Eric Decker said many emotions were in play as the Jets' 2015 season came to an end in Buffalo.
"Well, it was an exciting year, I think," the star wideout said on the Jets' radio show, "Inside the Jets," last week. "It's frustrating and it's tough because we were in the situation to go to the playoffs. To win and get in, that's all you can ask for at that point."
The Jets made significant strides on both side of the ball during head coach Todd Bowles' first season at the helm. They finished the year ranked fourth in the NFL on defense and 10th on offense.
Even though the season was productive, Decker and his teammates received a strict message from Coach Bowles before leaving the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center for the offseason.
"We made some strides," Decker said that Coach Bowles told the team. "This isn't good enough, don't be comfortable with 10-6 and don't be comfortable with just being better than last year. We have some places to go and that's being a Super Bowl team. We kind of set our mark here and the expectations are going to be so much greater going into next year. We just have to be ready to roll when we meet up in April again."
Decker is no stranger to hard work and making it to the biggest game in the NFL after playing in Super Bowl XLVIII with the Broncos. The 6'3", 214-pounder believes the Jets are on the right path.
"I always look back to my experience in Denver when we went to the Super Bowl," he said. "I felt like we had that same vibe, that same feeling in the locker room where there were no big egos, everyone respected one another, and everyone knew their roles. We believed and trusted in one another and that's what it was this year."
"To be honest, getting to the Super Bowl is a fine line," added Decker. "Every team is so good in this league. I think the talent wise we are definitely there. I think the foundation has been set this year. With the attitude, the mentally that Coach Bowles has brought in. Now it comes down to execution and that's on us players. Knowing what our roles are and doing our jobs to the best of our abilities."
Throughout 2015, the Jets experienced their fair share of ups and downs. But after getting off to a fast 4-1 start, Decker felt like the Jets had to grow up fast during their 1-4 midseason slump.
"I think from the start of the season, we slowly figured each other out, and I think when you go through some hard times, it really brings out the character and the best of you," said Decker. "The guys leaned on one another and we came together. I tell you what, those five games that we won in a row was some of the most fun I had playing football.
"It was so much fun this year coming to work every day. Especially when you're winning football games it becomes that much more fun."
Decker broke the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the third time in his career and the first time as a Jet. The Minnesota product would go on to finish with 80 receptions for 1,027 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Happy but not satisfied with the success he gained, Decker hopes the disappointing end to the Jets' season, the 22-17 loss in Orchard Park, NY, will add fuel to the offseason fire.
"It's a hard one to swallow and obviously it's going to be tough throughout the offseason," he said. "Hopefully a lot of guys can use this as motivation to come back next year bigger and stronger."