Eric Decker looked and played every bit like the Jets expected him to when they made him their money signing of free agency as the wide receiver led the team with five receptions in a 19-14 win over the Raiders.
The excuse from last year that the Jets lacked weapons certainly doesn't seem to ring true anymore, especially based off Decker's solid debut in green and white. While he didn't get into the end zone, he stood out as the biggest target in the Jets' stable of receivers. And the timing couldn't have been better.
ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth said last week he saw Decker as a “marginal No. 2 at best” and that he didn't believe he was a top wide receiver. Decker did not respond with any anger during the week but instead put together a solid performance as his rebuttal.
“I kind of put that under wraps a few days ago. I'm not too worried about what people say,” Decker said. “The only thing I'm worried about is what my teammates think of me, what my coaching staff thinks of me. We go to battle together, we show up and work hard together. Their opinion is what matters to me.”
Decker finished the game with five receptions for 74 yards as he ran his trademark routes and showed quick hands. Also impressive was his downfield blocking, including a key block on Chris Ivory's 71-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Decker was greeted with loud cheers from Jets fans as he ran out of the tunnel for his debut game after four years spent with the Broncos. Some critics felt he was a product of a Peyton Manning offense and would be rather average with the Jets.
“I was nervous. But I think if you don't get nervous before a game, you shouldn't be in the locker room because that's just human nature,” Decker said. “I think added with that was a new a team, a new experience. It was good though that first drive got it out of me. I have to tell you, I love playing with these guys. I look forward to doing big things with these guys.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.