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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

PLAYER TARG REC REC % YDS TD FD FD/REC % FD/TARG %
Marques Colston 225 141 62.70% 2127 18 123 87.20% 54.70%
Patrick Crayton 158 105 66.50% 1485 9 84 80.00% 53.20%
Hines Ward 243 145 59.70% 1753 20 129 89.00% 53.10%
Brandon Stokley 187 118 63.10% 1490 12 98 83.10% 52.40%
Greg Jennings 189 117 61.90% 2130 20 99 84.60% 52.40%
Reggie Wayne 347 207 59.70% 2997 20 180 87.00% 51.90%
T.J. Houshmandzadeh 264 168 63.60% 1918 11 133 79.20% 50.40%
Roddy White 336 200 59.50% 2988 17 168 84.00% 50.00%
Wes Welker 288 182 63.20% 2123 12 145 79.10% 50.00%
Jabar Gaffney 193 108 56.00% 1434 7 93 86.10% 48.20%
Donald Driver 290 169 58.30% 2405 18 140 82.20% 47.90%
Derrick Mason 308 190 61.70% 2318 14 147 77.40% 47.70%
Randy Moss 205 105 51.20% 1761 30 97 92.40% 47.30%
Jerricho Cotchery 238 141 59.20% 1755 7 112 79.40% 47.10%
Dwayne Bowe 219 126 57.50% 1777 11 103 81.70% 47.00%
Anquan Boldin 299 177 59.20% 2290 14 140 79.10% 46.80%
Antwaan Randle El 172 105 61.00% 1270 5 79 75.20% 45.90%
Laveranues Coles 229 128 55.90% 1568 12 105 82.00% 45.90%
Muhsin Muhammad 190 100 52.60% 1322 14 87 87.00% 45.80%
Isaac Bruce 178 97 54.50% 1363 6 82 83.50% 45.50%
Nate Burleson 195 101 51.80% 1283 17 88 87.10% 45.10%
Kevin Walter 157 97 61.80% 1022 4 70 72.20% 44.60%
James Jones 158 87 55.10% 1285 11 70 80.50% 44.30%
Vincent Jackson 186 91 48.90% 1716 14 82 90.10% 44.10%
Deion Branch 187 103 55.10% 1374 10 83 79.60% 43.90%
Andre Johnson 264 148 56.10% 1931 17 115 77.70% 43.60%
Davone Bess 203 130 64.00% 1337 7 88 67.70% 43.30%
Santonio Holmes 215 110 51.20% 1788 12 93 84.50% 43.30%
Steve Smith 281 150 53.40% 2350 18 120 79.30% 42.30%
Torry Holt 219 117 53.40% 1631 8 92 78.60% 42.00%
Chad Johnson 269 120 44.60% 1744 11 113 94.20% 42.00%
Larry Fitzgerald 325 170 52.30% 2235 18 137 80.00% 41.80%
Nate Washington 198 103 52.00% 1428 12 83 79.60% 41.40%
Brandon Marshall 286 158 55.20% 2148 17 118 74.70% 41.30%
Calvin Johnson 257 122 47.50% 1949 10 107 86.90% 41.20%
Braylon Edwards 216 103 47.70% 1546 13 87 84.50% 40.30%
Bryant Johnson 162 80 49.40% 998 6 66 81.30% 40.10%
Lee Evans 197 101 51.30% 1626 16 78 77.20% 39.60%
Terrell Owens 243 120 49.40% 1940 17 95 79.20% 39.10%
Michael Jenkins 197 104 52.80% 1329 12 77 74.00% 39.10%
Plaxico Burress 194 88 45.40% 1375 18 76 85.20% 38.70%
Santana Moss 303 154 50.80% 2075 14 117 75.30% 38.30%
Roy E. Williams 186 86 46.20% 1292 11 71 82.60% 38.20%
Michael Crabtree 157 91 58.00% 1063 7 59 64.80% 37.60%
Joey Galloway 161 71 44.10% 1161 11 60 84.50% 37.30%
Chris Chambers 224 100 44.60% 1462 14 83 83.00% 37.10%
Brandon Lloyd 203 85 41.90% 1182 8 75 88.20% 36.90%
Antonio Bryant 164 76 46.30% 1179 4 59 77.60% 36.00%
Marty Booker 165 68 41.20% 1000 6 52 76.50% 31.50%
Bernard Berrian 176 73 41.50% 1036 7 54 74.00% 30.70%
Bobby Wade 156 70 44.90% 719 3 45 64.30% 28.80%

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About Dave Bryan

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,

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