Awful start in 2015 took toll on Lions

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Golden Tate said the Lions maintained faith in Jim Caldwell, even during the 1-7 start last season.

Allen Park — Golden Tate had never experienced anything like starting 1-7 as the Lions did last year.

“That was tough,” he said. “I don’t want to ever go back to that point. That’s something I’m not used to and I don’t want to get used to.”

So, in discussing what he wants to the Lions to do in the draft next week, Tate simply said he hopes the personnel department finds players that can help the Lions win more than they did last season.

Few players discussed the issues that led to the 1-7 start last season, and as it happened, many players weren’t interested in talking at all. As Tate discussed it Thursday, it was clear that the losing took a toll.

“The hardest part was we knew that we were good,” he said. “We knew we had a good team. We knew we had the pieces. We knew we shouldn’t have been what our record said. If you looked at our record and you saw the personnel that we had on paper, it just didn’t add up.”

‘Playoffs,’ not pecking order, is No. 1 for Tate

Despite the awful start, Tate said he and his teammates continued to believe in coach Jim Caldwell, even if the reasons for the slow start were unclear. The Lions fired three offensive coaches after falling to 1-6, and after dropping to 1-7, they went 6-2 in the second half to finish 7-9.

Tate said he wants the team to expect to win every game next year, and as long as the mindset is right, he thinks the Lions will be able to put the pieces together well enough to avoid a similar start to last year.

“Now we’re just going to start building the empire, building something great,” he said.