After arguably the biggest free agent signing in franchise history, the Denver Broncos are ready to get to work on building a team around four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning that can contend for a Super Bowl next season and beyond. One player that stands to benefit the most from the arrival of Peyton Manning is up-and-coming wide receiver Eric Decker as he may very well turn out to be the number one target for the perennial Pro Bowler. He talked with Chad one on one in person about the signing, his game, why he’s in Portland and what his personal expectations are going forward.
Eric Decker was in town for his woman, Jessie James, a country artist who performed her new single “Military Man” in the Bing Lounge
at the ground level of the Pacwest building. Doing as any good boyfriend, fiancé, husband would do, Eric is touring with her, getting a chance to see what her world is like, bouncing from city to city on radio tours, while taking a small break away from football.
Born and raised in Minnesota, in addition to attending the University of Minnesota, Decker talks about his childhood growing up as a Vikings fan, his development into the player he is now, and the one he wants to be under the new Denver QB.
Before that, though, in January, Decker sustained a sprained medial collateral ligament against the Steelers in the wild card AFC playoff game in a vicious hit by Steelers linebacker James Harrison, known mostly for being fined repeatedly by the league. News for Harrison’s low hit on Decker actually came out more positively than it could have. A tear to the anterior cruciate ligament would have meant a long recovery period.
His rehab process took about a month and a half and he says he’s back to full strength, ready to begin his normal preseason conditioning a preparation, which has come to the forefront in recent weeks with the addition to a future HOF QB in Peyton Manning.
Eric Decker says he's been working out with new quarterback Peyton Manning for roughly a month and there's "no question" that Manning's arm strength is good enough to start in the NFL.
Decker said that he hasn't seen anything in the workouts that would lead him to believe Manning's arm strength has decreased due to four procedures on his neck."He's such a perfectionist. If he hits you in the belly button, he gets mad at himself for not hitting you in the chest. It's unbelievable to be around a guy who has those standards for himself."
Decker said he met Manning when the league's only four-time MVP came to visit the Broncos' facility during his brief free agency period.
"When I got to meet him face to face, the guy is just a class act. It’s cool to be around a guy with such a talent and level of expectation for himself and the guys around him"
Decker said Manning's reputation is well deserved.
"The way he talks about football, the way he runs drill work, routes, everything's gotta be perfect and there's no gray area. I think that, as a receiver, is the best thing about it. You got a leader that demands the best out of you because he gives the best he's got."
Decker talks with Chad about how Elway somehow managed to outdo his own legacy by bringing in Peyton Manning, in addition to how both names have preceded themselves.
The 25-year-old Decker caught 44 passes for 612 yards and eight touchdowns while working with quarterbacks Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow in Denver last season. Decker talks about being part of TebowMania and the advantages and disadvantages to what he called a “special” season. Now, though, under Peyton, how is that offense going to change and how can he adjust to the change. How will it be to adjust to the language, adapting to the system Manning works under and the concepts he runs.
What other talents does Decker have? Is he musically inclined like his lady Jesse James? And is getting up in front of a huge crowd to perform a song or catching a ball in a playoff game more nerve racking for the Minnesotan?
How can the hype in Denver get any greater? How does Decker break down the game, both of his own and for the Broncos as a whole? What would be a successful season for him and for the team? And what can we expect from the 3rd year receiver, #87?