The Titans are not counting on Decker to start, though he should be on the field alongside Rishard Matthews in the preseason opener because the rookie Corey Davis is recovering from a strained hamstring.
Titans Coach Mike Mularkey says he does not think Decker has any type of payback approach to this game.
“He’s going to try and operate at a high level for us with this new system that he’s in,” Mularkey said. “I think it would be more of ‘I don’t want to disappoint us’ than ‘try to wow them’ in my opinion. That’s just the personality the guy has.”
Decker played in only three games last season, catching nine passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns. He had surgery to repair a hip issue in October, and an operation in November to repair a torn rotator cuff.
The receiver says he feels great physically, taking advantage of the break from football.
“This is the best as far as strength and mobility and just everything I’ve felt for a long time, so I’m happy I took care of those things,” Decker said. “It’s unfortunate that it happened. Never want to be put on injured reserve or miss time and be away from the game. But at this point, I’m at a good place physically and mentally.”
Decker is also now with a team with a rising young quarterback in Mariota, who threw for 3,426 yards with 26 touchdowns and only nine interceptions last season. Mariota has a 93.8 passer rating through his first two N.F.L. seasons, putting him behind only Kurt Warner, Dan Marino, Nick Foles, Russell Wilson and Ben Roethlisberger for quarterbacks attempting at least 500 passes.
The wide receiver says Mariota has made his transition to Tennessee easy.
“He has good instincts, seems like he’s very comfortable with the system, puts us in spots to be successful and makes the right reads,” Decker said. “Our job is to just be at those spots where he expects us to be. We’re getting there. Making some good progress.”
Decker will work in the slot once…