There were three prevailing thoughts from Lions players in the locker room Wednesday, a day after the team traded wide receiver Golden Tate to Philadelphia for a third-round pick.
1. Tate was a good teammate and leader, who will be missed.
2. This is the NFL, things like this happen, and there are very capable players in the locker room with the ability to step up and play bigger roles.
3. The Minnesota Vikings aren't sitting around feeling sorry for the Lions, so it's time to move on and get to work on the Vikings.
"Next guy up," said cornerback Quandre Diggs. "That's the motto that's been going around football forever. Of course we'll miss him, but Minnesota don't care about if we'll be missing Golden."
It's expected that players like TJ Jones, Brandon Powell and maybe even Theo Riddick, will step in and fill the void left by Tate's departure, and try to keep the Lions' offense on track.
"We hate to see him go. We wish him nothing but the best," said TJ Jones. "But we know the reality of it. We had to come in and attack the new plan this morning.
"I think we're all going to step up. I think there's a lot of touches and responsibility to be spread out amongst everyone in the offense. It's up to us to handle it, I guess. Take your responsibility, your part, whatever your role may be, and do it to the best of your ability."
Marvin Jones Jr. said nothing really changes for him and Kenny Golladay on the outside.
"We just have to do what we do," he said. "That's go out there every day in practice and get on the details as much as we can and go out there and make plays for the team.
"Obviously, we have some people who are going to step in. We have TJ Jones and (Brandon) Powell. They're going to get a little bit of playing time. Everyone just has to stay the course."
Veteran safety Glover Quin, in a way only Quin can, cautioned the media to hit the pause button and wait and see how this plays out before coming to any big conclusions about what this trade says about the current state of the franchise or what it means for the rest of the season.
"We haven't even played a game yet," he said.
He tried to make the point that sometimes in the league players just need an opportunity. He told the story about starting his career as a non-starter in the nickel, and because of injuries he got a chance to start Week 4 his rookie year. It's 10 years later and he's still a starter.
The players who spoke in the locker room Wednesday talked about flipping the page and moving on to Minnesota. The reality of the situation is the Lions are just one game out of first place in the NFC North with nine games remaining.
"We have to focus on the Vikings," Marvin Jones said. "If everyone is just going to sit around here and mope, that's just not going to help the team. We're on to the Vikings."
WHOLE PICTURE APPROACH
Lions head coach Matt Patricia said the Lions took a whole picture approach when they decided to trade Tate to the Eagles.
"For us, again, it's a whole picture of taking a look at what's the best thing for us to do as a team," Patricia said. "In those situations, they're not easy decisions. They're certainly difficult decisions.
"But again, for us, it's not about one player, it's about the team."
Tate led the Lions in receptions (44) and yards (517) this season, and had the fifth most receptions on third down (15) among all NFL receivers. The Lions will now turn to others to step up and fill the void, something Patricia seems confident they'll be able to do.
"It's about everybody," he said. "We have a lot of guys that are really good on this team that can produce and honestly, for me, we have confidence in everybody that's on this team right now.
"I think one of the great things about football and one of the reasons I love this game so much is that it is a team game. It's about everybody, it's about all the parts, not just one."
It's also about opportunity, and there's a pretty big opportunity for someone to step up and take on a much bigger role for this offense moving forward.
THIELEN'S MONSTER SEASON
Both Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen have three games with at least 10 receptions this season, which trails only Cris Carter (four in 1994 and four in 1995) for the most games with 10-plus catches in a single season in Vikings franchise history.
Thielen, in particular, has had a monster season thus far. He leads the NFL with 925 receiving yards. Last week, he became the second player in NFL history (Calvin Johnson in 2012) to have eight consecutive games with 100-plus receiving yards and the second player (Patrick Jeffers in 1999) with five consecutive games of 100-plus receiving yards and a touchdown catch.
"He's a phenomenal receiver," Patricia said of Thielen. "He's a guy that really does a lot for their offense and kind of goes in a lot of different packages and has been very explosive and very dynamic for them. Certainly, he is one of their go-to players.
"We're going to have a hard time trying to handle him. He runs really good routes, he has great change of direction, he can get vertically very quick. He understands zone coverage, he can sit down and find the open space and he has great hands. So, definitely will be a big issue for us this week."
Meet this weeks opponents, the Minnesota Vikings