Herman Moore: Lions Kenny Golladay has potential to dominate in NFL

But first he has to get the ball

ALLEN PARK — Kenny Golladay’s total production in the last two games was three catches for 49 yards.

Even though the Lions’ second-year wide receiver and Golden Tate played different roles on the offense, look for Golladay to get more targets since Tate has been shipped off to the Eagles. Sunday the Lions (3-4) will play their first Tate-less game against the Vikings (4-3-1)at Minnesota.

So far it appears that Golladay has been under-used. He has 30 catches for 477 yards and three touchdowns so far.

“He’s going to get some different attention based on game-plan or just general game-plans might go in different directions based on what we feel we need to do win that particular week,’’ coach Matt Patricia said. “So it does change week-by-week, but there is a learning process that we’re still going through and that he’s going to see a bunch of different things that maybe necessarily he hasn’t seen before from a coverage standpoint and we just have to keep working to just keep growing and developing him as a player and also as an offense.’’

Golladay had a dozen targets, seven catches and 114 yards in the season opener but hasn’t had close to that much attention since with just 32 targets over the past six games.

He had one target and one catch for 12 yards in the loss to Seattle last week. It came on the first pass of the third quarter after he was a non-factor in the first half.

Golladay has gotten the attention of former record-setting Lions wide receiver Herman Moore who thinks, with some work, that Golladay can dominate in the NFL.

“He reminds me of almost like a Jermaine Crowell in terms of how lean he is, he’s tall and he has straight-ahead speed. He has upper-body strength,’’ Moore said. “If he can hone in the craft and say, ‘It’s not just going to be the deeper passes, I’ve got to learn how to catch the shorter ones, break tackles, make plays when plays aren’t there and just be dependable.

“He could turn out to be one of the great ones, I don’t say that lightly. Those chapters have to be written, but he has all the physical attributes for today’s NFL if you look at a prototypical dominant receiver. He has the ability to do that,’’ Moore added.

First, the ball has to be thrown his way.

“Kenny is still playing good football, we’re going to keep doing that. (Matthew) Stafford is going to keep throwing the ball to who gets the right one on one look,’’ offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter said. “It could be a defensive decision, it could be something their doing on their side of the ball. So that thing is a little bit different week. … The ball finds its way around usually when you have multiple guys working to get open.”

Cooter and Stafford have both repeatedly said that they don’t go into a game, planning to throw more passes to one receiver than another. It just depends on how the game develops.

Moore spent some time with Golladay last year during his rookie season. Moore, a first-round pick who struggled as a rookie, could identify.

“I talked with him as he was going through some of his injuries, the frustration that he was having. He knew he had far more abilities and talent than he was able to display,’’  said Moore who was inducted into the Lions’ ring of honor on Sunday.

First he encouraged him to work through getting healthy. “The second part was learning the system and don’t become one-dimensional. Try and show you have the ability to work across the board. I think he’s improving on that,’’ Moore said.

Lions players react to trade that sent Golden Tate to the Eagles

He was popular teammate, but they are moving on

ALLEN PARK — It was the first day post-Golden.

With wide receiver Golden Tate traded to the Eagles on Tuesday, the Lions went through their first practice and day of work without him on Wednesday preparing to play at the Vikings on Sunday.

Tate led the Lions in receiving yards (527) and catches (44) and also had three touchdowns.

“”There are a lot of difficult decisions that are made in the NFL multiple times during the course of the year. Yesterday was one of them,’’ coach Matt Patricia said. “From our process, we try to evaluate everything the best we can and try to make the best decision we can as we move forward, not only for our immediate but also our long term.’’

Tate’s former teammates were obviously sad to see him go, but they can’t dwell on what could have been, they have to prepare for Sunday. They are not throwing in the tall. They have the same goal — to win the NFC North.

Player reaction to the trade:

— Wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr.: “Obviously he’s a great friend, a great teammates, a great player here and, you know, it’s the NFL, he’s somewhere else and this is a week we have to prepare for a tough opponent, can’t really harp on it. He’s a great friend. We just have to do what we do, go out there everyday in practice, get on the details as much as we can and get out there and make plays for the team. We have TJ Jones and (Brandon) Powell obviously they’re going to get a little bit of playing time. Everybody has to stay the course, whatever is called. We’ll work hard during the week like we have been and it’s the next man up. I’m sure we’re going to do good. TJ has had some great minutes for us over the years, obviously he’s like our Swiss Army knife, he knows all the plays we just go out there and keep doing what we’re doing.’’

— Safety Glover Quin: “You play this game long enough you see all types of crazy stuff, you see things happen each and every day, it’s a part of the business. As players you learn to go out and play because at the end of the day that’s what you have to go out and do. Obviously Golden was great for us, great in the locker room, in the community, on the team, fun teammate, made a lot of big plays for us. But they made a move and, at the end of the day, like I always say I’m just a player, my job is to go out there and play so that’s what I try to focus on. I wish Golden good luck and I’m pretty sure he’s going to go out there and be Golden. That’s who he is. We can’t let that stop us from going out there and trying to achieve our ultimate goal which is win football games.’’

— Wide receiver TJ Jones: We hate to see him go, we love him. I’ve been with him for four and a half years, we definitely built up a rapport and friendship on and off the field just like a lot of the other guys have. We hate to see him go, wish him nothing but the best. But the reality of it is we had to come in and attack the new plan today. … I think we’re all going to step up. I think there’s a lot of responsibility to be spread out among everyone on the offense, it’s up to us to handle it I guess. Take your responsibility, your part, whatever your role and do it to the best of your ability. I learned a lot (from Tate), coming in as a rookie and he was in his fifth year in the NFL and having four or five years together — there wasn’t a time when I wasn’t asking him something whether it was on the field, off the field, recovery or day-to-day life of becoming a pro.’’

— Left tackle Taylor Decker: “It’s sad to see him go personally, he was a friend, obviously a great player, great teammate, great for this community. We’re going to wish him the best of luck moving forward we have a big divisional opponent so we can’t dwell on that. Wish him the best of luck and obviously not happy to see him go. He was absolutely a very good player for us but we have plenty of good players in this locker room.’’

Lions Matt Patricia offers insights on Golden Tate trade, moving forward

It will take a team effort to replace leading WR

ALLEN PARK — Matt Patricia said he was open with the team about the trade of Golden Tate to the Eagles. The Lions coach talked to his players before their first practice on Wednesday minus Tate, their leading receiver.

“The biggest point for me is to make sure everybody understands this also shows a lot of confidence in the people that are in that room,’’ Patricia said. “There are great players in that room and there are a lot of them. There’s a lot of guys who have opportunities to make plays and go out there and play at a high level. The biggest thing for us is we have to turn the page and be ready to go. If we spend all Wednesday talking about this, Minnesota is getting ready to kick the ball off at 1 o’clock on Sunday, whether we’re there or not. We better show up ready to go.’’

Patricia admitted it wasn’t an easy decision. Detroit got a third-round pick in exchange for giving away their leading receiver (44 catches, 517 yards, three touchdowns).

The Lions (3-4) are still in the thick of the NFC North race and face the Vikings (4-3-1) on Sunday in a big divisional game in Minnesota. Then the Lions had to Chicago (4-3)  on Nov. 11.

“The decisions are not easy. It’s more than just players, it’s relationships, it’s friendships, it’s working together for a long time,’’ Patricia said. “I talked to Golden at length yesterday, I talked to him last night. I wanted to make sure he was alright moving forward. I know he’s going to a good place with people who will take good care of him.’’

No one on the roster currently has the same talents as Tate has so it’s going to take some adjustment on the offense. Along with Marvin Jones Jr. (26 catches for 387 yards, five touchdowns) and Kenny Golladay (30 catches for 477 yards, three touchdowns), the other wide receivers on the roster are TJ Jones (3 catches, 36 yards) and rookie Brandon Powell who has only played on special teams. Running back Theo Riddick, who has missed two games with a knee injury, can line up in the slot.

“You never try to walk in and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to replace this guy with this.’ It’s a team effort,’’ Patricia said. “It’s totally however we think scheme-wise what will help us win this week.  It might be different the next week and might be different the week after that. We have a lot of good players that can step up in different roles depending on how we decide it’s best to play this game.’’

General manager Bob Quinn may have made the call, but he worked with Patricia on the decision to trade Tate for a third-round pick.

“You have to work together with all those situations. There certainly is good conversation that goes on and it’s good to have that, it really is. You can get caught up either way to one side. You may make decisions that are more emotional than logical. At some point you’re trying to make the best logical decision that you can, that’s the important thing,’’ Patricia said.

“Football is great, there’s a lot of emotion in it, there’s a lot of emotion on game day, there’s a lot of emotion during the game when we work and the relationships are emotional. That’s what makes it so special,’’ Patricia said. “… There’s a huge emotional part of this when you’re running a business or need to make decisions for the greater good.’’

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer can’t be quite sure how to prepare for the Tate-less Lions.

“I think Golden is a heck of a football player, he’s definitely a great run-after-catch guy. He’s always giving us problems,’’ Zimmer said in a conference call on Wednesday morning. “It changes some of the things with our game plans. It’s part of the NFL everything changes all the time.’’

Lions’ trade of Golden Tate to Eagles is a befuddling move

Eagles send third-round pick for the veteran WR

The Lions had a good thing going on offense with a talented trio of wide receivers in Golden Tate, Marvin Jones Jr., and Kenny Golladay.

Subtract Tate from the equation. He was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles for a third-round pick today, the NFL trade deadline day.

It’s a head-scratching move.

Has GM Bob Quinn given up on the season? He will say no, but his message seems clear.

The Lions are just 3-4 but still had a fighting chance in the NFC North with Tate on the roster.

Now? The offense loses a major weapon. The locker room loses a leader and fans lose one of their favorites.

The three wide receivers are not interchangeable — they each had their strengths. Tate’s shiftiness, his ability to work between the seams and creases set him apart. He fought hard for  yards after the catch and was successful.

The 30-year-old team leader, who was in his fifth season in Detroit, was in the last year of his contract and it seemed unlikely the Lions would pay a high price to bring him back.

However, the timing seems bad. It’s not a move that will sit well with fans or perhaps the rest of the team. This group finished last year 9-7 which cost Jim Caldwell his job. They brought in Matt Patricia to improve on that. They added nose tackle Damon Harrison last week which seems like a good move, but now trading Tate away seems a little scary.

In seven games this season Tate had 44 catches for 517 yards (11.8-yard average), three touchdowns and three carries for 42 yards. He never missed a game in his time in Detroit.

Lions’ Damon Harrison one of few highlights in loss to Seahawks

Seven tackles, 1 sack, 2 QB hits

It was a good start wearing a Lions uniform for Damon “Snacks” Harrison. His play was one of the few highlights in Sunday’s 28-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Harrison finished with seven solo tackles, two quarterback hits and a sack. The sack was Harrison’s first of the season he now has 6.5 for his career.

Also, he became the first defensive tackle in Lions history to finish a game with seven solo tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss. Regardless of position, this was only the fourth time in franchise history a player has produced these statistics in a game, most recently done by Stephen Tulloch in 2014.

(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)

“The guys did a great job at helping, getting me prepared, you know, they made it as simple as possible,’’ Harrison said.

The veteran nose tackle did not start, but came in on the third play for the Seahawks. It was night and day when he was on the field.

Seattle averaged 5.6 yards per carry yesterday when he on the sideline. When he was on the field, that dropped to 3.2 yards per carry, according to Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com. He played in 62 percent (39 snaps) of the defensive plays and was in on four snaps with special teams.

Harrison was acquired in a trade with the Giants on Wednesday and practiced with the Lions on Thursday and Friday.

Even with the addition of Harrison, the Lions defense gave up 176 rushing yards.

The Lions (3-4) play at the Minnesota Vikings (4-3-1) on Sunday. The Vikings are coming off a loss to the Saints on Sunday night.

Five main reasons Detroit Lions lost to Seattle Seahawks

Detroit falls to 3-4; next up at Vikings

DETROIT — It’s not just that the Seahawks were well rested coming off  a bye week, they were better prepared for whatever they would face against the Detroit Lions.

Quality coaching by Pete Carroll and overall solid execution led to a 28-14 win over the Lions at Ford Field on Sunday.

For the Lions (3-4), it was complete failure in all three phases. It was ugly.

Coach Matt Patricia took partial blame afterward, as well he should.

“It was a bad job coaching, bad job playing. We have to do a better job getting prepared during the week. (We) played a very good Seattle Seahawks team. Give them credit. They came out, they out-performed us,’’ Patricia said. “Pete (Carroll) had his crew ready to go coming off the Bye week and we just couldn’t stay with them at all. So, I have to do a better job getting the team ready.’’

And certainly much is on him.

Veteran defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois, who is not afraid to speak his mind, said the team came out flat and unfocused.

“We didn’t focus on nothing, we couldn’t stop the run, and we let the Seattle offense control the game. We killed ourselves in penalties, we didn’t connect with their plays and we didn’t focus at all. We were just out there playing,’’ Francois said.

When running back Ameer Abdullah was asked if the team hit cruise control, he had a one-word answer: “Obviously.”

That is on coaching.

After winning two straight, it looked like the Lions were turning the corner in Patricia’s first season. Now it looks like they’ve fallen down the stairs and it’s uncertain if they can climb back up.

Five main reasons the Lions lost:

1. The defense did not in any fashion resemble the same bunch that beat the Patriots and Packers. It looked like they’d reverted to their status when they were embarrassed by the Jets in the season opener. Patricia, supposedly a defensive guru, has problems here. They can’t be this inconsistent week to week if they want to win. On the snaps where newly acquired nose tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison was on the field, they were more effective at stopping running backs Chris Carson (25 carries, 105 yards) and Mike Davis (10 carries, 33 yards). That’s potentially a good sign, but it can’t all be up to the new guy. “Seattle’s run the ball really well, so we knew it was going to be a big challenge for us. It’s a full-team effort in the run game,’’ Patricia said. “We have to get everybody executing better. … We have to get the fits right and we have to get off some blocks and we need to get our fundamentals better. So, that’s the bottom line.’’

2. Matthew Stafford fumbled and lost the ball and also threw an interception. Both were fourth-quarter miscues. Can’t happen. Stafford said if he would’ve had two hands on the ball he wouldn’t have lost it. He only blamed himself. The Lions were first-and-goal at Seattle’s 4-yard line when cornerback Justin Coleman stepped in front of Golden Tate at the 1-yard line and got his mitts on the ball. A touchdown would have closed the gap to a 7-point deficit and left the chance the Lions could pull out a last-second comeback. Stafford finished 27 of 40 for 310 yards, two touchdowns and a 96.9 rating.

3. Special teams play stunk too. They had penalties on a punt and on two kickoffs. Ameer Abdullah, who was returning kickoffs, fumbled and lost the ball in the second quarter. Sam Martin shanked a 28-yard punt late in the third quarter to give the Seahawks the ball at their own 28, when the defense needed them to be backed up. Patricia wouldn’t specifically address the special teams woes. “Right now, I’m not really pleased with any phase,’’ the coach said.

4. When the Lions run the ball well, offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter looks like a genius. They only rushed for 34 yards with just 13 carries. They stuck with the run early but once they were down 21-7 in the second quarter they need to play catch-up by passing the ball. It’s why an early lead is so essential, it can change everything. “We were coming in with a balanced game plan and obviously the score got to where it was, we had to try and do some things to get back into it,’’ Stafford said.

5. Get the ball to Kenny Golladay. The wide receiver had one catch for 12 yards. Last week he had two for 21 yards. “We don’t really go into a week thinking, ‘Throw this guy a ball a bunch of times,’ we just go out there and call plays and I need to make sure I get it to the right guy,’’ Stafford said. Makes sense. However, when you’ve got a talented guy like Golladay maybe find ways to get him more involved. On the bright side, Marvin Jones Jr. had seven catches for 117 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Golden Tate had seven for 50 yards.

UP NEXT: The Lions (3-4) play at the Vikings next Sunday, and then at the Chicago Bears on Nov. 11. Two huge divisional opponents who are tough to play on the road. It will be interesting to see which Lions team shows up.

 

Lions legendary DT Roger Brown cried when he learned of Pride of Lions honor

Member of original Fearsome Foursome with Alex Karras

DETROIT — While there may be no crying in football, Lions legendary defensive tackle Roger Brown broke down when he got word that he would be added to the Pride of the Lions, a ring of honor at Ford Field. The ceremony takes place at halftime today.

“I cried, absolutely. I have been down to Ford Field quite often through the years for the homecoming and to be out on the field and to look at all the names and never saw my mine. And I wished mine was up there and now it’s happening. Now I bet I don’t get invited back. I’m excited very much so,’’ Brown said in a pre-game press conference.

He will be honored with wide receiver Herman Moore and the late Alex Karras who was Brown’s teammate and fellow member of the original Fearsome Foursome with Darris McCord and Sam Williams.

“It’s always special to go in with the groups you played with, your teammates. Alex and I spent a lot of years together. And I learned a lot from him and likewise from me,’’ Brown said. “It’s too bad he’s not physically here, in spirit he’s all over.’’

Brown who played for the Lions from 1960 to 1966 was a five-time Pro Bowler and a two-time AP All-Pro player.

“The thing I’m waiting for now is Canton, Ohio, the National Football League Hall of Fame,” Brown said. “One of the original Fearsome Foursome should be in that Hall — Alex or me or Darris or Sam. I guarantee I’m going to stay vertical until they call me and say, ‘Come on in.’ I’lll be ready,’’ said Brown who is a spry 81.

He thinks his chances of getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame are about 1 in 100 and thinks today’s honor by the Lions might help.

“My life would be complete then as still as I’m still on the other side of the dirt,’’ Brown said.

His biggest game perhaps was the Thanksgiving win over the undefeated Packers in 1962. In that win, Brown sacked quarterback Bart Starr seven times including a safety. But sacks weren’t official NFL stats until 1982.

He said his trademark was the head slap.

“I started what they called the head slap. And for a big 320-pound guy not too many people could run faster, I caught  a lot of halfbacks, a lot of quarterbacks, got past a lot of people,’’ Brown said.