Share This Page

Steelers cramming for Cribbs

Joshua Cribbs can return punts.

Joshua Cribbs can return kicks.

He's not too bad of a receiver, either, and he has proved to be a pretty good at running the Wildcat offense.

But Cribbs as an every down quarterback for four quarters?

Well, with the instability of the Cleveland quarterback situation heading into Sunday's game at Heinz Field against the Steelers, nothing can be disregarded.

"Well, he did it last year and damn near killed us," linebacker James Farrior said.

Although Cleveland coach Eric Mangini is leaning toward rookie Colt McCoy starting at quarterback because of injuries to Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme, Cribbs may be the Browns' best option against the Steelers.

The former Kent State quarterback turned NFL return specialist and now Cleveland cult hero is confident he could be under center for the Browns for more than a handful of Wildcat plays.

"It is a full package," Cribbs said. "It is not like last year. It is more than enough to run a complete football game out of it."

The Steelers can attest to what Cribbs offers when he comes into the game as a quarterback.

"Last year, he had our number," linebacker Lawrence Timmons said. "We have to stay in our gaps and contain him. If he gets a crease, he is going to take it to the house."

Cribbs lined up in the Wildcat for eight of Cleveland first 14 offensive plays last year at Heinz Field. He ended up taking 13 snaps from center, rushing six times for 45 yards and handing off the other seven times.

In the game at Cleveland, Cribbs ran for 87 yards, including a 37-yarder that set up the only touchdown of the game in a 13-6 Browns win.

"He's done pretty well against us in the past," linebacker James Harrison said. "We haven't really had a solid answer for it yet. We are expecting to get that."

Can Cribbs take every series under center, either by choice or by necessity?

"Heck, yeah," safety Ryan Clark said. "It would be tough to play him like that, but it would be fun. I don't know about throwing, but I know he can break enough tackles and make enough plays to keep you honest."

Cribbs ran the ball only 11 times in five games so far this year as the ground game with Peyton Hillis has been solid. The most carries Cribbs has had in one game this year has been three.

"It would make sense that I would (get more chances), but you never know," Cribbs said. "That's not my call. Whenever we call it, I am prepared to run it and take advantage of the opportunity."

Mangini would like to use Cribbs more, especially against the Steelers, but his other responsibilities have gotten in the way of that up until now.

"He is a special guy with the ball," Mangini said. "He does have the kickoff return, the punt return, and he is playing a decent amount of receiver, so we also have to monitor his reps for him to be effective."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.