush almost twice as many times. That means there is no help in the middle for safeties that over-compensate for Megatron when Tate drags.
5) Matthew Stafford is a Better Passing QB than Wilson
Forget the gonna-be and hasn’t-’cause arguments, look at the stats. Stafford had over 120 more pass completions last year than Wilson. That comes out to almost 100 more yards of passing a game, but Megatron only averages three more yards per reception than Tate and 1.5 more receptions per game. In other words, Tate inflated Wilson’s numbers. Stafford will inflate Tate’s.