Patricia: Lions must turn page quickly after Tate trade
Allen Park — Trading away wide receiver Golden Tate wasn’t an easy call, but after weighing the franchise’s immediate future against its long-term outlook, Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia believes it was the right move.
After stripping away the emotion of the decision, whittling it down to bare logic, the Lions believe the franchise’s future is brighter after the deal, and that the team has enough talent on the current roster to compensate for the departure.
"There certainly is good conversation that goes on (with the front office) and it’s good to have that balance, it really is,” Patricia said. “You can get caught up, either way, too much to one side. You may make decisions that are more emotional than logical, and I think at some point, you’re trying to make the best logical decision that you can.
The Lions traded Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday, netting a third-round draft pick in return for the 30-year-old veteran scheduled to become a free agent at season's end.
But with all due respect to Tate, and all he accomplished during his four-plus years as a member of the Lions, Patricia was eager to close that book and turn attention to Sunday’s opponent, the Minnesota Vikings.
“The biggest thing for us, to be honest with you, was we have to turn the page,” Patricia said. “We have to get ready to go. If we spend all Wednesday talking about this, I’m just telling you, Minnesota is going to … they’re getting ready to kick the ball off Sunday at 1 o’clock, whether we’re there or not. We better show up ready to go.”
Patricia opened up his Wednesday news conference with a statement about how difficult it was to deal one of the team’s most productive players. The coach, known for his personal relationship with his players, said he spoke at length with the veteran receiver last night.
“Really wanted to make sure that he was all right going forward,” Patricia said. “I know he’s going to a good place with people that are going to take care of him. He and his family are the most important to me, and that relationship will go a lot longer than football and will last a lot longer than football from that standpoint.”
Patricia concluded his statement by saying now it’s time to move on, because that’s what the game of football is about.
Replacing Tate’s production won’t be easy. At the time of the trade, he was leading the team in receptions and receiving yardage. Patricia said the Lions won’t be looking for a 1-to-1 replacement, but part of making the deal was the belief the collective group is capable of stepping up and filling the void.
“I think the biggest point for me, to make sure everybody understands, this also shows a lot of confidence in the people that are in that room,” Patricia said. “There’s great players in that room. There’s a lot of them. And there’s a lot of guys that have opportunities to make plays and go out there and play at a high level. We’re all good with that, from that standpoint.”
That means Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay, the two starters, are going to have to pick up some of the slack, while TJ Jones and undrafted rookie Brandon Powell, who have combined for just three receptions this season, are going to see significantly more playing time in the slot.
“Again, for us, it’s not about one player, it’s about team,” Patricia said. “It’s about everybody. We have a lot of guys that are really good on this team that can produce, honestly, for me we have confidence in everybody that’s on this team right now, that everybody can go out and do their job. We’ve seen through the course of multiple different examples of years of the NFL where these things happen, they move on, they keep going and they keep winning.”