Rogers and Wojo break down Detroit's decision to trade Golden Tate and the team's upcoming matchup with the Minnesota Vikings. Justin Rogers, The Detroit News
Allen Park — Safety Glover Quin told reporters Wednesday to look no further than Golden Tate’s new team to see that his old team could still have success.
“Things happen every year, man,” Quin said one day after the Lions traded Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles for a draft pick. “The Eagles won the Super Bowl last year. You think they felt that way when (Carson) Wentz got hurt? Like, it’s all over. No, they played and they still won.”
Wentz, the Eagles starting quarterback, went down late in an MVP campaign, but the Eagles were led by backup Nick Foles to their first Super Bowl, an unlikely run with a backup, but not nearly as unlikely as a run by the Lions (3-4) would be.
More than 24 hours and one practice after Tate was dealt, the Lions were trying to spin the focus on to Minnesota on Sunday and less on Tate, a locker room leader and productive player in his five seasons with Detroit.
But the surprise hit hard on Tuesday. Some players found out on social media or other corners of the internet. Cornerback Nevin Lawson found out from long snapper Don Muhlbach when he bumped into him at Pilates.
Injured return specialist Jamal Agnew posted “Bruh” in response to Tate announcing the trade.
After he found out, safety Quandre Diggs posted “Wtf!” on Twitter, saying Wednesday that he meant no disrespect to the organization, but he was responding to losing a good friend as a teammate.
“That’s one of my good friends, of course I’m going to react like that,” Diggs said. “It’s tough. I think it’s the first time since I’ve been here that something like that happened.
“I was only here with Calvin (Johnson) for a year and I seen him retire. It was tough for me, and I probably said the same reaction. First of all, he’s a good person, great teammate, great friend of mine, and we’ll still be tight. Just like me and (Eric) Ebron, it doesn’t matter.”
Ebron, the Lions former tight end who is now with Indianapolis, reacted to Tate’s trade on Instagram, posting “SMH. Horrible ppl over there man gave them 90+ catches EVERY YEAR THERE.”
Now, the Lions will look to find their own Foles to replace Tate. The candidates include undrafted rookie Brandon Powell and TJ Jones, who was drafted in 2014, the same year Tate came as a free agent from Seattle.
“I hate to see him go, I love him,” Jones said. “We built up a rapport, a friendship, on and off the field, just like a lot of the other guys. We hate to see him go, but we wish him the best.”
Jones caught a career-high 30 passes last season and has three receptions this season in six games.
“We’re all going to step up,” Jones said. “I think there’s a lot of attention and a lot of responsibility to be spread out amongst the offense. It’s up to all of us to handle it.”
Another Jones, Marvin, is now the most accomplished veteran receiver left on the depth chart and Kenny Golladay is the most prolific this season with 30 catches, but only three in the last two games.
“He’s a great friend, great teammate, but it’s the NFL,” Marvin Jones said. “Everybody just has to stay the course. Whatever is called, we work on that. It’s the next man up, and I’m sure we’re going to be good.”
Tate was the Lions leading receiver and losing a fan-favorite and one of the most publicly accountable players on the team is a blow for a team still one game out of the divisional race with nine games to play.
“If everyone is going to sit around here and mope, that’s not going to help the team,” Jones said. “We’re on to the Vikings.”
Because, as Quin noted, nothing is out of the question in this Lions season, when zigs seem to occur as fans have expected zags.
“What are ya’ll gonna say when we go out and beat Minnesota 35-10? What are ya’ll going to say then?” Quin said after a handful of questions about the message the trade sends to the locker room. “What are you going to say?”
“We get sent a message every week,” added Diggs. “You lose, you get a message sent to you. You win, you get a message sent to you. You just got to be humble through it all.”
Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.
Lions vs. Vikings
Kickoff: 1 p.m. Sunday, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
TV/radio: Fox/WJR 760
Records: Lions 3-4, Vikings 4-3-1
Line: Vikings by 7