On Friday, Cribbs’ return to the field after being held out of contact portions through the duration of this past week, last year’s team captain was featured in several sets as a receiver, but also was the quarterback on a pass to Brian Robiske down the right sideline. Taking a pitch from quarterback Colt McCoy, Cribbs turned into what could be Cleveland’s version of Antwaan Randle El circa 2009.
I know it seems like I am really trying to rain on Josh Cribbs’ parade lately, what with my talk about kickoffs, etc. I still love Josh Cribbs as a player and certainly as a Cleveland Brown off the field. Unfortunately, I need to say that the wildcat formation is over. You never want to be the last person sporting your “Where’s the beef?” t-shirt. At least the wildcat fad will be able to say that it lasted longer than Charlie Sheen’s “winning” catch-phrase, right? It was a gimmick that worked in Miami for the Dolphins and showed a bit of promise on occasion for the Browns with Josh Cribbs. That being said, it is a gimmick for teams that have trouble moving the ball in a traditional fashion.
Look at the place where it was most successful. The Dolphins employed the wildcat in the third game of the 2008 NFL season to provide a spark to the offense with a different look. In this case, the Dolphins were having trouble generating offense in the passing game between Chad Pennington and receivers Ted Ginn, Greg Camarillo, Davone Bess, and Anthony Fasano. It helped the Dolphins get to the playoffs where they lost in the wildcard round to the Baltimore Ravens. [Read more...]
It’s no secret that I’m not always very much of a fan of Brian Daboll’s play-calling. It’s also no secret around these parts that I am a fan of Michigan sports. So, when Denny (remember him?) and I got to talking the other day about college football as we often do, he suggested an idea for a piece about how the Browns could take a note or two from Michigan’s offense and its quarterback Denard Robinson. I believe Denny called him a “mini skinny Cribbs”. And in many ways, he is. Tremendous athlete; college QB; run-first option at QB; can still throw when given the opportunity; both wear #16 and have sweet dreads. Okay, that last one doesn’t matter as much.
It’s obviously not apples-to-apples to say that the Browns can employ a college-style spread into their Wildcat/Flash/Cyclone package and expect it to work; NFL defenses aren’t as slow as UMass’s and Indiana’s defenses, of course. But, Rich Rodriguez and Calvin McGee find ways to use Denard Robinson that exploit defensive tendencies that I think the Browns could explore in an effort to open things up and make Cribbs more of a weapon.
Literally. You did see that accidental option play right? Anderson found himself in the open field and then realized that he still had the football, and quickly opted to give it to someone a wee bit more fleet of foot.
When asked if that was a drawn up play – or at least hoping that it wasn’t – Anderson responded with, “Oh lord no. I just kind of looked to my read and nobody was open. J.C.’s (Jerome Harrison) guy kind of slipped off him and I was going and all of a sudden I just hear, ‘D.A.’ and I was like, ‘Here you go.’ Then I was like, ‘Maybe I’ll block that corner,’ and then all of a sudden he was like ‘zoom.’ ‘Maybe not.”
It is these types of accidental successes that Browns fans have to bank on, if only because the routine plays often do not go as planned. [Read more...]
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“The ire of the fans is understandable. This is Year 11 of the Browns’ reincarnation, and it’s hard to say the team is very far ahead of where it was 10 years ago, when the expansion Browns finished 2-14. [...] By the way, Lerner’s not going to cave after a year and sweep clean. He’s tired of the coaching and front-office chaos, and I’m not saying he’s going to give Mankinis three seasons like this one, but to think he’ll fire the building again this winter is just not happening. This is what I’d say to Browns’ fans: It took you years to get into this mess, and it’s going to take you at least two years to get out of it.” [Peter King/SI.com]