While judging players on a week-to-week basis can be a bit presumptuous, there has been a lot of talk today regarding the use of Josh Cribbs as a starting wide receiver. Over the past few months, we have had a pretty healthy debate regarding the compensation of Cribbs, as he has not exactly been quiet about his feelings since team activities got underway.
While most of us agree that he is underpaid even as a special teams player, the waters warmed up with the placement of Cribbs as the team’s second receiver opposite Braylon Edwards. Of course, his return for a touchdown against Minnesota helped matters a bit more. But after yesterday’s drubbing, could we have seen the last of No. 16 as a starting wideout? And if so, did he lose leverage when it comes to a bigger pay day.
Cribbs was credited with four catches for 22 yards. He also lost a fumble while “trying to do too much,” ran third-and-long routes that failed to even be close to the first-down marker, and amassed little-to-nothing in the return game.
The offense has been abysmal through the first eight quarters of play, and while it is far from Josh Cribbs’ fault, this Browns team also has two rookie wide receivers that may as well start getting more snaps to prepare for the future. Of course, they’re both second-round picks and should be getting a decent share of snaps to begin with – a debate for another time.
I realize that Cribbs is a special talent, and you need to have your playmakers on the field. But he is also being forced in to a position that he has never played at any level of his football career, and it isn’t exactly leading to good things. When Josh broke off that long end-around against Green Bay during the preseason, many were hoping that it was a sign of things to come in terms of utilizing his skill set. Since then, the team has had a handful of failed attempts with Cribbs in the wildcat, and has not seen anything even close to the long gain that he had against the Pack.
One carry for four yards did provide the Browns with their longest yards-per-carry for the day, but it was also only four yards. When the team is down three touchdowns, running the ball isn’t exactly the top option. If Cribbs isn’t polished enough to help improve the passing game, the Browns are unable to truly capitalize on his abilities. And if the Browns are not able to truly capitalize on his abilities, how can they justify paying him any more than they currently do?
(image via stampy74/Flickr)