Let’s all ease up on Eric Decker, shan’t we?

Hey, so everyone knows the Broncos are 1-0 and dropped seven touchdowns on the champs, right?

One might think Eric Decker had threatened John Elway's life on Thursday, given the calls for him to be demoted from the starting lineup.

Indeed, he had a very rough night, dropping three passes, fumbling a fourth one out of bounds, and drawing an offensive pass interference call, good for a minus-5.5 grade from PFF.

But while his looks helped earn him a reality-TV gig, Decker has never been a poster child for mistake-free football.

After all, this is the guy who had the second-worst drop rate in the NFL 2011, and its fifth-worst of 2012, according to PFF.

Also, this.

Denver fans have never really seen Eric Decker for what he is - a very good receiver, but neither a take-the-top-off-a-defense guy, nor a limited possession guy.

As a rookie, he was called the next Ed McCaffrey; partly because he had Easy Ed's old number, and you can presumably figure out the rest. If not, think about Travis McGriff, Nate Jackson, David Kircus, and the rest of the Next Eddie Mac Club.

In 2011, Decker's image vacillated between Tim Tebow's favorite target (which was never the case, even if he was responsible in one game for 50% of Tebow's completions and 81% of his yards) and droptastic clod.

Last year, he got to play with a QB at the other end of the spectrum, to the tune of 85 catches and 13 touchdowns.

Suddenly, Decker was seen as a Pro Bowl snub, a breakout star, and a guy the Broncos absolutely had to re-sign prior to entering free agency in 2014.

Eric Decker has never been any of these things.

He's neither the next Eddie Mac, an uncoordinated klutz, nor an indispensable weapon without whom the Broncos cannot win.

Our guess is he leaves for richer pastures next year.

Until then, he's going to play a significant role in helping the Broncos win a lot of games in 2013.

Decker will score some big touchdowns, and perhaps even their biggest one, on sport's grandest stage. Opposing DCs know this, and will game plan him appropriately. If/when they don't, he will punish them accordingly.

But we shouldn't start to expect perfect technical football from Decker.

We also shouldn't anticipate that Thursday's derpfest will become habit.

Eric Decker is likely always going to make more mistakes than any of us would prefer, but he's also going to make big plays, and Denver fans should just accept him for what he is - not quite a star, and not a role player, but a guy who makes the Broncos better.

Isn't that enough from a third-round pick who will make just $1.323M this season?

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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