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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

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