Steelers WR Jerricho Cotchery Is Jerricho Clutchery On Third Downs

Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery is quietly entering his third year with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he hasn\’t been quiet when it comes to making chain moving third downs in his previous two seasons with the team.

Cotchery, who will turn 31 years old in June, has registered 14 third down catches for 187 yards since arriving in Pittsburgh with 13 of those catches resulting in either a first down or a touchdown.

Last season alone, Cotchery caught 8 of 12 passes thrown his way on third down for a 66.7% completion ratio, which led all the Steelers eligible receivers who were targeted more than seven times on the money down.

Being clutch on third down in Pittsburgh, however, is nothing new for Cotchery. During his eight seasons with the New York Jets, 99 of his 127 third down catches (78%) produced first downs or touchdowns.

To better put into perspective what Cotchery has been able to do since coming into the league in 2004, there are 51 wide receivers who have been targeted 150 more times or more on third downs over the course of the last nine years and Cotchery ranks 14th overall on that list when it comes to third down conversions per target ratio with a 47.1% number.

While I admit that the stat above comes off as cherry picked and somewhat subjective, keep in mind who the quarterbacks in New York were that threw third down passes while Cotchery was there. It\’s a long list that includes Chad Pennington, Mark Sanchez, Brett Favre, Kellen Clemens, Brooks Bollinger, Vinny Testaverde, Quincy Carter, Jay Fiedler and Mark Brunell.

In case you are curious, Cotchery\’s third down conversions per target ratio since arriving in Pittsburgh is 56.5%.

Now, I am very excited about rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton, as I truly believe he can blossom into a solid all-around pass catcher, but it will take some time for him to do that. While having to miss out on the OTA\’s and mandatory mini camp might not seem like a big deal, it is, and Cotchery himself admitted this past week that those missed reps were ones that Wheaton will never get back. They will catch him up as best as they can in training camp, but it will take some time before he can play at full speed.

Until Wheaton is ready, Cotchery should be able to serve as a stop gap third down contributor. He\’s not flashy at all, but he is Clutchery when it comes to needing the chains moved on third downs.

Sortable 2004-2012 Wide Receivers 3rd Down Reception Stats Minimum 150 Targets Per Pro football Reference

PLAYERTARGRECREC %YDSTDFDFD/REC %FD/TARG %
Marques Colston22514162.70%21271812387.20%54.70%
Patrick Crayton15810566.50%148598480.00%53.20%
Hines Ward24314559.70%17532012989.00%53.10%
Brandon Stokley18711863.10%1490129883.10%52.40%
Greg Jennings18911761.90%2130209984.60%52.40%
Reggie Wayne34720759.70%29972018087.00%51.90%
T.J. Houshmandzadeh26416863.60%19181113379.20%50.40%
Roddy White33620059.50%29881716884.00%50.00%
Wes Welker28818263.20%21231214579.10%50.00%
Jabar Gaffney19310856.00%143479386.10%48.20%
Donald Driver29016958.30%24051814082.20%47.90%
Derrick Mason30819061.70%23181414777.40%47.70%
Randy Moss20510551.20%1761309792.40%47.30%
Jerricho Cotchery23814159.20%1755711279.40%47.10%
Dwayne Bowe21912657.50%17771110381.70%47.00%
Anquan Boldin29917759.20%22901414079.10%46.80%
Antwaan Randle El17210561.00%127057975.20%45.90%
Laveranues Coles22912855.90%15681210582.00%45.90%
Muhsin Muhammad19010052.60%1322148787.00%45.80%
Isaac Bruce1789754.50%136368283.50%45.50%
Nate Burleson19510151.80%1283178887.10%45.10%
Kevin Walter1579761.80%102247072.20%44.60%
James Jones1588755.10%1285117080.50%44.30%
Vincent Jackson1869148.90%1716148290.10%44.10%
Deion Branch18710355.10%1374108379.60%43.90%
Andre Johnson26414856.10%19311711577.70%43.60%
Davone Bess20313064.00%133778867.70%43.30%
Santonio Holmes21511051.20%1788129384.50%43.30%
Steve Smith28115053.40%23501812079.30%42.30%
Torry Holt21911753.40%163189278.60%42.00%
Chad Johnson26912044.60%17441111394.20%42.00%
Larry Fitzgerald32517052.30%22351813780.00%41.80%
Nate Washington19810352.00%1428128379.60%41.40%
Brandon Marshall28615855.20%21481711874.70%41.30%
Calvin Johnson25712247.50%19491010786.90%41.20%
Braylon Edwards21610347.70%1546138784.50%40.30%
Bryant Johnson1628049.40%99866681.30%40.10%
Lee Evans19710151.30%1626167877.20%39.60%
Terrell Owens24312049.40%1940179579.20%39.10%
Michael Jenkins19710452.80%1329127774.00%39.10%
Plaxico Burress1948845.40%1375187685.20%38.70%
Santana Moss30315450.80%20751411775.30%38.30%
Roy E. Williams1868646.20%1292117182.60%38.20%
Michael Crabtree1579158.00%106375964.80%37.60%
Joey Galloway1617144.10%1161116084.50%37.30%
Chris Chambers22410044.60%1462148383.00%37.10%
Brandon Lloyd2038541.90%118287588.20%36.90%
Antonio Bryant1647646.30%117945977.60%36.00%
Marty Booker1656841.20%100065276.50%31.50%
Bernard Berrian1767341.50%103675474.00%30.70%
Bobby Wade1567044.90%71934564.30%28.80%

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Shea Fahr

    Other than TDs, he is basically the Ward replacement with percentages, yards and conversions. A solid human being as well.

  • Michael Mazanowski

    Oh I see what you did there with the Clutchery and all like that! Lol!

  • Maureen A Gomes

    Nice to see Jerricho being respected for his “clutch” plays. I was so excited when he signed that one year deal two years ago and then re-signed for two more. He doesn’t get utilized nearly enough. Hope he has the chance this year to do some damage.

  • TJimmy

    I like the guy and all but was he used much on 1st and 2nd down? And wouldn’t that skew the numbers a bit?

  • NW86

    I was about to post how he has always reminded me of Hines when it comes to those clutch 3rd down catches. Then I saw who was 3rd on that list! ;-)

    And yes, I’ve thought all along that Cotch was under used in last years and would do fine as #3 this year. Wheaton can be a solid #4 and be used in certain packages as the year progresses.

  • SteelersDepot

    Um, all of these stats are 3rd down. Did I not make that clear enough for you?

  • TJimmy

    Sorry Dave. I read your story on a smartphone while standing in a checkout lane and didn’t read it carefully enough. Good article; I hope he continues his Clutchery ways.

  • Mike.H

    As “STOUT” as Cotchery is; at times I wonder why his numbers weren’t called more. Wink to Haley… “sent”, ding.

  • charles

    Cotchery like Starks quietly comes to work. Both did the job they were hired to do very well. We have a very lunch pail recieving corp…even Plastico seems to have lost his Randy Moss antics. Combo of new coach and getting rid of Wallace I hope does well, we will need this Wheaton kid to spread the field. I hope like Hell that I am wrong, but he distinctly makes me think of Wallace….

  • alex

    finally some Cotch love…Mr. 3rd down veteran, quite pro performer, Cotch sounds like a fine Ward replacement…

  • YardJet

    So I guess they’re not going to give him back yet. The Jets offense fell apart when he left – when you have a QB whose throws could end up anywhere you need a guy like this to go get it.

  • steeltown

    Yep, have always liked the Cotchery signing.. some say he’s not good or no longer capable, but that’s BS he’s been great on 3rd downs and as mentioned above he is clutch when you need it.

  • steeltown

    Agreed

  • Bennny

    Cotch is dearly missed back in NY,