Cleveland Browns Offseason Moves Have Josh Cribbs Poised for Big Year

J GatskieCorrespondent IMay 30, 2010

CLEVELAND - DECEMBER 10: Josh Cribbs #16 of the Cleveland Browns stiff-arms Daniel Sepulveda #9 of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 10, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Josh Cribbs is one of the most dynamic players in the entire NFL. He is an explosive bundle of fast-twitch muscle fibers who literally blows by talented defenders as if they were standing still at times.

The additions of Seneca Wallace, Jake Delhomme, Ben Watson, Montario Hardesty, Carlton Mitchell, Peyton Hillis, Tony Pashos, and Shawn Lauvao in the offseason, are going to enhance the ability of Cribbs to affect the game in multiple ways offensively. 

In 2009, Cribbs rushed 55 times for 381 yards and one touchdown, while catching 20 balls for 135 yards and one touchdown. I anticipate an increase in all of those numbers.

He returned 38 punts for 452 yards and one touchdown. Cribbs also returned 56 kickoffs for 1,542 yards and three touchdowns.

The only two things Cribbs needs to work on are holding onto the ball, as he fumbled six times in 2009, and refining his pass receiving skills.

Cribbs ran the offense as the quarterback out of the Wildcat formation, but almost always kept the ball, as he only passed the ball four times all season, completing one for 18 yards with one interception.

With the additions of Hardesty, Watson, Delhomme, and Hillis to the Wildcat, defenders will not be able to key on Cribbs and his average of 6.93 yards per carry could actually increase, as could his overall yards.

Even if his numbers don't go up, the new additions will probably accumulate a much greater share of the offense than last season's teammates. Hardesty, Jerome Harrison, and Hillis are all legitimate options for Cribbs to go to with the ball.

If Cribbs decides to throw the ball, all three backs are excellent receivers out of the backfield.

The additions of offensive linemen Pashos and Lauvao will definitely help open up holes for the Wildcat.

The Browns are implementing a package of plays for their athletic quarterback Seneca Wallace called the Cyclone.

The package will likely feature both Wallace and Cribbs in the same backfield, which will be a nightmare for opposing defenses. Either player will be just as likely to take the long snap.

Which player do you key on as the quarterback? Who throws to whom? What if they run the option? Or a double reverse?

How about a standard pass play with new additions, tight end Ben Watson, and receiver Carlton Mitchell, running routes along with Cribbs out of the backfield?

In the standard offense, Jake Delhomme appears to have the starting quarterback spot locked down, and likely will be a vast improvement over last year's maudlin duo of Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn.

Unless the Browns make a move for a veteran receiver, or Brian Robiskie comes on exceptionally strong in training camp, Cribbs will likely open the season as a starting wide receiver opposite Mohamed Massaquoi.

Expect Delhomme to find Cribbs much more often and in space, where he can use his legs to make plays, this year. 

Cribbs is likely to be on the field for the majority of the offensive snaps in 2010. Whether it is as a starting receiver, Wildcat quarterback, or Cyclone backfield player, Cribbs will be the Hemi engine that drives the Browns offense.

Between his offseason work and the new offensive additions, Cribbs seems poised for an even bigger year than 2009.


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