First I should say this, Joshua Cribbs is my favorite Browns player in quite sometime. It is not a surprise that Eric Mangini has fallen in love with Cribbs either, after all his former mentor Bill Belichick had full on man love for Number 16. I think that Cribbs is one of the rare football players that seem to be comfortable no matter where he is on the field. That being said, Josh Cribbs is not a WR. He has had 16 catches in four years. I would love too see him on the field more as a weapon but the previous coaching staff did not see that as a fit way to use Cribbs. But does Mangini?
Crennel said it was a way to keep him fresh as a kick returner. In 2001 the Carolina Panthers used that same thinking for Steve Smith. Smith has gone on to be an awesome WR. When you have an uncanny ability to get the ball in the endzone, you should be on the field as much as possible. Same with Darren Sproles. Playmakers shouldn't be "saved" they should be put in positions to use these skills. Joshua Cribbs is a playmaker.
What is the best way for Joshua Cribbs to get onto the field? Eric Mangini has made some noise about using Cribbs on defense. I personally think that Safety/CB is the best option for Cribbs. He has been a weapon in the ST units as a gunner. He has racked up 70 ST in his brief career, a number that becomes very impressive when you think how few opportunities he has to make tackles.
At 6'2 215lbs, he has the size to be a safety and I know he has the smarts. He has been put all over the field in his short career and has done well almost everywhere.
Here is the wildcard. In 2004 Eric Mangini was DB coach for the New England Patriots. This was the season in which the Pats turned longtime WR Troy Brown into a starting CB. Troy Brown is a nice player, but he was not the player that Joshua Cribbs is. Personally I think that Cribbs may start off slow and used sparingly in the defensive backfield at the start of this year. But as the year progresses, I would love to see Cribbs used in different ways. As a dime DB or an extra safety. Anyway it happens, Cribbs needs to be on the field as often as possible.
What is the best way to use Josh Cribbs?
Let him continue to be the best ST guy in the NFL and partime WR (10 votes)
Make him a fulltime WR (6 votes)
Make him an "All-around Weapon" ala Devin Hester (112 votes)
Make him into a DB/ST demon (68 votes)
196 total votes