After weeks of criticism, Eagles are beginning to reap the rewards of Golden Tate trade


The Golden Tate trade has been one of the most talked about milestones of the Eagles’ rollercoaster season and with good reason. After a few weeks of fans and media alike slamming their fists on the table, demanding instant production that was never going to be viable, Eagles fans got their first look at just how dangerous Tate can be in this offense.

There was a lot of fire thrown in the direction of Mike Groh after he claimed it was ‘challenging’ to implement Tate into the offense, but what he said was absolutely valid. The Eagles had traded for a receiver who played most of his snaps in the slot, which meant that with Agholor and Matthews already on the roster, there was bound to be some teething problems.

Not only that, but the Eagles have craved a deep threat ever since Pederson’s arrival and Tate could deliver those goods using an alternate method of transport. If figuring out how best to utilize his skillset in an already diverse offense somehow didn’t take time, for Tate, to a new team, adjusting to a new quarterback, new terminology and new offense certainly would.

After 2 receptions for 19 yards against the Cowboys, the veteran was targeted 8 times in back to back weeks, which then drew criticisms of force-feeding. The hard truth is, you can’t have it all. The Eagles were doing all they can to work out how defenses are going to respond to Tate’s inclusion in the offense, how it opens up other areas of the field. If you need visual proof, just look at how his routes have changed on a near-weekly basis since joining the Eagles. (Courtesy of NFL Next Gen Stats)

In week 13, Tate caught all seven passes that were thrown in his direction, recording 85 yards and his first touchdown in midnight green. With some great adjustment to help his quarterback in the process, it was clear to see that the rapport between the two was building extremely quick.y

“He’s kind of understanding the offense a little bit more.” Pederson said of Tate following the game. “I think tonight it was really good to see because the ball got spread around a little bit in the passing game, and he had a nice night tonight.”

As the run-game continues to emerge as a renewed focal point fo the offense, the ability for Golden Tate to gain favorable matchup expands with it. As opposed to being used strictly on screens and slants, the Eagles are trying to tap into the traits that have given Tate a nine year NFL career. The speed, the catch-radius and the crispness in his route-running. This only leads Carson Wentz to see a huge window of opportunity whenever Tate is on the field, as we learned in Monday Night’s win.

“First and foremost, Golden is a great player.” Wentz told reporters after the matchup. “We feel we have a lot of guys offensively that we can spread the ball around to. We never truly try to focus in on one guy. We just try to and go after maybe the weak link in their defense or just let the play come to you. Tonight, he was just in the right spot and he made some great plays and we will keep building from there for sure.”

That sentiment is something Tate also echoed in the locker room:

“I don’t think about the individual too much.” The former Detroit Lion explained. “I just wanted to be available when my time came and I wanted to help this team win and win a lot. Last week was a good win, this week is a good win, and hopefully, individually, I just keep gaining the trust of the quarterback and the guys around me and we just keep balling. I think the key to tonight was that everyone had opportunities to make plays. A lot of guys caught passes and when it’s like that, it’s always good.”

If selflessness is the name of the game for this offense, then it lends itself very gracefully into the hands of one of the most dangerous open-field receivers in the game. It was always going to take time to truly learn what Tate was capable of in this scheme, no matter who the coordinator was. After a big outing against the Redskins, all noise concerning the decision to pull the trigger on this trade and indeed Tate’s implementation have stopped.

If Tate continues this run of form against the Cowboys on Sunday, who knows, fans may even begin to speak positively of the deadline move.

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports