Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – WR Jerricho Cotchery

By Matthew Marczi

End-of-season player exit meetings are not something that we are often privy to as outsiders of the football world. Generally, we only get a glimpse into that world when a player is asked by a reporter how the meeting went, if the player is willing to discuss it.

Still, it’s not generally a hard concept to grasp, and we have a pretty good feel by now of how Mike Tomlin and his staff likes to operate, and we see all the game film, so it’s not an overly difficult project to simulate. If we were to administer the end-of-season player exit meetings, it might go something like this.

Player: Jerricho Cotchery

Position: Wide Receiver

Experience: 11 Years

Though usually not technically ‘starters’, depending on how teams like to play, the slot receiver and the nickel back are two of the most underappreciated ‘positions’ in football, both in terms of how they are generally viewed and, more importantly to the players themselves, how they’re compensated financially.

In the case of the Pittsburgh Steelers, it wouldn’t take much following a season such as this past one to sell the fan base on the importance of the slot receiver, and the reason for that is, of course, the performance of that slot receiver, Jerricho Cotchery.

Not only did Cotchery end up bailing out Ben Roethlisberger time and time again on third downs and when under pressure, he did what slot receivers are very rarely able to do, which is lead the team in touchdown receptions. Cotchery had 10 touchdown receptions in 2013, which was by far his career-high.

Because he was buried in the wide receiver depth chart over the past few seasons that included Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, and the final season for Hines Ward, it wasn’t until this past year at the age of 31 that Cotchery really got the opportunity to contribute significantly in Pittsburgh.

In fact, he more than doubled the total number of receptions, receiving yards, and, of course, touchdowns that he had in his first two seasons here combined. The only downer was a head-scratching end-around that went for -5 yards.

Despite playing nearly 650 snaps—only about 160 snaps fewer than Sanders—Cotchery didn’t draw a single penalty. More importantly, he was an excellent blocker for the position, particularly on the many screens that the Steelers like to run with their small, speedy wide receivers.

Though he seemed to have a bit of an issue holding on to the ball toward the end of the season when the weather got worse, that was certainly uncharacteristic of Cotchery’s game, and shouldn’t be taken as an indication of things moving forward.

More importantly, Cotchery brings a level of authority and leadership that is a good asset for the team as a whole, and for the wideout room in particular. The room is only going to continue to get younger, with Markus Wheaton likely playing a prominent role in 2014 and the high probability of the team drafting another receiver this year. Even Brown is only 25 until July. Cotchery is basically a coach’s assistant on the field. He is certainly a priority free agent to re-sign.

Previous Articles In This Series
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – QB Ben Roethlisberger
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – WR Antonio Brown
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – WR Emmanuel Sanders
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – TE Heath Miller
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – T Marcus Gilbert
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – G David DeCastro
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – G Ramon Foster
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – T Kelvin Beachum
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – RB Le’Veon Bell
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – C Fernando Velasco
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – FB Will Johnson
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – DE Brett Keisel
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – NT Steve McLendon
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – DE Cameron Heyward
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – OLB LaMarr Woodley
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – OLB Jason Worilds
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – ILB Lawrence Timmons
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – ILB Vince Williams
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – CB Ike Taylor
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – CB William Gay
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – S Troy Polamalu
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – S Ryan Clark

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

    Sign him sign him sign him… no question, a leader and excellent role model for a group that is young and about to get even younger. I don’t care if he only gets 2TDs next season, he is an excellent blocker, clutch 3rd down target and a veteran leader on this Team.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    And most important of all; less wear and no sign of slowing down. He very might be well our next James Harrison, age and athlete-wise. James Harrison was a late bloomer, Cotchery- not so quite but contribution was very minimal and he’s now showing much more so its also hard to analyze a sample of this and previous few seasons to see whether he have that longevity.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Yes, sir! Great value signing this guy.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Definitely Ben’s second security blanket behind Miller….I like him as a mentor as well…with Wheaton and likely another rookie from this draft they could use some veteran experience.

  • JT

    A guy like Cotch makes another WR less of a NEED at 15 and more of a luxury, IMO. You’ve got your solid #1 in AB locked up, a promising rook in Wheaton, and clutch target in Cotch. Get a big kid in 4 or 5. WR is practically deep with bodies when compared to CB, S, or arguably OLB depending on how things shake out.

  • AndyR34

    I’m becoming more attracted to this draft strategy, even though it looks like we are putting all of our eggs in the Wheaton basket…and he hasn’t really shown anything, plus he is always injured…the rap on Emmanuel…and don’t anybody start saying it’s different because it is not. Nevertheless the FO appears to be making a bet on Wheaton, unless they go out and get a Sanders replacement in FA…something I wouldn’t be surprised about; sort of a Cotchery redux.

  • JT

    It’s pretty damn harsh to throw an “always injured” tag on Wheaton already. He had a REALLY bad broken finger, which would be tough for any WR to overcome. Let alone one already behind a TD machine like Cotchery last year on the depth chart.

  • AndyR34

    Oh…I truly agree…however, that didn’t stop people from saying that about Sanders!

  • LayDownTheHammer

    All those delusional people who want to draft a WR with a high draft pick SEVERELY underestimate this guy. Solid hands, route-running, red-zone target, size, and intangibles. He is a humble and down-to-earth man and a consummate professional. If he is not worthy of being the #3 WR then get the lenses readjusted.

  • Douglas Andrews

    We definitely need him for our young WR’s. Glad the young money crew is almost busted up. With a Vet like Cotchery he’ll continue to add some much needed leadership in our WR room.

  • Shawn Winbush

    they said that about Sanders because he was injured bac-to-back years..not just his rookie year like Wheaton.not the same thing.

  • AndyR34

    Not so…it was one injury to his foot that they tried to rehab without surgery, but it didn’t work. Surgery ensued and the rehab lasted into his second year. Unfortunately, the facts don’t fit the narrative that some want to spin about Sanders.

  • dkoy85

    Everybody is enamored with the idea of a big bodied receiver… myself included. Evans is not the answer and who knows if Benjamin is. One reason Cotchery had the touchdowns was because he was a miss match nightmare as the #3/4 receiver(if you include Miller). As the #2 who knows if he would have the same production and the verdict is still out on Wheaton. I think Wheaton will be the real deal but the need is still there. An early pick in rounds 1-3 makes sense.

  • LayDownTheHammer

    Wheaton will go to #2 but people’s arguments against that is only that they haven’t seen much of him. I think that xenophobia is unwarranted as long as he stays healthy. I don’t buy the height argument because Moye does the same thing for you…wonder why Ben still clamors for a tall WR (hint: size ain’t everything it’s cracked up to be)