Thursday, October 17, 2013
Josh Cribbs could return punts, too
By Rich Cimini
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Josh Cribbs has brought "a little bit of an aura" to the New York Jets' special-teams room, according to coordinator Ben Kotwica. That's cool, but as Curt Schilling once said about aura and mystique when discussing the New York Yankees ... oh, never mind. You get the point. Intangibles are great, but production is what matters most.
The Jets expect Cribbs, one of the most prolific kick returners in history, to jump-start their sagging kickoff-return unit. As Kotwica said, "He's got the burst we're looking for." There's also a chance he could return punts, replacing Jeremy Kerley. Kotwica was non-committal Thursday when asked about his plans for Sunday against the New England Patriots.
"We'll see how it plays out," Kotwica said. "Both guys did it over the past couple of days in practice. You have those options there."
The Jets will face a left-footed punter for the second straight week, Ryan Allen, which could work in Kerley's favor. There's a different spin off the foot of a lefty, and Kerley did a nice job last week handing the Pittsburgh Steelers' Zoltan Mesko. Kerley is surehanded, but he's not explosive, averaging only 9.0 yards per return. Cribbs is better known as a kickoff returner, but he has handled both throughout his career.
Or maybe the Jets won't use a punt returner, like they did in Week 2 against the Patriots. Kidding.
Kotwica also hinted that Cribbs could be used as the personal protector on the punt team, which would make him the Jets' most famous personal protector since some guy named Tebow. Cribbs would bring the run-pass fake into play as the personal protector.