Peter King wrote extensively in his MMQB column this week about Josh Cribbs, calling him the best special teams player in the NFL. He notes that it is unusual for a great return man to also be a suburb "gunner" on the punt team. He goes so far to say that he's never seen a player in the kicking game like Cribbs (and this guy has seen a lot of football games), calling him the most complete special-teams package of pursuit, blocking and returning playing today. That's high praise for Cribbs. I think most Browns fans don't realize how lucky we are to have a weapon like him on our team.
King writes this about Cribbs' performance in the Denver game.
In the first quarter against Denver, he hand-swiped punt-returner Eddie Royal around the ankles, undercutting him for a two-yard gain and forcing Denver to travel 86 yards for a touchdown. Cribbs returned the ensuing kickoff 37 yards, which meant the Browns had to travel only 59 yards for Brady Quinn's first NFL touchdown drive. These are yards that show up in the box score but are rarely acknowledged. Cribbs' plays made Denver have to make a long drive for its TD, and shortened the field for Cleveland's TD drive. That's what great special-team players do. For the game, he had four of Cleveland's six special-teams tackles and added 140 return yards.
I'm glad to see us finally starting to use him a little bit in the offense. I know that he's so valuable on special teams that we can't use him too much, but his wide array of talents can help us move the ball and also give opposing coaches something to worry about. I'd like to see him throw the ball once in a while in a trick play; he was a QB for many years so he should be able to throw a decent pass.