Jan 30, 2014; Jersey City, NJ, USA; Denver Broncos receiverEric Decker
(87) at a press conference in advance of Super Bowl XLVIII on the Cornucopia Majesty yacht on the Hudson River. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s go “Inside the Film Room” on our newest weapon, wide receiver Eric Decker. He has traded in his Denver orange, seen to the right, for the Jets’ green.
There has been a lot of talk about Decker, and how good he really is. Is he a product of playing with Peyton Manning? Is he the type of receiver that can make a team better as a number one weapon? We won’t REALLY know until he takes the field this fall, but we can certainly speculate.
How do we do that? By looking at some footage. I think if you take a look at the plays I have isolated from last year, you will find that Eric Decker is a terrific route runner and has great hands. That doesn’t come from Peyton Manning.
We are going to look at two of Decker’s four touchdown passes received against the Kansas City Chiefs in week 13.
The first of the two plays comes from the second quarter:
Eric Decker is in the wide right position, indicated by the black circle. He is going to start to the outside, and make a hard cut to the inside with his right foot. As we move forward, you will see that the move gives him inside position all the way down the field.
As Manning drops back to execute the play-action fake, notice Eric Decker’s feet, circled in the black. He started to the right, but here is making his move to the inside, pushing hard of the outside foot, his right foot. As we roll the tape, you will see the inside position that Decker gets.
It doesn’t look like Eric is open, but, look at the positioning. He has shielded the defender out from any throw to the inside with his body.
Decker has run an excellent route, giving Peyton the middle of the field to hit him deep. That is exactly what he is going to, as he unloads the football. He is throwing to a spot, as indicated by the broken line leading up to the circle. Peyton is looking for Eric at the five yard line. Let’s see the result.
Eric makes a good catch and takes it in for a 41 yard touchdown pass.
Turn the page and we are going to look at one more, this time a mid-range TD from the third quarter of the same game.
Sometimes simple is not a bad thing. Take a look at this play and you will see what I mean. The Broncos have the ball at the 15 yard line of the Chiefs:
Peyton Manning is in the shotgun, and the Broncos are set up trips (three receivers) right, and one receiver to the left. Eric Decker is again circled, wide to the right.
Eric is going to run a fairly basic route from the route tree, a post pattern. He will run to the five yard line, and cut literally towards the goal post. Decker’s talent shows in how accurately he runs the route. No extra steps, just a route run to perfection.
Here, we have Decker making his cut from the five yard line, headed straight for the goal posts. Manning releases the football, again to the spot that his excellent route runner is going to be, the right goal post.
Eric makes an excellent hands catch, and again, it’s touchdown Denver.
Of course, Eric Decker benefitted from playing with Peyton Manning. Who wouldn’t benefit from one of the most accurate passers ever, throwing them passes?
But, he can’t teach Decker to have good hands, and he can’t give a guy the innate ability to run a good route. Eric will do just fine here.