Tate has caught 34 of the 61 passes thrown to him for 318 yards and one touchdown through seven games, but fellow receivers Calvin Johnson and Theo Riddick have been given more opportunities to make an impact than Tate has. Johnson has caught 43 of 68 passes for 574 yards, and Riddick has caught 36 of 46 for 318 yards.
Tate’s performance in 2014 earned him his first Pro-Bowl selection, and a change in the way the team uses him could allow him to earn that honor again.
“That would be nice,” Tate said. “To get some more targets and get better opportunities and just make use of the targets that I do get.”
Tate said he hoped bringing in Cooter to replace Joe Lombardi, who was fired on Monday, would mark the start of some change, though he was not optimistic his role would be altered much.
“I don't think things are going to change that much,” Tate said. “You can’t just install a new offense in the middle of the season, so we’re just going to probably tweak some things, and he’s going to make the play calls and we’re going to see what happens.”
Head coach Jim Caldwell also hoped to see Tate contribute more to the offense behind Johnson and Riddick.
“In some situations, he’s an important part of what we do,” Caldwell said. “And he's one of those guys that — I think he thrives off of getting the ball in his hands, like most good ones do. He wants the ball and wants to be a good player, wants to be a factor, and we're fortunate to have him. We just got to find ways to get him enough to where he can get us a few explosive plays.”
The Lions (1–6) will play the Kansas City Chiefs (2–5) on Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London.
- Erin Flynn