The same kind of atmosphere Tate was a part of during Seattle's Super Bowl run last season, and one that's allowed Caldwell to win two Super Bowls with Indianapolis and Baltimore.
“One thing I really admire about coach (Jim) Caldwell is he thinks having a family atmosphere is important and that’s why Seattle did so well,” Tate said.
“In Seattle we had 7-9 years (in 2010 and 2011) and then we had a Super Bowl year (2013). I was a part of the lows and the highs and I watched that team grow. At the end of the day, this past year, we were playing for each other, we were playing for the city, we were playing for the 12th man.”
“It helps you to understand each other better,” Warford told detroitlions.com. “It helps you work together better because you get to know these guys and it doesn’t feel like you’re strangers. It feels more like you’re family. It makes us more willing to work with each other.”
Warford and his offensive line-mates are a perfect example of the kind of atmosphere the Lions are trying to build. All of the offensive lineman hang out together outside of the facility. It's actually a riot to see how many 300-pound men they can fit into one vehicle at times.
They attend sporting events together and have become a close-knit group.
Is it any coincidence then that the offensive line was considered one of the best in football last year? Maybe. Maybe not.
“That’s been a key part of every offensive line group I’ve been in,” Warford said. “It becomes more of a sibling rivalry and you compete against each other. It’s more of a ‘I’m not going to let you beat me’ thing. It helps competition.”
Eventually, the goal for Caldwell and Co. is to have those tight-knit relationships that have formed among position groups branch out to other groups.
“We just try to encourage them to get out and learn something about one another, guys that you don’t know, go to dinner with them,” Caldwell said. “I know a few of them went bowling the other night together and had a pretty good challenge from what I understand.
“So, we’re trying to encourage that they do a number of those things or different things together to get to know one another. Teams that play well and perform well are usually pretty close. It doesn’t mean that everybody all across the board gets along with each other 100-percent, but more often than not, I think you find that genuine respect for one another is something that you just have to continue to nurture.”
Offensive lineman are a close-knit group anyway because of the nature of their position. A good offensive line is only as good as it’s weakest link, and more than any other position group on the field they have to work as one.
“Rule No. 1 with any offensive lineman is to stick with the herd,” Warford said with a laugh. “It’s a slower moving herd.
"A lot of times offensive lineman will be early to meetings. If you’re coming in with the rest of the group, they’ll just look at you like, ‘Come on man.’
Warford said different groups are hanging out together off the field this offseason and the team is having a lot of fun so far in the locker room.
We'll see soon how that translates to the field.