LIONS INSIDER

Lions, Megatron expecting big things from Golden Tate

Posted Jul 29, 2014

If WR Golden Tate continues to make big plays, opposing defenses will have to lighten up the coverage on Calvin Johnson.

We talk a lot about what Calvin Johnson -- and the attention he receives from defenses -- can do for a player like Golden Tate.

But what about what Tate can do to help Megatron in 2014 and beyond?

Tate is a savvy veteran and a terrific route runner and this is just the offense for those kinds of skills. This is a formation-intensive scheme under offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and it utilizes a lot of movement to get friendly matchups.

Golden TateWR Golden Tate (Photo: Detroit Lions)

Tate has made a bunch of catches and big plays the first two days of camp. If he keeps this up, defenses will find that they can’t continue to cover Johnson the way they have in the past.

“I think you realize that he’s a very important piece to our offense,” head coach Jim Caldwell said of Tate. “He adds a lot just in terms of his ability to catch the ball, run with it, block, he’s a high-energy guy. His leadership is extremely important as well.”

Tate is the best No. 2 receiver the Lions have teamed with Johnson and that’s an important piece to have if the Lions are going to be a better all-around offense.

“Playing away from one of the best receivers in the league and one of the best to ever play the game is going to be fun,” Tate said. “He’s going to open it up for me and I’m going to do my best to hold my part and open it up for him.

“I think we can be dangerous if we just play fundamental-sound football."

Johnson has been begging for another receiver to step up and take advantage of one-on-one matchups the last few years. He thinks he finally might have that missing piece in Tate and tight end Eric Ebron.

"Golden's going to get a lot of one-on-one coverage," Johnson said. "With all the weapons we have, those one-on-ones will go full circle and I might get some more myself.

"When Golden starts doing what he does, they can't double both of us. One of us is going to have the opportunity.

"Those guys (Tate and Ebron) are going to be big focal points in the offense this year. They're going to make a lot of plays for us, a lot of skillful plays to get the ball down the field to increase our scoring chances. I'm going to be out there, I'm going to make big plays, but those guys are going to help out."