Signing a one-year deal with the New England Patriots, 31-year-old wide receiver Eric Decker not only brings experience, he brings championship experience.
Prior to signing his one-year deal with the New England Patriots, Eric Decker made a whole lot of sense for the team, especially given the state of their wide receiver depth.
In reality, it’s not that the Patriots don’t have the bodies at the position, they just have many question marks that may or may not work out. After releasing Jordan Matthews due to injury and losing Julian Edelman for the first four games of the season, Tom Brady’s bunch is as uncertain as they have ever been.
A lot of that can change depending on the status of Malcolm Mitchell and whether or not players like Kenny Britt and Cordarrelle Patterson catch on. How well Eric Decker picks up the offense will also play a huge factor.
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At 31 years old, the veteran receiver is not the player he was during his days catching the ball from Peyton Manning, but his size and experience will give Brady a reliable option depending on how he is used. That’s where his prior experience playing under Josh McDaniels will factor in.
Expect the team to utilize Decker’s route running experience by lining him up in different spots on the field, including the slot. In doing so, Tom Brady will take advantage of any matchup advantages Decker creates, especially when Rob Gronkowski is on the field.
Chris Hogan, who will suddenly enter the season as the longest-tenured receiver, recognizes what Eric Decker brings to the table as far as skill. In fact, Hogan is a player who has studied Decker early in his career.
"“He’s [Eric Decker] a good player,” Hogan said, as transcribed by the Boston Herald. “I know he catches the ball well. Earlier on in my career, I tried to watch different guys and how they run routes. I definitely used to watch him. He’s a good route runner, (I’m) excited that he’s here.”"
Overall, his experience and knowledge should help some of the other receivers like Braxton Berrios, Phillip Dorsett, Cordarrelle Patterson and Riley McCarron find cohesion with Tom Brady. And once Eric Decker catches up himself and forms his own connection with the great quarterback, it will be like having another coach out there on the field.
Julian Edelman grinding it out
The New England Patriots offense should be just fine when Julian Edelman returns after serving his four-game suspension to start the season.
Still, it could take him a few games to get back into football form after missing the entire 2017 season due to an ACL tear. Although he physically looks good, Edelman’s greatest battle is age. Entering the season at 31 years old himself, Brady’s top target finds himself working harder and putting in extra hours to get his legs under him and get to where he wants to be.
"“You just keep on going out and you grind,” Edelman said regarding his progress. “You keep on when you’re tired, when you don’t feel well. You got to be able to perform when things aren’t going great and that’s what this does. That’s what eight days in a row does, and that’ what going out in training camp [does].”"
While Julian Edelman admits he doesn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel at the moment, the relentless nature he approaches the game with will make him a factor when it really matters for the New England Patriots.