New York Jets receiver Eric Decker has gone from being on a Super Bowl contender in Denver to a team that has not posted a winning record since the 2010 season. Decker caught passes from Peyton Manning, but must develop chemistry with Geno Smith or Michael Vick. Instead of having Demaryius Thomas, Decker will take the field with David Nelson.
Of course, Decker’s five-year deal worth $36.25 million is a good enough reason to hope for the best with his new team.
Decker is currently living out of a hotel during offseason workouts. He is staying close to the team facility, and plans to eventually find a home. It is just one of the many challenges he discussed with Shutdown Corner:
SDC: What has been the biggest challenge with getting adjusted to your new surroundings?
ED: The biggest adjustment is learning a new system. I was in Denver for four years and had pretty much the same system throughout. Learning the new language, the new play calls, that’s always a challenge. Getting a routine. It’s a different environment. Different people, so building those friendships, understanding where the cafeteria is to the training room to the locker room to the weight room. All those things that become a routine take a little bit of time.
SDC: Is it tough starting over after four years in Denver?
ED: Yeah. For me, it’s actually kind of exciting. I’m so excited for this new opportunity to be in New Jersey/New York. There’s so much to do out here. I really enjoyed my time in Denver. The people were great. The weather was awesome, but this now is a bigger opportunity. I’m in one of the best cities in the world. I was a guy who was raised in Minnesota, went to Minnnesota for college, and Denver was the second place I ever lived. I married a woman who was a military brat. She’s a gypsy, so I’m kind of antsy now. I want to move around and see different things and understand different cultures and put myself in different places because that allows you to grow so much more. That’s why I think this place brought so much more excitement to the job.
SDC: Does it bother you when NFL observers call you a No 2 receiver instead of a No 1 guy?
ED: Heresay is heresay to me, honestly. People have the right to their opinions. My job is just to perform well on the field, be a leader in the locker room. Those are the things I’m really concerned about. As far as what other people say about me, if I got caught up in that, it would me a mess. You stay in your own lane, focus on what’s important to you, and have fun doing it. At the end of the day, it will all take care of itself. I don’t get wrapped up in slots or where people perceive you. It’s about winning football games, being a great teammate, and that’s what I plan on doing.
SDC: You have caught over 80 passes in the past two seasons. Do you see yourself having that kind of success in New York?
ED: This offseason is going to be big for me. Just to build a relationship with the receivers in my room and the quarterbacks, Geno, Michael, and just getting to work. If you put in the time in the offseason, if you stay in the playbook and understand things, that gives you the best opportunity to do those things. I’m not going to promise numbers or statistics. That stuff will take care of itself.
SDC: Your quarterbacks have been Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning. Considering this will be your fourth quarterback in four years, how difficult is it getting adjusted to new passers?
ED: It’s important to have that relationship with your quarterback. When you’re on the field, he wants to trust his receivers are going to be in the right spot. As a receiver, you want to trust he’s going to put the right ball on you so you don’t take hits, or he understands when you get in and out of routes. Those things take time. Like a couple of years ago, built that relationship with Peyton. Before that, Tim. Before that, Kyle Orton. It’s part of the game. That’s football. It happens in a lot of places. You get very lucky if you get one quarterback your entire career. Everyone is a top notch athlete, so adjusting quickly is not the issue. It’s just putting in the time. If you’re able and willing to do that, I think it will be a smooth transition.
SDC: But will it be tough without Manning, one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history?
ED: I'm going to say I’m going to take a lot of my knowledge and experience with him to the Jets, and hopefully help share that to better everyone because of those experiences. It was an honor and privilege to play with Peyton Manning, because he is considered one of the greatest and will be a future Hall of Famer, but I’m excited about the new challenge as well. It’s an opportunity for me to come to an organization (where) I feel strong about what they bring in the front office, and who they’re bringing onto this team. We can do some really exciting things. I love the challenge. I love new opportunities. That’s what makes me hungry and makes me want to be better every day.
SDC: You played on a team that advanced to the Super Bowl. How far away are the Jets from being in that game?
ED: I’ll say the Jets have always been known for their defense, and defense wins championships. Last year, they were in the 30s as far as total offense (Jets were ranked 25th). That was something they wanted to improve. The skill players they brought in so far, to having 12 draft picks, and however they utilize them is going to be important. Offensively, we need to take some pressure off the defense and score some points and have some longer drives to give them a break. It’s complementary football. That’s what I learned about being in Denver. You got to play complementary football. The offense has got to help the defense. The defense has got to help the offense. There’s just not one unit that is going to win you the game every week. That’s what I think is important to stress this offseason, building an offense that is powerful going forward, and helping our defense out.
SDC: You are part of the Ruffles #RoughLife campaign. What is that all about?
ED: I just teamed up with them this month, basically, leading up to the draft. It’s a new project called Rough Life. It’s all about having fun and celebrating the ridiculous problems that really aren’t problems that we all seem to face. Mine just recently happened. I came out to New Jersey, starting up with the Jets, got to the hotel the night before. I’m showering up and I was going to brush my teeth, and I forgot my toothpaste. I was like, “Ah, man. That’s a bummer.” You can’t brush your teeth without toothpaste. That was kind of my rough life moment. When everything else is so great, and this new opportunity is so exciting, I forgot my toothpaste.
SDC: Have you purchased toothpaste since that moment or are you avoiding Walgreens?
ED: I haven’t had a chance to go to Walgreens, but I did make sure when I got to the facility, I got some toothpaste to bring home with me to the hotel. I ended up solving the problem the next day.
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