With the Jets’ acquisition of Santonio Holmes from Pittsburgh last Sunday, the run-heavy philosophy that drove 2009’s success is officially in question, and Jerricho Cotchery is ecstatic about the possibilities.
After spending Wednesday morning showcasing Reebok’s ZigTech sneaker for the media at the Reebok Sports Club in Lincoln Square, the seventh-year receiver beamed while discussing the offensive possibilities with the Jets’ wealth of weaponry.
Cotchery never wondered if the Jets’ additions — Holmes and former Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson — would negatively impact his role. Instead, he challenged opposing defenses to figure out how to stop an offense that boasts three receivers who have primary-target ability.
“When you have your third guy — your third cornerback playing one of us — what are you really going to do with that?” Cotchery asked. “It’s going to create a lot of problems, a lot of problems for defenses and I’m just thrilled to be a part of it.”
Holmes, the Super Bowl XLIII MVP, is fresh off a 1,248-yard, five-touchdown season in Pittsburgh, and Braylon Edwards earned Pro Bowl honors with the Browns in 2007 following a career-best 1,289-yard season with 16 touchdowns. Cotchery also nabbed a career-high 1,130 yards in 2007 through 15 games.
“We didn’t even bring up the other weapons as far as the tight ends and running backs,” Cotchery said. “So just talking about the receivers, now you’re looking at, ‘What are we gonna do?’”
Although Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork wasn’t too concerned with the possibilities, telling reporters Tuesday that the Jets’ acquisitions look good “on paper,” it will be interesting to see how defenses change their approach against a team that won’t rely so heavily on the run going forward.
With three wide outs for Sanchez to target, and Tomlinson projected to be most effective as a receiver out of the backfield, it’s not unreasonable to suggest a philosophical shift in offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s gameplans next season.
It was no secret that Gang Green intended to hammer the ball with former running back Thomas Jones leading the charge, but Cotchery now sees the Jets as a “well-rounded group on offense” that’s ripe for second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez if he builds on his progress from late last season.
“He came into his own in the AFC Championship game,” Cotchery said of Sanchez’s 257-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Indianapolis Colts last January. “We’re just looking forward to more of that this coming year.”
And Cotchery, who’s well experienced with quarterbacks ranging from Brooks Bollinger to Brett Favre, has the utmost confidence in Sanchez to take the necessary steps toward improving and bringing the rest of the team along with him.
“We just clicked. We know what each other is thinking, and that’s the key,” Cotchery said, describing his relationship with Sanchez. “That’s the key, so we’re going to try and get that same chemistry with everyone else on the offense, and once we do that — look out.”
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