Considering he won a Super Bowl last season, I think it's safe to say that wide receiver Golden Tate had a successful final year with the Seattle Seahawks. He was a member of the NFL's best team, and he has a shiny new Super Bowl ring to show for it.
One thing that Tate doesn't have to show for his time in Seattle is gaudy statistical production. That's because the Seahawks are not a pass-happy team. Their recipe for success on offense involves a lot of Marshawn Lynch pounding the ball on the ground, and this meant that there weren't necessarily a ton of opportunities for Tate to get his hands on the ball. Actually, that's one of the reasons why he decided to join the Detroit Lions, a team known for airing it out on a regular basis. From MLive:
"I hated being tackled (last year) because I didn't know when my next ball was going to come," Tate joked in an interview Monday with ESPN's First Take. "I have a chance to catch more balls and make Pro Bowls (in Detroit)."
Tate caught 64 passes for 898 yards and 5 touchdowns last season. In Detroit, given how much the Lions throw the ball, it would really be a surprise if he doesn't set career highs across the board in 2014. Not only are there going to be more passes coming his way, but he should see more favorable matchups thanks to Calvin Johnson.
"I think if I can stay healthy, God forbid, it's going to be fun. I have a chance to catch a ton more balls," Tate said. "I'm going to see a lot of single coverage. I'm probably going to see a lot of No. 2 and No. 3 cornerbacks because everyone's going to be on No. 81 (Calvin Johnson). I'm excited."
The Seahawks have certainly proven that their run-first philosophy can be quite successful, even in today's pass-happy NFL. For the Lions, they are trying to prove that their pass-first mentality can also be successful on more than just a statistical basis. The Lions have put up some big numbers in recent years, but there's really been a general lack of efficiency with the offense, as evidenced by the fact that Detroit went 4-12 in 2012 and 7-9 last year. The offense isn't solely to blame for those disappointing seasons by any means, but there's a reason the Lions gave Tate a five-year deal worth $31 million. They view him as an important piece of the offensive puzzle, and if he is able to take advantage of the opportunity the Lions are presenting him, they should have a much better offense and be a much better team in 2014.