Philadelphia Eagles: Wait, is Golden Tate actually bad?

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Once considered the missing piece to return the Philadelphia Eagles to playoff contention, Golden Tate has been very underwhelming over is first three games in midnight green.

Don’t look now, but we are swiftly approaching the conclusion of the first month of the ‘Golden Tate‘-era.

What do the Philadelphia Eagles have to show for their 2019 third-round pick? 11 catches for 97 yards and no touchdowns.


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Now granted, Tate has only appeared in three games so far this season, but still, is that really the production Howie Roseman expected when he shipped a premium pick to Detroit? I highly doubt it.

While some of this disconnect can be associated with Mike Groh‘s reported struggles at incorporating Tate into the offense, when you take a deep dive into the statistics, things take a decidedly strange turn.

So far this season, Tate has appeared in 10 games; seven for the Lions and three for the Eagles.

As a Lion, Tate averaged 73.9 yards on 6.28 catches per game with a 63.8 completion percentage. While those numbers aren’t going to set the league on fire, if spread over 16 games, Tate was on pace to finish out the season with 1182 yards on 100 catches.

Last season, Tate would have finished eighth in the league in receiving yards with that total, one yard behind Kansas City speedster Tyreek Hill.

However, at this point, it’s almost unfathomable to imagine Tate finishing out the season with 1,000-plus yards or 100 catches, let alone both.

Over his three-game tenure as an Eagle, Tate is averaging about 32.3 yards on 3.23 catches-per-game with a 55 completion percentage. If you spread those numbers over 16 games, you end up with 51 catches for 517 yards.

The Eagles fourth-leading receiver, Jordan Matthews, is on pace for 28 catches for 492 yards this season, and the team signed him as an early season replacement for Mike Wallace off the street.

But how could this be? How could Matthews and Tate be giving Doug Pederson‘s squad roughly the same level of production when Tate is without a doubt the more talented player?

Easy, Mike Groh simply hasn’t figured out how to use Tate effectively.

Unlike, say, the previously mentioned Tyreke Hill, who’s game is based almost solely on speed and the ability to track deep balls on 50-yard bombs, Tate’s game far more nuanced.

Though Tate is still fast and could be useful as a go-route burner, he’s arguably deadliest player in the entire league at making people miss when getting the ball in space. Now the Eagles have at least attempted to utilize Tate in this way, targeting him on a number of screen passes, but so far, those plays have been incredibly ineffective, as highlighted by Tate’s long of 15 yards in midnight green.

Tate has even been ineffective as a punt returner, a role he should thrive in.

Over his three games tenure in South Philly, Tate has returned five punts for 13 yards. Just for context, the Eagles former put returner, DeAndre Carter, returned 10 balls over his seven-game tenure with the team for 103 yards. Now granted, the Carter had a pair of 40-plus yard returns to help pad out those stats, but that’s a pretty noticeable discrepancy.

So, if Tate has been just a guy as a wide receiver for the Eagles so far this season, and a horrible punt returner, does that mean Tate is actually bad?

Probably not, but he’s far from the difference maker that the team sold to their fans.

While Tate’s struggles can be directly correlated with Pederson and Groh’s inability to get things going on the offensive side of the ball, his inability to haul in relatively easy passes are far harder to write off.

Maybe fans can chalk it up to growing pains between Tate and his new quarterback Carson Wentz, but when Tate moved from Seattle to Detroit, he actually had the best season of his career, hauling in 500 more yards 35 more catches.

At this point, I doubt Tate will have 500 yards as an Eagle this season.

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Could he turn things around and transform into a perfect complement to Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, and Nelson Agholor on the offensive side of the ball? Sure, but at this point, it’s worth wondering if Golden Tate is even worth re-signing past this season when Jordan Matthews and DeAndre Carter could be had for half of his price tag, maybe less.