WR Tate gets first taste of Cowboys-Eagles
Wide receiver Golden Tate, who was acquired by the Philadelphia Eagles at the trade deadline, has an idea of what is he walking into when he plays his first game with his new team on Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Super Bowl champions are facing the Dallas Cowboys and Tate already knows what that means even though he will be experiencing it for the first time.
"I've heard about it on social media," Tate said this week. "Our fans have expressed their passionate dislike for the Cowboys. It's going to be a great game. I'm happy that my first game gets to be at home against such an intense opponent.
"I can't wait to get to Lincoln Financial Field for my first game and play a division opponent. Coach said (earlier in week) we're right where we want to be, and this is the most important game not just because it's the next game, but because it's a division opponent."
The Eagles are only 4-4 coming off their bye week and trail the Washington Redskins (5-3) in the NFC East, but can take control with three of their next four games in the division.
Tate, who leads the NFL in yards after catch since entering the league out of Notre Dame in 2010, is expected to give quarterback Carson Wentz added help to go with tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert and wideouts Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor.
"He's a veteran player, he's been in a couple different systems, so he's got familiarity with different systems in the league and he can relate it to things that he's done in the past," offensive coordinator Mike Groh said when asked about Tate. "We're trying to look back at things that he's had a lot of success with and start there."
The Eagles and Cowboys have split their head-to-head matches in each of the last five seasons, with Wentz leading a 37-9 rout in Dallas before the Cowboys won, 6-0, in Philadelphia later in the season. The teams play again in Dallas on Dec. 9.
Tate already has seen the Cowboys this season with the Lions, when he made eight catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns, as Dallas prevailed, 26-24.
"I think that's to my advantage," said Tate, who probably is licking his chops at the thought of facing a Dallas secondary that couldn't handle him the first time. "They run the same defense, and I'm on a different team with different concepts, so I think that's to my advantage."
The Cowboys (3-5) have their own new wide receiver, Amari Cooper, who was acquired from the Oakland Raiders before the trade deadline for a first-round draft choice.
Cooper got off to a good start with the Cowboys, catching five passes for 58 yards and a touchdown from quarterback Dak Prescott in a loss to the Tennessee Titans on Monday night.
However, that seemed to take away from Cole Beasley, the team's leading receiver, who had only three receptions for 16 yards.
That's only one problem the Cowboys have to figure out with their offense this week, as the Titans held Ezekiel Elliott to 61 yards rushing, which usually opens things up for Prescott to run the ball, but he had only 11 yards on two carries.
Head coach Jason Garrett indicated that might change if the Eagles stack their defense against Elliott this week.
"If they want to put a lot of guys up in the box and take (Elliott) away, that's typically when the quarterback runs have come alive," Garrett said.
With Tennessee slowing down Elliott, Prescott passed for 243 yards and two touchdowns against the Titans, but he also threw an interception and lost a fumble deep in Titans territory, which proved very costly in the 28-14 setback.
And then there's the Dallas defense, which allowed the Titans to gain 340 yards, 60 more than their average entering the game. Tennessee also converted 78.6 percent of their third downs into first downs.
Part of the problem was that defensive linemen David Irving and Randy Gregory were out because of injuries and the Cowboys didn't get enough pressure on quarterback Marcus Mariota on third down.
But Dallas goes from facing the 30th-ranked Titans offense at home to playing at Philly against the Eagles, who average 366.9 yards per game.
Unless the Cowboys pick it up on offense, they might not be able to keep up.
Updated November 8, 2018