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Cotchery Makes Some Progress with Hamstring


Cotchery works through the Packer defense

The Jets are a team in need of good news. After starting the season 3-0, they're 3-3 and on Monday they placed one of their best players, NT Kris Jenkins, on injured reserve. A healthy Jerricho Cotchery would surely help the NFL's 30th-ranked pass offense.

And J-Co participated in individual drills at this afternoon's practice.

"Today was a big step for me," said Cotchery, who was limited against the Dolphins and then did not play against the Bills. "I just want to build on today and just try to get better every day and not have any setbacks. It was a good start for me."

As luck would have it, Cotchery's hamstring became a problem the same week the Jets traded for Braylon Edwards. J-Co sprinted out of the gate this season with 23 catches and 360 yards in the season's first quarter. He gutted it out as long as he could in the Jets' 31-27 Monday night loss in Miami as Edwards starred with five receptions for 64 yards and a TD. But the Jets' two starting receivers have never played full strength together as a tandem.

"I'm very anxious to get back out there, but we have a long season. You want to be smart about it, but it's kind of hard for me especially," Cotchery said. "I'm a little stubborn. I'm just trying to take my time with it and be patient and make sure I'm going to help the team and not hinder the team throughout the entire year. I'm definitely trying to get this back to 100 percent."

Cotchery, who was Mark Sanchez's go-to guy, watched from the sideline Sunday as the rookie quarterback was victimized by five interceptions and completed only 10 balls in tough conditions while Edwards was held to three catches.

"It was tough watching. The offense struggled a little bit as far as turnovers and penalties and stuff, and you not being able to help — that hurts a lot," Cotchery said. "You can't do anything but watch, so I'm working my tail off trying to get back out there. Hopefully it will be soon."

Sanchez was shaken up after the loss, but the Jets have not lost faith in their young signalcaller.

"I just told him to keep his head up," Cotchery said. "He can play this game. He's going to be a great player in this league. 'Don't let one game determine your future. You'll be able to bounce back from that.' He's going to be fine."

When you analyze the situation fairly, the USC product has had to deal with a juggling situation at wideout. Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey (who went to Cleveland in the Edwards trade) started the first three games at the receiver spots, but Edwards and David Clowney have seen the majority of the snaps at WR the past two contests. Add to the mix that No. 3 receiver Brad Smith is trying to come back from a quad injury and continuity has been an issue.

"I know once I get to full speed, we're going to be able to do some good things in the passing game. I think the Miami game was a good step — it still wasn't the step that we were thinking it was going to be because I wasn't 100 percent," said Cotchery. "Once we get healthy, I think we'll be able to do some great things on offense, but we have to first get on the field."

On the field this weekend in Oakland, the Jets will face a 2-4 Oakland club coming off a huge 13-9 home win over the Eagles. And even though the Raiders' defense appears rather average statistically, Cotchery sees a good unit on video.

"They're doing some great things on defense. Their front seven is tremendous," he said. "You have Richard Seymour on one end and Greg Ellis on the other. Then you have big guys, Tommy Kelly and Gerard Warren, in the middle and you have fast linebackers. You talk about one of the best corners in the league in Nnamdi Asomugha. They're playing some good ball on defense. We're going to have to come out ready to play on offense."

The hope is that Cotchery is ready to go for Sanchez and the Jets can get their passing game to complement to their No. 2-ranked rushing offense. If not, Edwards will see a lot of Asomugha and the Raiders will sell out against the run.

"We wanted to make him feel comfortable because we knew what type of guy he was, what type of player he was and what he was going to offer to this team," Cotch said of Edwards. "He's transitioned pretty well. He's joking every day on everybody, he's done a great job picking up the offense and we're able to move him around a little bit. It's going to be fun when I get back out there."

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