Detroit Lions welcome new faces
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) Their new coach has been to Super Bowls and the Detroit Lions how have two new players who have championship rings.
Free-agent acquisitions Golden Tate and James Ihedigbo – who played on the winning side of the last two Super Bowls – finished their second day of minicamp practices with their new team Wednesday. Both are enjoying their new home.
Coach Jim Caldwell, who guided Indianapolis to a Super Bowl and has two championship rings as an assistant, said having players with recent Super Bowl experience only can help.
”It’s invaluable. You can’t have enough of them,” he said. ”They know what it takes and that’s why it’s great to have them around because a coach can only do so much. You need players and guys that have had that kind of experience to also come alongside of you and kind of help things move along in that direction.”
Tate fills a glaring need at wideout, where only All-Pro Calvin Johnson returns with significant NFL experience. Tate caught 64 passes for 898 yards and five touchdowns last season with Seattle and ended the run starting in the Super Bowl against Denver.
He said the Lions’ offense, which features Johnson and quarterback Matthew Stafford, is a perfect fit.
”I’m coming into a pass-happy offense,” Tate said. ”As a receiver, it doesn’t get any better than that. I have one of the best players in the league lining up opposite me. Your eyes have to light up.”
Caldwell said he already could see a bit of chemistry developing between Tate and Stafford.
”We have a lot of talent in this offense and we’re trying to make the most of it early,” Tate said. ”Matt and I and the other receivers are working on our chemistry so when training camp rolls around, we’re not starting from scratch.”
He also returned kickoffs and punts for the Seahawks and could give Detroit an added weapon after it finished 20th last season in overall return yards.
Ihedigbo arrives after the Lions lost former safety Louis Delmas during free agency. Ihedigbo had 101 tackles and three interceptions, and forced a pair of fumbles last season while starting all 16 games in Baltimore. He was a member of the Ravens’ Super Bowl-winning team two years ago.
”I’m not going to bark out too much,” he said, ”but I definitely will help educate younger guys. It’s coming along.”
He added the scheme will look familiar to Lions fans, who’ve grown accustomed to a defense that aggressively goes after opposing passers.
”We will be coming after quarterbacks,” he said.
Some of what he and his new teammates are learning should be somewhat familiar to Ihedigbo. New defensive coordinator Teryl Austin spent the last three seasons as Baltimore’s defensive backs coach.
The optional minicamp concludes Thursday.