Tag:Josh Cribbs
Posted on: April 17, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: April 17, 2011 3:39 pm
 

Offseason Checkup: Cleveland Browns

Posted by Andy Benoit



Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups



Another year turned into another rebuilding season for the Browns (it turned out to be the last of three in Eric Mangini’s tenure). Injuries rocked all three mistake-prone quarterbacks (Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace and third-round rookie Colt McCoy, who performed OK but was limited to a cliff-noted playbook).

It maybe wouldn’t have mattered anyway, given the paucity of quality receiving options (No. 1 wideout Mohammad Massaquoi improved just enough to pass for being a low-end No. 2, while tight end Ben Watson was the go-to guy by default).

Defensively, the young secondary at times seemed overburdened by the volume of sub-packages in Rob Ryan’s complex system. But often, Ryan’s scheme compensated for shabby pass-rushing resources. The Browns were the only team not to give up 30 points in any of their first 15 games. Still, that wasn’t enough to save Ryan from the coaching staff overhaul in January.




Defensive scheme

The task of installing a 4-3 scheme is substantial, especially given this team’s prior commitment to the 3-4.

Linebackers Chris Gocong and Scott Fujita and nose tackle Ahtyba Rubin (who will now play more one-gap techniques) are the only players from last year’s team who are truly equipped to operate in a 4-3.

And Gocong never did blossom in Philadelphia’s 4-3. Restocking the defensive line will be the biggest challenge.




1. Defensive End
Marcus Benard is a fantastic athlete who, as an outside linebacker, often played bigger than his 256-pound size suggested. That doesn’t mean the undrafted third-year pro is ready to start – especially given that he’ll be learning how to play with his hand in the dirt. Jayme Mitchell, another undrafted guy, is penciled in on the other side. What does this tell you? The Browns need at least three, and maybe four, defensive ends.

2. Defensive Tackle
Rubin can be an adequate two-down player, even if he’s not a true Pat Williams-like clogger. Brian Schaefering, however, does not get off blocks well enough to play inside. Even if he did, the Browns would still need more one-gap quickness here.

3. Wide Receiver
Very few quarterbacks could succeed with Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie, Chansi Stuckey and Joshua Cribbs as their top four wideouts. Massaquoi is not dynamic enough to create on his own; Robiskie has barely seen the field his first two seasons; Stuckey’s quickness is impressive but best suited for the slot, while Cribbs is simply a gadget player.




Let’s hope new head coach Pat Shurmur is a patient man. The defense that Dick Jauron is installing is not complicated schematically, but it will take at least two years to accumulate the front seven personnel needed to run it.

That’s about how long the offense will take to develop if Shurmur decides that Colt McCoy is indeed the long-term solution for his West Coast system. A third straight 5-11 season seems likely.

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Posted on: March 22, 2011 6:45 pm
 

Cribbs shaking his head at new kickoff rule

J. Cribbs was not happy to see the NFL change the kickoff rules (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Browns KR/WR Josh Cribbs is not a huge fan of the new NFL rule that will place the kickoff spot at the 35-yard line (instead of the 30-yard line). Not a huge fan at all.

Though the original proposal made by the NFL rules committee, which would have given a team the ball at the 25-yard line instead of the 20 for a touchback and would have eliminated the two-man wedge, was tweaked, Cribbs still wasn’t happy.

From his Twitter account, he wrote: “NFL rule changes are BS... U not making the game safer u messing a great sport, trynna hide behind safety just to add 2 games...smh”

The reasoning behind the rule change – which was passed today at the NFL owners meetings in New Orleans – was for safety reasons. Kickoffs theoretically will be less dangerous now (though leaving in the two-man wedge lessens the original intent), because there will be fewer returns and more touchbacks. But Cribbs makes the claim that players will actually be harmed by the new rule.

“Essentially taking returners out of the game...injuries will still take place, then what move it up again, or eliminate it all together..” Cribbs tweeted. “Not just speaking for myself, but it affects the blue collar NFL players which are the majority who don't have big names, it extends careers.”

Added Bears record-holding returner Devin Hester on his Twitter account : “Hey hey fans don't get mad about the new rule, my run back just going 2 be over a 100 yards now. I hate them 90 something yards anyway!!!!!!”

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Posted on: November 20, 2010 3:57 pm
 

Week 11 injury report analysis Part II

Posted by Andy Benoit

Raiders @ Steelers

For Oakland, WR Chaz Schilens is out. That has become as standard as eating lunch after breakfast. Superstar CB Nnamdi Asomugha hopes his speedy recovery from a high ankle sprain will allow him to play. Asomugha participated in parts of practice during the week. The Steelers will have WR Hines Ward back (he missed three quarters with a concussion against New England last week), but the Raiders would probably prefer to put Asomugha on the more explosive Mike Wallace.

Oakland’s passing game might be more limited than usual, as TE Zach Miller (foot) and WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring) are both questionable. The Steelers vaunted defense is at full strength minus the all-important defensive ends, Aaron Smith (triceps) and Brett Keisel (hamstring).

Browns @ Jaguars

Josh Cribbs is a no-go after dislocating every toe in his right foot except the big one last week against the Jets. That obviously hurts Cleveland’s return game (though rookie Joe Haden is solid running back kickoffs) and it limits the creativity of the already-mundane offense. The offense could be further limited if sensational LG Eric Steinbach (calf) can’t play. He’s questionable – and so is backup Floyd Womack (knee).

Defensively, the Browns could once again be without Shaun Rogers (ankle). They will certainly be without LB Scott Fujita (knee). CB Sheldon Brown is questionable after last week’s shoulder injury. LB Matt Roth got sick and did not practice all week. DE Kenyon Coleman was limited in practice with a knee injury.

Cleveland’s banged-up defense presents the Jaguars with a golden opportunity to get to 6-4 and, remarkably, sneak to the top of the AFC South (that is, if New England beats Indy). The Jags will be near full strength Sunday, as WR Mike Sims-Walker (doubtful, ankle) is the only player listed as anything worse than probable.

Lions @ Cowboys

The Lions listed 17 players on the injury report this week. That’s not good considering they have to play just four days after the conclusion of this game.

The Lions will of course be without QB Matthew Stafford (shoulder). Kicker Jason Hanson (leg) is still out. So is RB Kevin Smith (thumb), which is a problem exacerbated by the fact that Jahvid Best is battling a toe injury (he’ll likely play but at less than 100 percent).

Tony Romo’s injury means we get to see Jon Kitna facing his former team. Somehow this doesn’t quite have the glamour of Favre facing the Packers. Kitna will have his full arsenal of weapons. The only iffy starter for the Cowboys is cornerback Terence Newman (ankle).

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Posted on: August 21, 2010 7:01 pm
 

What will (and won't) happen tonight

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Some quick thoughts and Tweets before the 11-game slate of preseason games begin tonight.

-Ben Roethlisberger will start and play maybe two series tonight for the Steelers. Then, it’ll be Byron Leftwich and then Dennis Dixon.

Browns WR Mohamed Massaquoi will not play tonight. Josh Cribbs will take his place in the starting lineup.

The Giants could be without RB Brandon Jacobs, who has a stiff neck. The NY Daily News also reports Jacobs is not dressed for the game.

Instead of starting RB Clinton Portis, Washington will give Larry Johnson a shot at taking first-team snaps .

There could be a delay of game in the 7:30 p.m. Jaguars-Dolphins game. According to Armando Salguero , “Stadium officials told fans at EverBack Field to go to the concourses because of a lightning alert. Stadium seems empty. Teams not on field.”

And one to grow on for Sunday:

Brett Favre – I’m not sure if you’ve heard of him – will start and play maybe 10 snaps Sunday vs. San Francisco,

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Posted on: August 21, 2010 5:52 pm
 

Can Cribbs make Cleveland forget LeBron?

J. Cribbs could be Cleveland's next big star and fan favorite (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Now that LeBron James is out of the picture, the city of Cleveland hasn’t had much going for it recently.

The Indians are horrid. There’s very little chance the Browns don’t finish dead last in the AFC North. The Cavaliers have a crazy owner and very little talent. So, aside from visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, watching the splendor of Lake Erie, drinking a Dortmunder Gold and taking in the Christmas Story house , why should Cleveland fans be excited about life?

Browns WR/KR Josh Cribbs provides a compelling answer. That’s the finding of USA Today , which wrote a feature on Cleveland’s favorite player in this post-Jamesian era.

Any casual football fan knows of Cribbs’ exploits when he returns kicks – he’s got eight career TDs, the best of all time. But he almost didn’t return to Cleveland last season.

From the story:

The sixth-year player was fully prepared to walk away from the team early this year when he didn't think the Browns were earnest enough about giving him a new deal. He grumbled, the Browns grumbled, and something had to give.

Cleveland caved. In March, Cribbs signed a three-year deal worth $20 million.

And now the task is getting him to expand, whether it be as a receiver, a running back or even a quarterback in a wildcat formation.

Bring it on. That's the sentiment from Cribbs.

"My role is just going to expand dramatically," he says. "A lot of things are going to happen where me and (backup quarterback) Seneca (Wallace) and Jake, we are all going to be rotating and hopping in and out of there. We added a lot of diversity to our offense this year."

As for what else Cleveland offers?

“When anybody asks me about what Cleveland has to offer," Cribbs said. "(I answer that) they are the most die-hard fans ever. That's what I tell them. I don't tell them about the Rock and Roll of Fame. … I tell them about the city, the people of Cleveland and how die-hard they are and how much they'll fight for you in any type of weather."

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Category: NFL
Posted on: August 4, 2010 1:19 pm
 

Engram looking to impact the Browns

Browns WR Bobby Engram, at 37 years old, is only two years younger than coach Eric Mangini. But to Cleveland president Mike Holmgren, Engram’s age doesn’t matter. All that matters is what he can bring to the team.

Which is what exactly? How much can a guy like Engram – who’s been a solid receiver for much of his career but who was cut by the disastrous Chiefs last year – really help a Browns unit in desperate need of some offense?

Which also leads to this question: how much can newly-signed QB Jake Delhomme help (but that’s an aside for another day)? For now, Holmgren seems confident in his newest WR.

"He's a special man,” Holmgren told the Cleveland Plain Dealer . “He's one of those rare guys that you want other players, particularly young players, to be around. He's played a long time but he kept in great shape. He's an amazing guy, physically, that way."

Holmgren should know. After all, they worked together in Seattle (it should be noted that Engram is only three seasons removed from a career-year of 94 catches, 1,147 yards and six touchdowns while playing for the Seahawks).

Engram, though, isn’t a lock to make the team. Josh Cribbs is the most-talented player on the team not named Joe Thomas, and Cleveland likes young receivers Chansi Stuckey, Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie. But all Engram wanted was a chance.

"I've got my work cut out for me," Engram told the paper. "They've got some talented young guys. I think the competition only makes you better. At end of the day, they will make the decision on what's best for the Browns."

--Josh Katzowitz

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