Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Decker's leadership paying dividends for Jets
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After stock piling offensive talent throughout the 2014 free agency, Head Coach Rex Ryan and quarterback Geno Smith were set to improve on an offense that was No. 26 in passing yards this past season. In order to combat the teams lack of a passing attack General Manager John Idzik brought in a collection of offensive talent. By signing former 2,000 yard talent in Chris Johnson as well as drafting a Tight End that broke multiple BCS records in Jace Amaro the team was ready to take the next step and compete for a playoff position. However, the most important acquisition for the New York Jets was the signing of Eric Decker. Not only has Decker solidified himself as a 1,000 yard and double digit touchdown threat, his presence in the starting lineup and locker room leadership has become priceless for the Jets.
The former University of Minnesota product has quickly became a face of the franchise as well as someone Geno Smith can lean on. Not only is Decker a sure handed safety net on the field, but Decker, working with Peyton Manning the last 2 seasons has improved his knowledge of the game, and can potentially rub some of what he learned from Peyton onto Smith. Looking at No. 7's improvement thus far in his second seasonal you'd have to think that some of Decker's work ethic has rubbed off on Smith.
"We have a lot of guys on this team that have been around, "noted the Jets wide receiver. "Nick (Mangold) has been around awhile. Just having success and being in Denver, I felt like that was one of the qualities that I could bring to this team is that leadership and work ethic, coming to work every day and being consistent. These guys have been great. They have been so receptive to me coming in. I feel like one of the guys and that is a big thing to me coming in. I’m having fun with it. "
As Decker's presence impacts Geno Smith, Decker has become the leader of the teams receiving corps. When scouring through the Jets' receiving corps, it's a collection of middling talents or unproven kids. With Decker in the lineup, the receivers have someone to watch them and potentially make them better football players as well.
With Decker rubbing off on them, expect an improved offense. When asked how good this offense can be with Decker thinks the sky is the limit.
"It can be as good as we want," noted Decker. "That’s the thing. If we can eliminate the turnovers like we did tonight in the first half and if we can move the ball on third down and score in the red area, then we can play with anybody. Our defense is very stout and that is something that we are going to keep (improving on) and not just be ok with it. We have to keep pushing ourselves."
Decker knows how to push himself more than anyone, as the third round pick has became a pro-bowl talent. 87 has done so by becoming the master of the fundamentals. Excellent route running and golden hands. Decker's work ethic is what made him one of Peyton Manning's favorite targets with Denver. His leadership will pay dividends to the Jets offensive passing attack, especially when comparing it to last seasons attack.
At times during the season you saw players that were barely NFL caliber jumping into the teams starting lineup. Players with extremely limited experience and success on the pro level were being asked to start on an NFL roster. Transitioning from Clyde Gates in the starting lineup to Eric Decker is an undeniable upgrade. Not only is Decker a sure handed 6'3 athlete whom lives in the red-zone, Decker has only missed 2 games in 4 seasons with Denver. As the Jets' former #1 receiver Santonio Holmes has only played in 15 games in the past 2 seasons, the team finally has someone that can actually stay on the field.
As No. 87 is starting at Wide Receiver for the Jets this upcoming season, his role on the team will have numerous positions. As the teams leader, Geno's security blanket, and most reliable player on offense, he will have a lot to carry for the Jets. Decker, coming off a 1,200 yard 10 touchdown season is up for the challenge, and making the statement that he is more than a product of a Peyton Manning offense.