Josh Cribbs is undoubtedly a special return man and special teams player. After negotiating what most people in the league believed to be too high of a contract for a special teams player, Cribbs and the Browns attempted to get more value out of him by utilizing him at WR.
It has not worked out very well for a variety of reasons. My sources inside the Browns have confirmed that Cribbs is just as much to blame, if not more so than anyone else. Until very recently, he has not taken being a WR very seriously, skipping offensive meetings or leaving them early, not putting in the extra work to learn the playbook or to improve route running, etc. In fact, I'm told that at this point, he still routinely runs the wrong routes/yardages and makes it nearly impossible for a QB to get the proper timing down with him.
With that said, Cribbs is once again making noise about his offensive production, or lack thereof.
Josh Cribbs told the Cleveland Plain Dealer the following yesterday:
"I feel like I'm trapped. "I feel like a caged athlete."
This season, he has six catches for 54 yards and two runs for 8 after having career highs with 41 catches and 518 yards last season.
I think anyone with an unbiased perspective would also be able to compare the WR talent and depth on the Browns roster from last season to this season and understand why that may be. The Browns drafted ultra talented (and ultra raw) WR Josh Gordon in the 2nd round of the supplemental draft and added Travis Benjamin and Josh Cooper just this season.
Perhaps even more importantly, Cribbs is in the last year of that overpriced contract. It's highly unlikely the Browns will allocate new dollars (especially at the level Cribbs thinks he deserves) to an aging special teams player who's production on special teams has dropped. Why would the Browns feature Cribbs and take reps and experience away from the young WRs they invested in just to appease someone who will likely not be around next year? They wouldn't.
Cribbs, however, doesn't seem to understand how the NFL works.
"Me going from being able to run the wildcat, to playing receiver last season and catching 41 passes and four touchdowns to nothing -- I can't believe it," said Cribbs. "By me not playing, I feel like they think I'm not good, that I've lost it. But I haven't. I feel when I'm out there I can contribute, but I'm not able to."
Cribbs says he's already talked to Head Coach, Pat Shurmur about his role earlier in the season and said the following:
"There's no point," he said. "Obviously they feel like everybody that's in front of me is a better athlete. I disagree. I feel a different way than the coach feels about me. They must feel I can't produce. We have a difference of opinion."
While Cribbs undoubtedly wants to be more involved in the offense because he's confident in his abilities, perhaps the real motivation behind his public complaints lie within this quote:
"There's something wrong when one of your best athletes doesn't get the ball," he said. "I'm tired of people saying they don't know how to use me. Get creative. Find ways.
"I can't even showcase myself. I'm more than a special teams player. I've proven that. I belong on the field more than this, more than what they're allowing me to do. I've tried to not to say much, but it's upsetting. We're nine games into the season and I haven't gotten a chance."
Perhaps Cribbs knows his time in Cleveland is running out (at least he should) and he's frustrated that he's been unable to audition for other teams this season to help him land another big contract. But that is a strictly selfish position. As I've stated, why would the Browns hinder the development of the young players they've invested in for the future just to appease someone who won't be around next year?
Cribbs has long been a fan favorite and he has long used the media to manipulate fan sentiment (an example right here):
"It's because of these fans," he said. "I'm going to try to stay here. If Mr. (Jimmy) Haslam will have me, I'll stay. If not, I'm sure I'll be playing football somewhere else."
It seems many fans are becoming wise to his antics however and Cribbs may be wearing out his welcome in Cleveland sooner than he thinks.
Alabama has a history of being loaded across the board. Perhaps no more so than at RB with players like Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson sharing the same backfield. This strength at the RB appears to be continuing as Alabama who already has great young talent at the position on the roster and has a ridiculously strong recruiting class coming in.
Recent commit Derrick Henry of Yulee Florida had a record setting night last night in a playoff victory against Perry Florida. Henry finished with a ridiculous 482 yards and 6 TDs on 58 carries. This effort broke a national career rushing record of 11,232 yards previously held by Ken Hall for 60 years.
On the season, in 11 games Henry has not been held below 200 yards rushing. He has run for 3,752 yards and 50 touchdowns.
Henry now has 11,612 yards and 148 TDs for his career. And counting...
Henry is physically imposing listed at 6'3" and upwards of 240 pounds. He will likely be a force to be reckoned with once Alabama has put him through their workout program.
Browns CB, Joe Haden is known as much for his nightlife activities as he is for his immense talent. Joe is beloved across northeast Ohio for his friendly demeanor, fan interaction & support of local teams. His extracurriculars, while loved for many reasons, may however be turning into a problem.
Earlier in the season, I reported weeks before anyone that Haden had failed an NFL drug test. The information I received and which was reported by others indicated that Haden failed the test due to taking Adderal (a stimulant) so he could stay awake to party all might in Vegas. This cost his team 4 games.
After I mentioned yesterday morning that Haden has been battling an injury this week that threatens his chances of playing against the cowboys Haden ended up missing practice because of it.
I'm told this morning that many people have reported seeing Haden "all night long" at the new Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland. For those familiar, this is one if Joe's favorite spots. I'm also told that "everyone in the building knows and they are not happy".
Healthy or not, it's not a good idea to be out all night a few days before a game. Especially if you're battling an injury that threatens your ability to play in a game. If true, it's my opinion he should be doing nothing but resting, rehabbing if possible, and preparing for the Cowboys.
This is especially troubling when a veteran on the team (Sheldon Brown) has already directly called him out saying he needs to "play through the injury", according to reports.
Chicago Bears All-Pro linebacker Brian Urlacher isn't doing anything to help the NFL with it's "player safety" image and war against concussion related lawsuits.
When asked today about the NFL's concussion problem he responded with the following:
"If you don't want to play and get concussed, then don't play. "It's your career, it's your life.
"You have to make that decision on your own."
Concussions are certainly one of the main topics of discussion as the Bears prepare to face the 49ers. Both starting QB's Jay Cutler and Alex Smith respectively, were forced to leave last week's games due to concussion and their status for this week is up in the air.
While I agree to a point with Urlacher, he's doing no one any favors by speaking out about it. Although he was asked, and I certainly respect the candor.
Johnson's mother, Linda Hanks was told by Texas A&M University Police that Johnson has been found and is unharmed. Police traveled to Dallas with the Texas Rangers and located Johnson at around 2:30 AM on Thursday morning.
University police are not releasing any further details as to the nature of his disappearance, but everyone is relieved that he's ok.
As the Cleveland Browns come off their bye week and prepare to face the Dallas Cowboys, there is some potentially troubling news in Berea.
I've been told from a reliable source that Joe Haden is battling a rib injury & has been struggling at practice. At this point, he's still likely to play against the Cowboys, but facing a prolific offense like Dallas could be problematic with the team's best corner banged up.
Additionally, another Browns CB, Buster Skrine reportedly tweaked his ankle this week. His injury appears less serious & he's expected to play as well, but this is certainly not great news for the Browns.
If you have Dallas offensive players on your fantasy team, you may want to start them.
**Update** Haden was held out of Thursday practice and Cleveland Plain Dealer Browns beat reporter, Mary Kay Cabot confirmed my report of Haden's injury later in the day.
While there have been whispers over the weekend relating to Trent Richardson, I cannot confirm with anyone inside the facility so I will not speculate or comment at this point.
With that said, its been reported that Richardson is on the field for practice this morning, but he is not practicing with the 1st team offense. This is obviously a rare occurrence as there is no doubt that the #3 overall pick is the Browns' starter.
I do not believe its related to injury as I'm told that if it were due to an injury he'd be in the training room & not on the field. If I'm able to get any info on why he's not with the 1st team ill pass it along, but its certainly intriguing nonetheless.
The story I got was that the trainers were choosing to rest him. I've seen or heard nothing to indicate that's not the case.
Seattle Times Seahawks reporter, Danny O'Neil tweeted out an interesting quote attributed to WR Sidney Rice in response to Golden Tate's TD pass to Rice:
"His throwing motion was the worst. I thought we traded for Tebow for a second."
Interesting given the fact the Seahawks played against Tebow and the struggling Jets today and quite funny in my opinion if true.
Take it for what it's worth, but there has been chatter within NFL sources this morning that Sean Payton was visiting the Cowboys' team hotel earlier today.
News swept the sporting world this morning when reports surfaced that the NFL voided his contract with the Saints. Almost immediately, speculation about Payton and the Cowboys began given his previous time with Dallas and his relationship with Jerry Jones.
If this is accurate, this will do nothing but stoke those flames.