Cleveland Browns: How a New Role for Josh Cribbs Could Change the 2011 Season

Brian MurtaughAnalyst INovember 1, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 30: Joshua Cribbs #16 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after scoring on a forty five yard touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on October 30, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The 49ers won the game 20-10. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns have had their share of miscues and injuries throughout the 2011 season and may now be looking toward a new direction to help get the struggling offense off the ground.

Josh Cribbs and Pat Shurmur have reportedly been kicking around the idea of playing the former Kent State and special teams star in the backfield against the Houston Texans this week.

This may actually be a common sight for Browns fans that remember the "flash" formations that Cleveland grew accustomed to running throughout Eric Mangini's tenure as head coach.

Cribbs has had some success running the football from directly behind center and has already shown that he has great ability to make defenders miss in space.

Throughout the first half of this season, the Browns have been searching for the perfect complement to go along with Peyton Hillis' bruising style. Unfortunately, Hillis has seen more of the sideline than the line of scrimmage and Cleveland has simply not been able to get the rushing game off the ground since Week 2.

Cribbs has continued to be a playmaker for the Browns even though his roles on special teams and on the offensive side have both been limited.

Many Cleveland fans would welcome the addition of No. 16 in the backfield as the Browns continue to work with their fourth- and fifth-string runners due to injuries to Hillis, Montario Hardesty and Brandon Jackson (placed on IR during the preseason).

Cribbs has already shown that he has the proper speed and field vision to be a quality rushing option and has a reputation of fighting for the extra yards that Cleveland so desperately needs.

Even though playing Cribbs at running back seems like a plausible option, it is highly unlikely until the Browns work him at the position during practice. Until then, Cleveland fans will just have to hold onto hope that brighter days for the offense are ahead.

Cleveland may have more weapons on this team that are simply left undiscovered, and it is time for Pat Shurmur and Mike Holmgren to either utilize those talents or find other coaches and players that can get the job done.

Cribbs at running back may not be the ultimate solution for Shurmur's West Coast offense, but it has to be better than what is currently being brought to the table.