By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – When Golden Tate visited the White House with the rest of the 2013 Seattle Seahawks, he got to meet President Barack Obama, and he also got one last experience with the group with which he won a Super Bowl.
“When I came [to Detroit] … I didn’t get to say my goodbyes, so it was kind of a closure moment for me,” Tate said Tuesday. “I got to say hey and bye and good luck, we’ll see you in the playoffs, and just catch up a little bit. It was fun seeing those guys that I was with, I was rock bottom with … then we were at the top of the world as world champions, so it was fun to be around those guys one more time.”
Asked what element from that championship team he can bring to Detroit, Tate immediately began describing the emphasis new head coach Jim Caldwell has placed on team chemistry.
“One thing that I notice that Coach Caldwell’s done a great job [of] so far is trying to build that sense of family here,” Tate said. “It’s small things. It’s easy things. Just posting guys’ birthdays on the bulletin board in the cafeteria, or when a guy has a new addition to the family, a new child or something, just giving them a shout-out. Those are things, very simple things that can be conversation starters that you can get to know someone else.
“A lot of times guys just come to work and leave work, but if you get to know someone, know someone’s story, I think that helps you,” Tate said. “I know there’s going to be a moment when I’m really, really tired, or I’m aching in the game, or whatever the case is, and I’m like, ‘Dang, I can’t do this,’ but I’m going to look to my right, look to my left, and see guys like Calvin, or see guys like Reggie out there. They’re tired too, but they’re working trying to get it done, and that’s going to give me that extra rep or that extra two reps, and then those are the guys that you want to play for.”
Team chemistry cannot be quantified, but most players say it makes a significant difference. Tate suggested that players being invested in one another is a crucial element for success.
“I think that’s how you build a championship atmosphere,” Tate said, “when guys are playing for each other, not for themselves.”
OTAs conclude Thursday, and the players come back for the team’s mandatory three-day minicamp next week. After that, the team’s offseason workout program will be over. When players come back for training camp later in the summer, Tate said he thinks the team’s progress will kick into high gear. In the meantime, however, he said the work needs to continue.
“I think as a team we just need to keep growing,” Tate said. “We’ve still got a lot of time until the season. I think it’s imperative that we all continue to stay in our books and just learn the material, get as good as we can so once we come in late July, early August, it’s not like we’re starting from square one. I think we’ve done a good job of installing, and I think guys, for the most part, have it down, and now we just to fine-tune the details.
“Everyone knows the concepts, but beyond that, there’s a way you’re supposed to run it,” Tate said. “There’s reasons why you need to run it this way. There’s reasons why you need to come off the ball at tempo, and I think once we just understand the details, we’ll see ourselves growing a lot more and learning a lot faster, and those are things that, a lot of that will come in camp … I think that’s when we’ll really make that jump – when we have guys in shoulder pads and helmets.”