Thursday, October 27, 2011

Golden Tate Making Most Of His Chances

Golden Tate spent a fair amount of time in the news last season for all the wrong reasons. There was The Great Donut Caper, being made inactive for the team's first game, underwhelming coaches and fans when he did play, and various Twitter Troubles. Pete Carroll built him up in the off-season, telling the media they would make a more concerted effort to get him the ball this year. Tate responded with a pre-season that had some fans wondering if he would even make the squad. Since then, Tate has been used sparingly. He is so quiet, some fans have forgotten him entirely. There is reason to believe that represents real growth.

Tate has 7 rec in his last 9 targets
Tate's first regular season game was mostly another disappointment. He was targeted five times and made only one reception. It was a beautifully designed touchdown, but a 20% catch rate is not something to celebrate. His chances have dwindled after that game, but Tate is quietly making the most of almost every opportunity. He has seven receptions in his last nine targets for a 78% catch rate. That's outstanding. Doug Baldwin, in comparison, has 20 receptions in 30 targets on the year for a 66% catch rate. Sidney Rice is right behind at 17 receptions in 26 targets. An 80% catch rate is something generally reserved for running backs (Leon Washington is 8 for 10 this year).

None of this is to say Tate is playing fantastically. The story is that he is taking advantage of the chances he is being given, and likely earning more confidence from teammates and coaches. He is also keeping his mouth shut about the lack of playing time. Remember, this kid was a star in college who is being asked to adjust to life as a deep back-up in the NFL. That's humbling stuff for any man. Put it all together and there is hope that another one of Schneider's draft choices could grow into a player Seahawks fans would be proud of.

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