Golden Tate says ‘sky’s the limit’

Detroit Free Press

Golden Tate isn't shy when it comes to explaining why he came to the Detroit Lions from the defending Super Bowl champions.

One big reason? His role in a pass-happy offense, a far cry from his role in a run-heavy Seattle Seahawks offense.

"I knew my role. I knew Seattle was a run-first offense and I knew my opportunities were going to be limited," Tate told Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith on ESPN First Take Monday morning. "I hated being tackled because I didn't know when my next ball was going to come."

"It's going to be fun (in Detroit). I'm going to have a chance to catch a ton more balls. I'm going to see a lot of single coverage. ... So I'm excited. I think the sky's the limit."

Tate, 25, caught 64 passes for 898 yards and five touchdowns as the Seahawks' top receiving target last season.

Now he joins a Lions team with plenty of talent — starting with quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson — but has underachieved the past two seasons.

Tate, a second-round pick out of Notre Dame in 2010, thinks their fortunes can change with first-year head coach Jim Caldwell on board.

"Coach Caldwell is going to come in there and demand discipline and smart players and, if you can't get it done, we're going to find someone else to get it done," Tate said. "We have veterans, we have good players. And so there's no reason why we shouldn't be competitive at worst."

Tate also believes Stafford can rebound after two consecutive disappointing seasons, calling him a "tremendous leader," and should be able to reduce interceptions and mistakes if everybody gets on the same page. Tate compared Stafford to his former quarterback, Russell Wilson, saying both players throw "pretty" footballs, but Stafford's throws "get there way quicker."

"I like Stafford's touch. He can place a ball wherever he wants," Tate said. "I've been in practice, running a seam route where I thought I was covered. But he put a ball up and over my left shoulder and I was open all of a sudden.

"There's going to be small windows and guys there ready to hit you. But if you can place a ball (like Stafford), that's going to help my chances of making a play and probably saving me from a headache."

Former Seahawk Golden Tate (81) was drawn to Detroit because of its high-powered offense. (AP Photo/JEFF ROBERSON)