Golden Tate had his introductory news conference on Wednesday afternoon, and said all the right things about being a team player, willing to do whatever it takes to win games, no matter his role.
The newly acquired receiver won’t have his on-field introduction for more than a week, yet, since the Eagles are on bye this week and don’t return to action until next Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys. His debut will come in front of the home crowd.
“I knew Philadelphia as a city that is super passionate about everything they do, especially their sports team,” said Tate, who flew into town from London on a plane filled with Eagles returning from last Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and that impressed him. “How we travel … I’m an emotional player, a passionate player, to be part of fan base that supports all their teams is a good feeling.”
The acquisition of Tate will make things mighty interesting over the final eight games as the Eagles try to take control of the NFC East.
“This is a nitty gritty organization,” sad Tate. “I can sense these guys want to work. No doubt there’s a bunch of stars on this team … what I sensed already this is a very unselfish organization, with only one thing important and that’s winning ballgames. I talked to Zach (Ertz). He reached out and said, ‘We have a bunch of guys who make plays. We don’t care where the ball goes, we just want to win.’ That’s the attitude I’ve had for a while.”
Winning the NFC East won’t be easy, like it was last year for the Eagles in their Super Bowl run.
The Cowboys acquired receiver Amari Cooper.
The Washington Redskins beefed up their secondary, adding safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix as ammunition against Tate and Cooper.
The Giants, well, forget about them. They are a dumpster fire at 1-7.
It is going to be fun to see which of these three players make the difference in the second half.
Will it be Cooper?
After two spectacular years to begin his career, Cooper has been on the decline, even though he is just 24 years-old. The Cowboys wagered a first-round pick that he will find his way back to being the receiver he was in 2015, when he caught 72 passes for 1,070 yards and six touchdowns, and 2016, when he made 83 catches for 1,153 yards and five scores.
For now, he has only 22 receptions for 280 yards and one touchdown while with the Raiders.
Clinton-Dix is a ball hawk. He has three interceptions this season with the Packers and 14 in a pro career that began in 2014. All he cost the Redskins was a fourth-round pick.
As for Tate, well he a big-play waiting to happen, the NFL leader in yards after the catch since entering the league in 2010. This year, he has 44 catches for 517 yards and three touchdowns.
“My mom used to tell me you can’t hit what you can’t catch,” said Tate. “I don t like being tackled so I try to fight for every yard. I get the ball in my hands I feel like I can take it and break it. … That’s my mentality.”
Tate has already faced the Cowboys once this year, and he had eight catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns in a 26-24 loss on Sept. 30.
Now, he will face them twice more, beginning next Sunday.
There will be plenty of opportunity in head-to-head matchups against the NFC East for Tate and the Birds, with five of their final eight games coming against the NFC East, a division that is difficult to repeat in. In fact, the NFC East hasn’t had a repeat winner since 2003 and 2004 when it was the Eagles who did it.
“I love the schedule we have coming up,” said Tate. “It’s an incredible opportunity to do some special things.”