Jerricho Cotchery Continues To Be Steelers’ Rock

By Matthew Marczi

With such little positivity following a humiliating defeat, wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery did help provide just a sliver of sunshine for sullen Pittsburgh Steelers fans, as he continued to expand upon his excellent third season in the organization.

As expected this offseason, Cotchery has taken on a far more prominent role after inheriting the primary slot position following the departure of Mike Wallace in free agency. He has most certainly made the most of it.

In just half a season, Cotchery has already far surpassed his numbers from his previous two seasons.

In 2011, Cotchery was targeted 27 times in total, catching 16 passes for a completion percentage of 59.3. He amassed 237 yard and two touchdowns, dropping one pass and breaking three tackles.

Last season, Cotchery received 26 targets, yielding 17 of them, which was good for a completion percentage of 65.4. He had just 204 yards, however, and failed to score a touchdown while accounting for two drops.

This season is a much different story.

In eight games, Ben Roethlisberger has already looked Cotchery’s way 41 times, and the veteran receiver has really stepped up, bringing in 29 of those passes for a completion percentage of 70.7. He already has 424 yards while averaging 14.6 yards per reception. But most importantly, he leads the team with five touchdowns, and has only dropped a single pass this season.

In fact, if we go back to week three, we find that Cotchery has caught 22 of 25 passes thrown his direction, which equates to a completion percentage of 88. He had his first career 100-yard game since joining the Steelers against the Minnesota Vikings, and nearly had a second on Sunday, finishing with 96 yards.

Biggest of all: he had the first three-touchdown game of his entire career.

Cotchery has been so impressive this season, especially coming off this past game, that he has shot up the rankings list at Pro Football Focus and now stands 11th in their wide receiver ratings with a grade of 8.5. Only Cincinnati Bengals receiver Marvin Jones has earned a higher grade in less snaps than Cotchery. The site also notes that he earned the highest WR Rating (QB Rating targeting the WR) of the week with a rating of 156.3—near perfect.

Surprising exactly nobody, Cotchery earns a strong grade for his blocking, ranking fourth in the league at the position with a grade of 2.9. The veteran receiver has been showing all season that he still has it, and the naysayers who were demanding Markus Wheaton take over the slot have been eerily silent of late.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • I must say he served me a slice of humble pie

  • steeltown

    I sure hope he is offered another 1-2yr modest deal this offseason…even if the Steelers draft another WR in the early-mid Rds it would be ideal to have that rookie gradually assimilate into the Offense with Brown, Wheaton and Cotchery

  • cencalsteeler

    Have to bring this guy back. He is just as important to this organization off the field, than he is on it.

  • HopalongCassidy

    He should be the No.2 wide receiver based upon his performance.

  • no threat to stretch the field

  • sean mcmartin

    They have to keep him. add another sure handed TE or WR and the Offense gets better (on paper at least)

  • JohnnyV1

    I have never had a bad thing to say about Jerricho Cotchery. I’m glad they have him and hope they bring him back in 2014. Remember all the talk about Steve Breaston, on this site? That is laughable. JC all the way!

  • Steve

    He may no be a deep threat but with 3 TD’s this past week, thats what counts.

  • Steve

    I am with you Hop-a-long, Sanders can’t hold onto the ball.

  • Bob Loblaw

    Neither was Ward.

  • Eric

    Cotchery is playing great and his price tag is reasonable. He still has a couple of years to go before age is an issue. Assuming Cotchery stays and Sanders leaves, we could add Justin Brown for some more height and use Wheaton more, which replaces Sanders speed. I would not recommend drafting another WR in the first 4 rounds with that scenario. I also hope Moye gets more targets, especially if we see the red zone again this season.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Matt there is no question that Cotch has performed well and he has a place on this team but no one will ever confuse him with the take to the house speed Wheaton has and would be a nice infusion into the lineup.

  • alex

    always liked Cotch…dont know why it took so long for him to be used effectively given he came from a run first team like NYJ…

    hes a veteran, a little bigger then our 6′ 180s boys, and hes not a gerk when he makes a catch for a first down!

  • RMSteeler

    Wouldn’t be surprised if Ben didn’t get JC more involved after the recent drops by Sanders. Heath doesn’t seem the same the last couple of games either.Haley didn’t know what a tool he had in JC last year, or what the loss of Ward caused in possession downs. Tomlin should have pushed Haley for more possession plays with JC, but it seems more and more that Tomlin is oblivious to synchronizing the coaches and just watches the days go by with his arms crossed.

  • Brendon Glad

    He’s been a bright spot, for sure. If a debate were to be started, “Sanders, Cotchery, both, or neither?”…for the 2014 season, Cotchery is definitely making his case felt.
    I’d prefer a little more variety to the WR core…but they’ve won SB’s with 3 6’0” possession WR’s before…
    so even though I get frustrated as Ben drops a 35 yard deep fade or 9 route on the mark, and our smallish WR’s never bring it down…I’ve seen Steelers SB’s won without having that in the arsenal, so I tend to wonder about the other parts that look more different more than the WR’s.
    And Cotchery has continued to impress me.

  • stairman

    He has been there waiting for his opportunity. Im sure he was very frustrated, knowig what he is capable of. Seems Ben, MT, & TH are discovering Cotch’s value now. He is sure handed valuable possession wr.

  • Ahmad

    Well if he keeps it up, he might earn himself another short term contract.