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5 Minutes with Eric Decker

The Broncos’ WR talks playoffs, preseason expectations, and what makes Peyton’s pass special.


(Photo by Mark Reis/ Landov)

The Broncos have had a pretty astonishing season. Did you, as a team, think you would have this degree of success?
Yeah, I think everyone in the locker room was excited about what we were potentially capable of doing. Last year we made the playoffs and beat Pittsburgh, and we had a lot of pieces already in place. What the front office did and the organization did in terms of bringing in Peyton Manning, Keith Brooking - all these guys that have played a lot of football - completed our team. We were able to find our identity and play really well together.

What has the difference been having one of the best arms in football throwing to you? 
He throws a great ball. What I like about his ball is that he always makes it catchable, but he puts it on you when he has to. Accuracy is obviously his big thing and he puts the ball into spaces other quarterbacks can’t.

You came out of the gate click with Manning, is the adjustment period so short because he is so talented?
We signed him in the offseason and from day one I wanted to build that relationship and try to improve myself, and I think that paid off. All the time we spent after practice and in the film room, a lot of those things showed on the field performance-wise, and I think that’s why we were able to pick up so quickly.

Has it been easier to focus on football this season?
Yeah, and I think Coach Fox has been a big part of that – making sure that guys are focused and keeping the mentality of “one day at a time” and “just keep getting better.” Not looking ahead, just consistently doing better in practice. I think Peyton is a great example of pushing himself to the limit and making sure that his teammates around him are giving it all they got. That’s something that we’ve really preached this year – play football, and the big things will take care of themselves.

The first half of your season was so difficult while the second half has been significantly easier. How did that shape your season?
I think playing all those playoff teams in the beginning allowed us to find our identity and go through the ups and downs – figure out what we need to get better at and figure out what our strengths were. Those experiences really built trust amongst the teammates and created a team identity. Once we figured out who we wanted to be and that we wanted to win games, we carried that for the last 11 weeks.

You’ve gone from a good team last year to a dominant team this year. Other than Peyton, what factors have pushed this team to the level you are at?
The biggest thing was how they kept us in shape curing the offseason. You see a lot of teams struggle with guys keeping their weight and muscle on in the offseason. For us this year that was a big focus - keeping muscle mass on so we can keep our endurance until the end of the year. That’s something we credit our success to.

You’re nominated for a VIZIO Top Value Performer Award. How does it feel to get recognized for outplaying what people expected of you? 
Overall it’s pretty humbling to be recognized for the work this season. The work we did as a team, the record we have, the statistics we put up as a team helped me a lot individually. It’s very cool to get recognized.

Coming into this year, what did you expect for yourself personally?
I was excited because of Peyton coming and how consistent and successful he’s been throughout his career. As a young receiver, the more work you put in, the more you get out of it with him. Overall, my game has improved so much from being able to play with him and learn from him on a daily basis. He just makes me a better receiver and that helped me max out on expectations.

Who do you think is the most underrated player? Someone you hate to match up with?
I think Brandon Flowers for KC is a great cornerback, one of the best in the league. I don’t think he made the Pro Bowl and I don’t think he gets as much credit as he should. It’s hard when you’re on a losing team – but he’s one of the hardest matchups every year.

What we learned in the Wild Card round. 
Slow-motion cheerleaders.

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