In 2015 with the New York Jets, wide receiver Eric Decker proved he could be a potent member on offense thanks to thriving in a supportive role.
It’s safe to say that wide receiver Eric Decker bounced back after an up and down first season with the New York Jets. Gang Green finished their 2015 campaign at 10-6 and it was largely due in part to the success of the veteran wideout. You could make the case that he shined because opposing defenses were more worried about Brandon Marshall, but you have to appreciate what he does as a No. 2. He was actually in a very similar situation in Denver not too long ago.
As a Bronco, he was in an offense led by Peyton Manning with Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker alongside him in the receiving corps. Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t even close to Manning’s stature, however, Decker’s workload under him was nearly identical. When you look back at that team, he was without a doubt the second or third option through the air.
Thomas was seeking a big pay day as the featured receiver while Welker was of course respected league-wide for what he accomplished as a member of the New England Patriots. Despite not getting as much targets as he could’ve under a legendary quarterback, Decker still racked up 87 catches for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns.
His 2015 stats (80 receptions for 1,027 yards and 12 touchdowns) don’t add up to his 2013 season when it comes to yards and catches, although he did miss Week 3 against the Philadelphia Eagles. If he had suited up, he would’ve came pretty close and more importantly, New York may have won the game. The Jets lost that match-up 24-17 and the offense certainly missed Decker’s presence as they logged one of their worst performances of the year.
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When the Minnesota product was healthy, it did the team wonders.
He truly never had a week in which he was unproductive. He had a mere two catches for 37 yards in the opener vs. the Cleveland Browns, yet one of those catches went for six points.
Decker found pay dirt in all but three of his 15 games and even in the contests that he didn’t score, he had at least 80 yards.
He gave the offense juice week after week and helped his teammates get involved as well.
Running back Chris Ivory was able to run strong since defenses were predominately expecting a pass play. Running back Bilal Powell also emerged towards the end of the season as a result of Gang Green’s efficient aerial attack.
As expected, the tight end position stayed quiet throughout the year because of how offensive coordinator Chan Gailey utilizes it. In a spread offense, you barely see a tight end as a receiving threat due to how slow most are compared to wideouts. You can’t exactly spread things out with a lack of speed.
The rest of the receiving corps did have some good moments thanks to the threat that Decker poses. Kenbrell Thompkins made a number of meaningful catches down the stretch of games and Quincy Enunwa molded himself into a solid target to hit over the middle of the field. The jury is still out on the injured Devin Smith, however another good year from Decker should get the ball rolling with him once he returns from his ACL tear.
Overall, the 29-year-old strung together a tremendous season that no one saw coming. Double-digit touchdowns and over 1,000 yards in an offense that was projected to be one of the worst in the NFL is outstanding. The Jets were waiting a long time for production on that side of the ball and Marshall’s partner in crime came through.