Allen Park — Golden Tate wants to win.
Whether it's Jim Caldwell or Matt Patricia on the sidelines doesn't seem to mean a whole lot to the Lions' leader in receptions over the last four seasons. He just wants to put his head down and go to work.
"One thing that hasn't changed since I've been in the league is when you step out on this field, it's time to compete," Tate said as the Lions wrapped up their three-day minicamp Thursday afternoon. "I haven't thought too much about (the coaching change). To me, it's all football. I clock in everyday with one goal in mind: To try and tear up whoever's going against me."
"Our goal is to play perfect football. We have high expectations and we're chasing those every single day."
Tate made headlines last season when he suggested he knew what was wrong in the Lions locker room but didn't "want to throw anyone under the bus." When pressed on Thursday, he wouldn't reflect on the past or compare one coaching staff to the other, but he did have some praise for the new regime.
"I think we have a great set of coaches," he said. "(They're) very intelligent. They're doing their best to try and put us in positions to do well, and when you mix that with guys that want to just come out here and grind, usually it turns out well."
Practices under Patricia are different than they were under Caldwell. The team is running more and the offensive players are taking part in tackling drills.
Tate says those kinds of drills can help condition the team for the grind of the season.
"When you're physically conditioned, you're less likely to make physical mistakes," he said. "Those mental mistakes come because you lack focus. So if we can build up strong bodies, late in the game you don't have to worry about it."
Patricia also has been much louder and animated at practice than Caldwell was. Tate says it doesn't matter how Patricia goes about his business on the practice field as long as it translates to wins in the fall.
"It's either win or lose, and I want to be on the winning side, no matter who it is. That's just my mindset. I don't even think about (the coach)."
Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer.