Eric Decker having trouble with drops at Patriots training camp: 'There’s no excuses for it'

Ryan Hannable
August 13, 2018 - 1:56 pm

FOXBORO -- Eric Decker has been with the Patriots just over a week and it's been an up-and-down transition to his new team.

One of the lows have come in the past few practices when Decker has had several drops, including in reps just with Tom Brady and no defense.

Decker discussed his drops following Monday morning's session.

“I mean, there’s no excuses for it,” Decker said. “It’s something I’ve obviously got to address, and that’s something you work through. In my mind, that’s why God created practice. It’s just to be able to get better and try to flush that out. But my job is to catch the football, so I’ve got to do better in that field.” 

(It is worth noting the coaching staff may have aided in making some of the balls slick, but it certainly didn't cause all of his drops.)

The veteran's troubles may be related to over-thinking as Andrew Hawkins, who joined the Patriots last offseason before retiring, noted on Twitter how joining the Patriots can make you focus so much on the little things, you forget how to do the routine things.

“It’s a work in progress,” Decker said. “I feel more comfortable with the playbook. Things are slowing down mentally. That’s one thing. I’ve just got to be able to get on the field and execute and just be able to kind of not think about things and just react. I’m getting there.” 

The 31-year-old was a free agent all offseason so perhaps the lack of live reps could be part of the reason for his miscues.

“I hadn’t been anywhere all offseason,” he said. “I got work training, but it’s not the same as simulating live against a defensive back, getting in the huddle, getting out of the huddle, running against a defense and executing. This is a process, and I’m just trying to get better every day.” 

Fortunately for Decker, after his drops early in the session he rebounded nicely and actually had a solid performance in 11-on-11 work.

“It’s part of the game,” he said. “We’re all human. We’re going to make mistakes. But don’t let it become a habit. Don’t let it happen over and over again. And this game is about mental toughness, so you’ve got to understand that you’ve got to bounce back, and they’re going to be asking you to respond. It’s not really what you do in that moment. It’s how you react to it. “I’ve played a lot of football. I’ve had a few drops in my days and many catches, as well. So I know how to bounce back and get to it.”

Decker is by no means a lock to make the roster, but if he shows he can grasp the playbook and develop chemistry with Brady, he should have no problems.

Related: Monday Patriots Training Camp Report: Tom Brady, Patriots offense struggle