When the 2009 season started the New York Jets made the decision to have Jerricho Cotchery be their number one receiver. He responded with 23 receptions for 356 yards and a touchdown in the team’s first four games, averaging out about 6 receptions and 88 yards each week. The team then traded for Braylon Edwards, minimizing Cotchery’s role. Despite this, dealing with a hamstring injury, and the Jets dramatically scaling back their playbook he still finished with four games with over 68 yards receiving the rest of the year, en route t0 821 total yards.
When the playoffs started, Cotchery pulled in 6 receptions for 67 yards in the wild-card game against Cincinnati, four went for first downs and two converted third downs. The following week he only had 3 receptions for 25 yards, yet two of those receptions converted third downs. He also drew a pass interference penalty on a third down to move the chains.
In the 2009 AFC Championship Game, Cotchery led the team with 5 receptions for 102 yards. all five of those receptions went for first downs and three of them converted third downs.
We all know last season wasn’t Cotchery’s finest year. He struggled with drops and finished with only 433 yards and 2 touchdowns. We later found out he played the whole season with a herniated disc. He also dealt with a groin injury mid-season, which didn’t stop him from making plays like this –
When the playoffs came around, Cotchery only had 2 receptions for 17 yards in the wild-card win against Indianapolis, yet one of those catches again converted a third down. The following week in the divisional round was his best performance of the year, as he led the team with 5 receptions for 96 yards, including a momentum turning 58 yard reception to start the fourth quarter. Four of his receptions were for first downs and two converted third downs.
In the AFC Championship Game, Cotchery had 5 receptions for 33 yards. Three of them were for first downs and two converted third downs.
Are you detecting a trend here? Forget about being flashy and forget about stats. Jerricho Cotchery moves the chains when it matters the most. He has converted 12 third downs in the Jets six playoff games over the past two years. After a difficult 2010 season, he still managed to lead the team in receiving during their divisional round win.
The bottom line is that Cotchery is a clutch, reliable player who is exactly the type of guy a young quarterback like Mark Sanchez needs in the huddle. It would be an extremely poor decision to trade him and assume a journeyman like Patrick Turner or a fifth round rookie, like Jeremy Kerley, could replace him. Never mind the fact that we don’t know if Plaxico Burress is even ready to be a full time number two receiver.