ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –When the Broncos struggled at the start of the season, wide receiver Eric Decker's confidence never wavered.
"We have the ability. We have the athletes," Decker said back in September. "It's about executing and coming together… just putting those three phases together and making a run."
Turns out he had reason to be confident.
The Broncos became just the third team in NFL history to win at least six consecutive games after starting a season 2-5 or worse as they stormed back to claim the 2011 AFC West title.
"We know what we are capable of doing. It's a matter of being consistent for a long period of time," Decker said. "You can have flashes but that doesn't make greatness. What makes greatness is being consistent week-in and week-out, preparing, watching film, taking care of your body nutrition wise. As a young team with some great veteran leaders, I think we can move forward in the right direction and use it as a building block."
Decker was a major contributor in his second season, recording eight touchdown catches and more than 600 yards receiving.
But he was unable to help the Broncos in their Divisional Round matchup in New England after suffering a knee sprain in the Wild Card round against Pittsburgh.
"I got pretty antsy at the house before the game started because I wanted to be out there," Decker said of missing the game against the Patriots. "I understand that injuries are part of the process."
"I'm taking it day-by-day," he added. "Now with some time off, you've just got to take it slowly and make sure you get it healed correctly."
Decker is looking forward to getting healthy and returning to Dove Valley for full offseason – something players didn't have due to last year's lockout.
The wideout believes more preseason will practice will be a great help for a young team looking to build off their recent success. "It will be nice for me personally (to have a full offseason), and I think this team, too, because we learned a lot about one another and now we know what our potential is," Decker said. "It's just a matter of executing and repetition and really finding what our strengths are and using those to our advantage."