Jerricho Cotchery reflected on the 2012 season and there was one thing that stuck out in his mind – missed opportunities.
“I think it was kind of the whole season,” said Cotchery. “You look at the Oakland game, you look at the Tennessee game, games that we pretty much had in control and for some reason they slipped away. You look at things like that and kill yourself the entire night or the entire offseason looking back at those games.
“Hopefully they’ll be good learning moments for us and teaching moments that show that we have to take advantage of our opportunities and make those plays when necessary.”
Cotchery, who finished the season with 17 receptions for 205 yards as the team’s fourth receiver, said he would have liked to have done more to help an offense he described as inconsistent.
“We were very inconsistent as an offense,” said Cotchery. “We just made a lot of critical errors. I’m a part of the offense and it’s just disappointing. I think every guy is going to put in the necessary work this offseason to make sure that inconsistent play doesn’t show up again next year.”
The Steelers had a slew of injuries this season, which included losing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for three games. And while nobody had blamed injuries for the 8-8 finish, Cotchery knows losing a franchise quarterback for any amount of time is going to have an impact on the team.
“You never want to use that as an excuse, but it’s Ben,” said Cotchery. “I remember in the Oakland game we were on the sidelines and we were looking at the pictures and it was like we got everything we wanted. We were moving the ball so well and things of that nature, so I felt like we were growing. Then all of a sudden Ben gets hurt and that slows the progression a little bit. That’s just the reality of it.
“Once Ben got back in, we were just trying to recapture what we had earlier on in the year, but it just didn’t take place. I think the progression would have been a lot better if Ben wouldn’t have gotten hurt, but those things happen over the course of the season and we just have to deal with it.”
* * *
Linebacker Lawrence Timmons led the Steelers in sacks this season with six, the first time an inside linebacker has every led the team in sacks, but he is quick to admit he would have liked to have done more.
“I feel like I did okay. I could have done better,” said Timmons. “I wish I would have started the year better. I felt like I finished strong toward the end. My thing is not about how you start, it is how you finish.”
Timmons finished strong with six tackles and two sacks, as well as a forced fumble and fumble recovery against the Browns, helping the Steelers secure the NFL’s No. 1 defense.
“I guess we ended on a positive note,” said Timmons. “That’s the way I look at it.
“It’s definitely good to finish number-one in the league. It’s a tough league. We wish we were in the playoffs, but that’s life. We are just being optimistic. We need to get everybody healthy and get ready for next year.”