Anything but Receiver

Terry Pluto on Josh Cribbs, the Toast of Cleveland:

Number 16, Joshua Cribbs.

Now there’s a jersey that Browns fans can wear proudly.

Cribbs could have played for Paul Brown, for Blanton Collier, for Sam Rutigliano or any other Browns coach. They all would have loved the guy.

He runs back kicks. He runs back punts. He runs out of the Wildcat formation, taking a long snap for center, then sprinting and daring the defense to stop him.

He also covers kicks. And punts. And he would play safety, if they’d let him.

Really? He’d play safety? What the hell are they waiting for? It’s sure as hell than lining him up at wideout. I fully believe Cribbs could be an awesome safety in the NFL (just imagine him blitzing!).

Meanwhile, Joe Thomas thinks Cribbs could be a (great) running back:

“There’s no doubt,” said Thomas, after watching the game film of Cribbs rushing for 87 yards against the Steelers’ top-ranked run defense. “I think he’s too valuable to take off of kick return and punt return and special teams, but there’s no doubt in my mind, especially after seeing the things that he did [Thursday night] that he’d be an extremely successful running back in the NFL.

“The guy’s got some unbelievable vision, just watching the game film and seeing him going to his left, step toward the sideline.

“He must have some unbelievable vision because he could see all way back to his right, there was a lane the whole way back, like some of the greatest running backs in the NFL could. He hit a seam and took it for about 20-some yards. He kind of takes the approach it’s a punt return. But the vision he’s got is amazing.”

Cribbs agreed.

“Being a jack of all trades, I feel like that’s one of my abilities. My position is running back. I was a running back back in the day. The wildcat is me at running back. It’s a straight handoff. It’s not like we’re trying to fool you with the quarterback being in the mix. I’m getting the ball and I’m running it; try to stop me.”

That bold part is certainly true. I’ve been frustrated more than once this season with the lack of imagination from the wildcat formation (really? Cribbs off tackle, ya don’t say…).

But if they’re gonna get Cribbs touches on offense, I’d rather it come in running plays rather than the passing game. He’s an adequate receiver at best. The only pass I like to him is the quick out/quick screen. Let him operate in space, asking him to go run routes isn’t his forte (his hands aren’t great either).

He really is their entire offense.

(Pay the man)

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