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Cotchery, Rivers: Good Buddies … Until Kickoff

Posted by Randy Lange on January 15, 2010 – 1:32 pm

The Jets will be leaving soon for a 2,800-mile trip to San Diego and the AFC Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs. But it’s not uncharted territory for all the Green & White. Jerricho Cotchery should feel right at home.

For one thing, he’ll renew acquaintances with a Qualcomm Stadium VIP before the game. That would be the Chargers’ Philip Rivers, his former QB for four seasons at North Carolina State.

"I’ll say hi to Phil pregame, but that’ll be about it for the day," Cotchery told me today as the team finished packing up in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center locker room before their flight. "It’ll be good seeing him again. It’ll bring back a lot of memories."

The memories will in general involve Cotchery’s record-setting tenure with the Wolfpack. After his 2003 senior season, Cotchery could boast (if J-Co did ever boast, which he doesn’t) of his school-record 200 receptions and 15 100-yard receiving games, and of his senior season during which he caught 86 balls, most of them from Rivers, for 1,369 yards, both figures second in NCSU history to Torry Holt.

What game, season or emotion does Cotchery remember most from his days of playing catch with Rivers?

"The chemistry we had throughout those four years — it hasn’t been the same way since we left N.C. State," he said. "And the last memory I had was walking off the field at the Tangerine Bowl after we had just put up a lot of points on Kansas."

The Wolfpack won the 2003 Tangerine, 56-26, with Cotchery catching 13 passes for 171 yards and a TD.

"Me and Jerricho still talk all the time," Rivers said this week. "He will be and always has been one of my all-time favorite teammates. He’s the ultimate competitor. We both grew up in Alabama competing in football and basketball. Jerricho gives you the same thing every day in practices and what he does on the field. The Jets players know it and appreciate it. He’s a heck of a player. It will be fun. We will not be competing directly, but I am looking forward to seeing him."

You can’t blame Cotchery for looking forward to seeing Qualcomm. In his only other two visits there, both in 2004, he left as a rookie victor.

"We had the winning field goal in overtime. That sticks out in my mind," Cotchery said of Doug Brien’s 28-yarder that lifted the Jets over the Chargers in the ’04 AFC Wild Card Game, 20-17. "And we had the game won the first time and a penalty [on Eric Barton] gave them a second life.

"But it was a great feeling going into the locker room cheering with all the guys. I was a rookie and I was having a blast. And it was probably one of the shortest flights I can remember making on a West Coast trip."

As much fun as that game was for the Jets of five years ago, Cotchery recalls thinking of the players on that team: "We were kind of feeling our way through things. A lot of guys were tired. We had fought hard to get into the playoffs. I didn’t get the sense that we were really sure where we were headed."

They were in fact headed to another 20-17 overtime game, the bitter AFC Divisional Game loss at Pittsburgh. But J-Co is getting a different vibe this week.

"This team is a really confident team. We have the talent to make a run at it," he said. Which is why the former college catcher and pitcher who used to fight each other tooth and nail in Madden on their Raleigh, N.C., campus, checked in with each other last Sunday, will do so once more before this Sunday’s kickoff, and then will go at each other’s defense as if they don’t know each other.

"Our main focus is for us to go out and get a win," Cotchery said with a steely edge that is rare, except on the field of battle. "It’s not a family reunion."

Rex Cetera

Jets head coach Rex Ryan did not address reporters today before the team left for San Diego. His next public words will come after the game, the final one of Divisional Weekend, which will kick off at 4:40 p.m. ET (1:40 PT). … The Jets have won three of the last four at Qualcomm, including that crazy 44-13 stunning in 2002. The Jets are 11-19-1 all-time in the rivalry, 6-12 at SD. … Here’s a stat that probably means nothing: Including last year’s minus-3 turnover margin in the Monday night loss at "the Q," the Jets have a plus-11 TO margin in their last seven games vs. the Bolts and a plus-5 in their last four games on the West Coast.

The Jets’ injury report is updated through today’s practice. All eight players listed are probable for the game, with all participating fully today except LB Bart Scott (ankle), who was limited. The Chargers’ report won’t be updated until this evening, but considering that this week only one player, P Mike Scifres (groin, full), has been listed, we’re not expecting any dramatic announcements.

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Posted in Randy Lange | 17 Comments »

17 Responses to “Cotchery, Rivers: Good Buddies … Until Kickoff”

  1. By 36 year fan on Jan 15, 2010 | Reply

    Never going to have to hear SAME OLD JETS EVER AGAIN….After Sunday.

  2. By scjoe on Jan 15, 2010 | Reply

    I believe the Jets win this game because they will run the ball and control the clock, they will take away SDs strength, which is the deep pass, by putting pressure on Rivers, not necessarily getting sacks, but enough pressure where the WRs won’t have the time to get downfield. This, of course, providing they do not turn the ball over. Francesa, eat your heart out.

  3. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Jan 15, 2010 | Reply

    In fact, Randy, please tell Rex and the Jets that I nominate Jimi’s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” (pardon the typo last time) for their Official Post-Season Fight Song! It captures all the swarming, terrifying menace of the Jets’ D! “If I don’t see you no more in this world…I’ll see you on the next one, and don’t be late…DON’T BE LATE!!!”

  4. By Anthony on Jan 15, 2010 | Reply

    I am so psyched about this game and I have been a fan of Jericho ever since the Jets picked him up. He has made some TREMENDOUS catches. And I think he is a key factor to the JEts overall Offense. I am really excited about htis game and hope that the Jets know all of us Jet fans as well as most NYers are behind you guys. Give em hell Green…J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets

  5. By 36 year fan on Jan 15, 2010 | Reply

    God Bless the NY JETS…!! NOW GO OUT AND TAKE IT.

  6. By Anonymous on Jan 15, 2010 | Reply

    great game cant wait

  7. By Stephen on Jan 15, 2010 | Reply

    If Mark needs a hot dog when he’s over there, for god sakes, give him one!!! So long as he lights up the scoreboard and makes those key plays, let him have whatever he wants!

  8. By Ira on Jan 15, 2010 | Reply

    Randy, The Jets will cause the Bolts to turn over the ball 3 times this week. Just heard that Scifres is hurting. He is excellent and hope the Bolts are punting a lot. So maybe the Jets will be getting good field postion all day. J-Co has done an excellent job returning punts all season. GO JETS!!!!

  9. By jak_jet fan on Jan 15, 2010 | Reply

    every team could use some r and r….revis and rivers 2 great players. i think the jets have a good shot and beating both the both and colts…….though the jets ravens game would be very fun to watch…

  10. By Andrew Malone on Jan 15, 2010 | Reply

    Sorry Jets fans. Your time is up. It’s time for the Chargers to win this one, the next one, and the next one. You already have your SB with Broadway Joe. It’s time for the Philip and LT to get theirs. Don’t worry. You have a good, young team. You’ll have other chances. But you’re not good enough yet.

  11. By bobbyd on Jan 16, 2010 | Reply

    Andrew, the jury is still out on whether who will win the game. According to your rules, the Jets are a young inferior team. If you lose now, (we both agree we’ll be better next year), then we will enjoy looking at you in our rear view mirror for a long, long, long time!!!!!!! It could be painful in California.

  12. By MikeMc on Jan 16, 2010 | Reply

    Andrew you may be right but I really hope your wrong. Hey 36 year fan , you know the media will use that tired old line “same ol Jets” after every big loss till the end of time.A few big wins and maybe we can shelf it for the time being though.

  13. By Dave on Jan 16, 2010 | Reply

    Mr. Thomas Jones. Here is my football wish for you. May you run like you have never run before, and fiercely crush and annihilate all Chargers who stand in your way. May you score multiple touchdowns and break their backs while hoisting the dreams of millions on your own. Take care of business Jonesy. Crush them for us and for yourself!

  14. By Tor Robinson on Jan 16, 2010 | Reply

    No matter what happens tomorrow, the Jets are still the team I live and breath by. Although, I don’t think the Chargers will win. Sanchez’s hands will be warm and the Jets are hungry. Just by playing while the Patriots are watching TV makes me happy.

  15. By Anonymous on Jan 16, 2010 | Reply

    Hew Andrew, how’s the weather in Miami?

  16. By lance on Jan 17, 2010 | Reply

    the jets will need 4 turnovers to win this game

  17. By Bob on Jan 17, 2010 | Reply

    The Jet’s wasted a lot of plane fare.
    Go BOLTS!

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