Category Archives: New York Jets

‘One tough dude,’ Cribbs signs with Oakland

We knew the Browns and Joshua Cribbs were going to part ways, and after several false alarms it has happened.

Cribbs has a new team, the Oakland Raiders. He signed a one-year deal on Wednesday after a prolonged and strange free agency courtship that included plenty of suitors — and plenty of concern about the knee Cribbs had scoped after the Pro Bowl.

As recently as this week, Jets general manager John Idzik said publicly that his team’s medical staff believed the knee “wasn’t there yet.”

The Browns weren’t one of the suitors for Cribbs. Even though they never gave a straight answer as to why, it’s understandable. The Browns are new again at the coaching and administrative levels, and Cribbs was fazed out of the offense last year, became eligible for unrestricted free agency in March and turns 30 in June.

He’s not the same player he once was, but for a long time he was darn good.

Cribbs’ eight kickoff returns for touchdowns are tied with Leon Washington for the most in NFL history. He was also good covering kicks, and there was never any question about his work ethic or his desire to win. He never shied away from sharing his feelings in public, and his desire for a new contract in 2009 caused a stink, in part because the team stunk then.

He ended up getting his desired extension at a salary that wasn’t as big as advertised. The team got its money’s worth.

The best three players of the “new” Browns era are, in some order, Phil Dawson, Joe Thomas and Cribbs. Dawson and Cribbs both left via free agency for Northern California this offseason.

Signing a one-year deal with the Raiders means Cribbs needed a job. The Raiders figure they’ll get their money’s worth, too, and see what’s still in the tank. Even if Cribbs never gets to play in a playoff game, his journey from skinny Kent State quarterback to undrafted utility man and top-level return man has been a remarkable one.

Someday, he’ll go into the Browns’ Ring of Honor (or whatever the people who are running the team at the time call it). That his exit now is nothing more than a simple line in the daily NFL transactions says a lot about the fleeting, unforgiving nature of the NFL.

To say the least, it’s a tough business. Here, Cribbs will be remembered as one tough dude.

Weekend picks and a Bobcats note of caution

Some random weekend thoughts before my picks that you’ve been anxiously awaiting for…

The loser of Browns-Bengals is in really bad shape.

The winner of Toledo-Bowling Green is in really good shape.

Miami-Ohio played at Ohio State in Week One and plays at Boise State tomorrow. Savannah State thinks that’s pretty ambitious scheduling.

Braxton Miller will probably run for 150-plus yards again Saturday vs. Cal. He’s that good. Ohio State just has to make sure he’s going to be upright not just for the upcoming Michigan State-Nebraska back-to-backer, but the games that follow.

Evil Genius Urban Meyer will lose a game sometime. Sometime. I promise. I just don’t know when.

**

One thing I’m watching this weekend, even though it’s not on television so I’m not actually watching it…

Ohio University is good. Really good, and really capable of winning 11-13 games this season. So good that people are noticing nationally, in some ways a whole lot like other people previously noticed. Hmm.

Anyway, the Bobcats never huddle and can really score. Marshall rarely huddles and can really score. It would not be a surprise to see both teams score more than 35 points Saturday night.

If the Bobcats are going to lose between now and November, it’s going to be this weekend. And I think that less because Marshall is the last 2011 bowl team on this year’s schedule and more because goofy things happen in this great game. I believe in karma, too.

Last year, Ohio beat Marshall 44-7 in Athens. With a 37-7 lead, Ohio ran a fake punt.

Just a hunch, but Marshall hasn’t forgotten.

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My weekend predictions

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-7)

Part of me thinks the Bengals were just in a hornet’s nest last Monday night and wouldn’t have won that game – or even come close – in 15 tries. Part of me thinks the Bengals are in for a long year. Part of me thinks Brandon Weeden is in for another long couple afternoons. A bigger part of me wishes his receivers would at least catch the good passes he throws so we wouldn’t have to keep talking about a 5.1 rating.

Bengals 24, Browns 10

New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers (-6)

I’m more inclined to believe that the Steelers were in a bad spot last week and won’t lose their home opener than I am that the Jets can block the Steelers, James Harrison and Troy Polamalu or not.

Steelers 27, Jets 17

Cal at Ohio State (-17)

See above. A lot of Braxton. UAB will provide little challenge next week, so this is a big one for the Buckeyes. I think a month from now we’ll say that Central Florida was pretty good.

Buckeyes 38, Cal 17

Bowling Green at Toledo (-3.5)

A big rivalry game being played early in the year. I like Bowling Green QB Matt Schilz. I like Toledo sticking mostly with Terrance Owens a little better. Believe it or not, I’m predicting some defense here.

Toledo 24, Bowling Green 20

Ohio (-6.5) at Marshall

See above. Lots of points. Lots of touchdowns. In the end, a little too much Tyler Tettleon and Beau Blankenship.

Ohio 41, Marshall 38

LAST WEEK: 4-1 straight up, 3-2 ATS

SEASON TOTAL: 8-2 straight up, 7-3 ATS

Follow Zac on Twitter at FSOhioZJackson

Redskins not high on Manning’s list?

The rumors and reports will come fast the next week as Peyton Manning decides on a new team.

Some of the first are not great for the Browns — because it sounds more and more like Manning will not join the Washington Redskins.

Then again, Daniel Snyder has not opened his wallet yet. And we all know what walks when money talks.

That being said, Manning is said to be more then reluctant to join a division that includes his brother. Eli is a fixture in New York, and that competition might be too close. It also might discourage him from joining the Jets. New York is big, but big enough for two Mannings is up for debate.

Too, Manning would prefer to stay in the AFC. At last check, Washington is in the NFC.

Finally, Manning would like a warm weather team or a team with a dome. Washington has neither.

All these factors seem to point to Miami, with a second tier of choices that includes Kansas City (brr)  or (if he can accept the NFC) Arizona or Seattle. Miami is a factor especially if Reggie Wayne also joins the Dolphins to form a triumvirate of Manning, Wayne and Brandon Marshall.

If Washington does not get Manning, they are back in the Robert Griffin III sweepstakes, which means the Rams would have the Redskins and (if they choose) the Browns competing for a trade to move up.

That means the Browns are back to having to give up both their first-round picks this year if they want to move up.

The happiest team in the league if Manning does indeed say ‘thanks but no thanks’ to the Redskins clearly will be the Rams.