Though the Browns lost their second week contest to the Kansas City Chiefs, wide receiver Joshua Cribbs hauled in three passes for 74 yards and a touchdown – arguably his most successful game as a receiver in the NFL. Sure, he caught more passes in Week 2 of the 2009 season, but prior to Sunday’s game, Cribbs’ highest yardage total in the passing game was 39.
Unfortunately for Josh and the Browns, his activity slowed considerably in the second half. And as one of the biggest play makers on the team, head coach Eric Mangini wants to get Cribbs more involved within the Browns offensive scheme.
“We should have [run the Wildcat] more,” said Mangini late Monday afternoon. “Just to get Josh more touches. He’s got a chance on any play.”
Targeted five times in the passing game seems appropriate for most third receivers. However, when said receiver is a team’s home run threat, getting the ball into his hands is of the utmost importance. More often than not, the Chiefs kicked punts out of bounds with kickoffs going to the short returner. In attempt to increase touches, the Browns even went as far as putting Cribbs as the short returner in the second half, placing rookie cornerback Joe Haden placed deep.
But while passes are hit or miss (especially with a back-up quarterback and a weak right side of the offensive line), the Wildcat ensures that Cribbs touches the ball every time the formation is called. Unfortunately, the Browns managed to get Josh one carry, totalling one yard.
“I feel like we should have used the [the Wildcat] more [on Sunday," said Mangini. hat's something I would have done more of in retrospect. Whether or not [the defense] is catching up, giving Josh a few more chances to carry the ball, he changes things.”
But why did Mangini and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll not consider the Wildcat formation more during the game? After all, plenty of fans at home and many media members in the press box were calling for it for nearly the entire second half.
“There are some decisions that you’d like to have back, but you don’t get to it at that point,” said Mangini. “I think every coach in the league goes through the process on Monday morning, win or lose. When you have the benefit of time and reflection, you’ve seen how the game has unfolded.”
Cribbs’ lone carry during Week 2′s game against Kansas City was only two fewer than he had during the Week 1 loss against Tampa Bay. During what is most likely his signature game from a Wildcat standpoint, Cribbs carried the ball eight times for 87 yards as the Browns topped the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009.
While the Week 3 contest against the Baltimore Ravens may prove to be a tough point to start running the ball more, there are still 14 weeks of football remaining. If the team is going to realize what sort of home run potential they have in Cribbs at any point, it may as well be before the leaves fall off of the trees.
But when asked about his involvement within the offense, Cribbs says that he is patient, but is willing to take on all challenges.
“I will not be the person to beg for the football,” said Cribbs. “I’ll let them put it in my hands and go from there. We have good coaches and good people above them and they’ll get the job done.”
“I feel like that whenever the opportunity is given to me, that I have to catch the fooball. Whenever given the opportunity, I love to take it.”
Photo: John Kuntz/Plain Dealer