Tate Understands Week 1 Boos: "And I Specifically Understand It In Detroit"

He knows the fans are starved for success.

Will Burchfield
September 13, 2018 - 6:10 pm

© Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

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Some players act like they're oblivious to being booed. Most players say they're indifferent. That's the route Matthew Stafford went following the Lions' embarrassing loss to the Lions on Monday night in which they were booed off their home field -- at halftime -- in Week 1.

"Whatever’s going on out there is going on out there. It doesn't change my demeanor or the way I approach the game," Stafford said. 

To admit to being shaken can be construed as a sign of weakness, especially in a sport as ruthless as football. To pretend otherwise makes sense. 

But Golden Tate isn't shy in acknowledging that the boos hurt on Monday. Darn right they hurt. 

"It was tough. The boos just got louder and the Jets fan base just got louder and to be at home and for that to be the case, it definitely hurts. I can’t say we didn’t deserve it. We didn’t put a great product out there," he said. 

As a veteran entering his fifth season with the Lions, Tate has his finger on the pulse of this fan base. He's well aware of the torment it's endured over the years, so he gets where the frustration was coming from in the first game of a new season. 

"I definitely understand it, and I specifically understand it in Detroit," Tate said. "Being here for five years and just knowing the history of the Detroit Lions, I definitely understand it. Our fans get so excited each year and have so much confidence in us that we’re going to win our division, go to the playoffs, win a playoff game, despite what history says. And we definitely appreciate that.

"I understand the disappointment. I’d just say, don’t give up on us yet." 

It's been a difficult few days for Tate in the aftermath of Monday's loss. He had high hopes for this season -- still does -- based on how hard the team worked in its first offseason under head coach Matt Patrica. Then the Lions laid an egg in the opener. 

That's not easy to swallow. 

"Personally it’s been tough, because we showed up in April and put a lot of work in, a lot of hours in. A lot of expectations, and for the first opportunity you get, to do that, it hurts," Tate said. "But it’s a new week, a new opportunity. On Sunday we have a chance to write this story a little bit different." 

The Lions travel to San Francisco this weekend to play the 49ers in their home opener. In Tate's mind, it's a road trip that comes at a good time. 

"I can’t speak for everyone in the locker room, but I’m glad we’re hitting the road," he said. "Having a chance for different scenery, a different environment to try to get this taste out of our mouth."

Don't get him wrong. Tate loves playing at Ford Field in front of the Lions' fans. 

"I just like to go on the road this time because after last week we played so bad that we need something different," he said. "Overall I’d much rather be home. I don’t mind it, I don’t mind going on the road this time." 

Tate was one of the few Lions who posted a respectable stat line versus the Jets: seven catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. But he was far from pleased with his performance, hung up on a few key mistakes -- like the block he missed when Theo Riddick took a handoff inside the 10-yard line late in the first half. Riddick was kept out of the end zone, and the Lions were forced to kick a field goal. 

"As far as I’m concerned I had two drops and there was an assignment where I had a bad read where I could have maybe helped us out a little bit more. Anyone who’s satisfied with their performance last week definitely needs to look in the mirror," Tate said. "We’re just having a week of practice where we’re just trying to dial in on the details and be better collectively. 

"We have a good team. We have good players all over the place. We just need to go out there and put it together." 

The fan unrest that began during Monday night's game has only grown louder since. A report of veteran discontent in the locker room certainly hasn't quelled the panic. Even for a franchise with a historic level of futility, it's been a long time since the mood has been so grim just one week into the season. 

For fans panicking about the rest of the year, about, god forbid, another 0-16 season, Tate has a message. 

"The season is just now starting," he said. "We got a long season, a lot of things are going to happen between now and the end. As far as I’m concerned, we’re starting our season this week. Unfortunately we didn’t get it done last week and didn’t give our fan base much to cheer about, but we’re refocused, looking in the mirror and working even harder." 

"We got 15 more opportunities -- at least -- to go out there and paint this picture," he added. "And I have no doubt with the competitors we have and the leaders we have we’re going to get this fixed."