|Cribbs says he was joking but the Browns should be willing to try anything. (Getty Images)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
The Browns offense is many things, though none are particularly laudatory. Words like predictable and inconsistent come to mind, which is exacerbated by the paucity of playmakers.
Also not helping: second-year quarterback Colt McCoy has regressed. Or more precisely: after a promising rookie season, he's failed to meet expectations through the first nine weeks of 2011. That may have more to do with the Sunday beatings he's been subjected to (and, as we previously mentioned, not much in the way of downfield threats to keep defenses honest) than his ability to consistently throw a 15-yard dig route.
It also doesn't help that running back Peyton Hillis has gone from folk hero to outcast in a few months and the Browns' running game has subsequently disappeared. Which may explain why Josh Cribbs, a Pro Bowl returner and a pretty good wideout, could be taking some reps at running back, too.
"I can't give nothing away, but they put something in that's special to me and that's all I can say about that,'' said Cribbs Wednesday, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot. "Coach is really trying to target me and the coaches are really making an opportunity for me to get the football more.''
Cribbs was asked again about the chances he could line up in the backfield. "We've got eight games left. There will be some surprises this week.''
Turns out, Josh was joshing. "I was just kidding givin'em a good story lol there is nothing big for me in the package lol," Cribbs said via Twitter Wednesday night.
We have absolutely no problem with Cribbs, whether he was joking or actually hinting that he could take some snaps at quarterback or running back. We're guessing McCoy would welcome the break from getting knocked silly, and more than that, it's not like the Browns' offense is a Rubik's cube. We've seen People magazine crossword puzzles that took less time to solve.
We mentioned it in this week's Coach Killers but just in case you missed it, here's what we're talking about:
The Browns are so married to their offensive philosophy that even the blind know what's coming (we're only half-kidding). Via the NFL Network's Mike Lombardi:
"Writing about the Browns offense leads me to a game I play every week at NFL Films. I sit in my office in Mt Laurel, N.J., put the Browns offense on my screen and call a friend who was a coach in the league, but is now in between successes. I tell my friend the personnel group, the formation, where the ball is located on the field and what hash mark and describe the motion -- if there is any -- and ask him to tell me the exact play that will be run," Lombardi writes.
"He is correct about 95 percent of the time. No lie. The Browns are so integrated into the West Coast system that their predictability is becoming legendary around the league."
So, yeah, maybe coach Pat Shurmur should let Cribbs line up wherever he wants. It's not like the Browns can get more predictable.
Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams will go up against Colt McCoy and the Cleveland Browns on Sunday afternoon. Which team has the advantage? NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz go inside the numbers to preview this game.
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