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NOTEBOOK: Tate got opportunity he wanted in Detroit

One of the big draws for receiver Golden Tate when signing with Detroit back in 2014 was the offense and how it was built around quarterback Matthew Stafford and the passing game.

"I'm leaving a run-heavy offense to a pass-happy offense, so that's exciting," Tate said in his introductory press conference after signing a five-year deal in Detroit after spending his first four seasons in Seattle.

It's somewhat ironic that heading into Saturday's playoff matchup in Seattle, the Seahawks have now become more of a passing team than the ground and pound team they were when Tate left.

At the time, he left for more opportunity in Detroit, and he's become a key component of the Lions' run to the playoffs in two of his three seasons with the team.

Tate finished the season with a team-best 91 catches and became just the second player in team history to record 90-plus receptions in three different seasons.

He joined receiver Herman Moore (123 in 1995, 106 in 1996 and 104 in 1997) as the only Lions receivers to accomplish this feat.

Tate became the first player in team history to reach 90-plus receptions in each of his first three years with the club.

"He's done a nice job," Stafford said of Tate. "I think Jim Bob (Cooter) does a great job of being creative and getting the ball to him in a bunch of different ways, down the field, short, speed sweeps, whatever it is.

"He's a multi-talented guy that can obviously make plays with it after he catches it and trying to find ways to get it to him in space."

In four seasons in Seattle, Tate was targeted 264 times and caught 165 passes. In three seasons in Detroit, he's been targeted 407 times and has caught 280 balls. He also made the Pro Bowl in his first season here.

"It's an incredible accomplishment," Tate said of the three-straight 90-catch seasons. "Something to be extremely proud of. It just shows the trust that this organization has in me, the quarterback has in me."

Tate's been back to Seattle since he left after winning a Super Bowl there in 2013, and has always talked fondly of his time in the Pacific Northwest, but the stakes have never been this high.

"Right now I'm really not thinking about statistically what I've achieved because to me right now it doesn't matter," Tate said. "I'm looking at the greater goal of winning and winning often. I'm not done yet."


Yes, the Lions stumbled into the playoffs, losing their last three contests.

But Lions head coach Jim Caldwell had a good golf analogy to express what Detroit's mentality is like heading into Saturday's Wild Card playoff round.

"That's the thing that I think oftentimes people look at and say hey, you know, you hadn't played as well toward the end, we've got a chance," Caldwell said.

"Some of you guys probably play a little golf from time to time and it's kind of like a golf game. You've got a 494-yard Par 4 and you hit it off the tee, some guys hit it right down the middle and then maybe hit a three wood to the green or a five wood in some cases.

"Some guys are like me, they hit it in the woods and they might have to hit it between two trees in order to get on the green, but the fact of the matter is we're still on in two, alright, we're on in regulation and everybody's putting for birdie and that's kind of what making the 12 is, right, making the 12 teams. Everybody's still got a chance, no matter how you got here."


Detroit's been outscored 85-53 in the third quarter this season.

Some would put that number on the coaching staff and say they aren't making the right adjustments out of the half.

Stafford was asked about it on Tuesday, and put the accountability on the players for a lack of execution.

"There hasn't been drastic scheme changes from defenses or injuries or anything that's really kind of slowed us down," Stafford said. "We just haven't done a good enough job of executing. That starts with me. I've got to make sure that everybody is in the right place, doing the right stuff all the time."


The Lions signed offensive lineman Garrett Reynolds and promoted cornerback Adairius Barnes to the active roster from the practice squad on Tuesday.

Those moves were necessary after the team placed tackle Corey Robinson (foot) and cornerback Asa Jackson (ankle) on injured reserve.

So what does this mean for Saturday?

Robinson started in place of the injured Riley Reiff (hip) at right tackle last week against Green Bay. He's been the swing (third) tackle all season. Reiff was back on the field for the open portion of practice Tuesday, which is good news for the Lions. If he can play, Cornelius Lucas now becomes the swing tackle.

Jackson started in the nickel for the Lions the last few weeks. When he went down in the first quarter last week, safety Don Carey and others filled it. Barnes has played the nickel for the Lions in games this season, and will likely get good run there in practice this week.

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