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Cribbs faces familiar opponent

For Josh Cribbs, who joined the New York Jets just last month, one of the most familiar faces on the field Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium will be on the opposing team.

Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees and Cribbs will be reunited after spending time together at Kent University as player and head coach. They might be on opposite sidelines and in different roles now, but they’re both well aware of each other’s abilities.

“He was like a second father for me in college,” Cribbs said. “I have so much respect for him, so I’m going to be on my game. I’m going to make sure I don’t let him down. I’m going to make sure that all his preparation will pay off, that they’re going to get what they expect to get and even more.”

As Baltimore’s defensive coordinator, Pees said he will account for the threat Cribbs adds to the Jets’ Wildcat.

Cribbs has not only distinguished himself as a kick returner and a wide receiver, but he's shown a skill set at the quarterback position. As a pivotal part of Marty Mornhinweg’s first-half game plan in the Jets' 26-20 victory against the Saints in Week 9, Cribbs took a few direct snaps and connected with tight end Zach Sudfeld for a 25-yard pass out of the Wildcat.

“You can defend it, but it also depends on the guy who is running the trigger,” Pees told the Baltimore Sun.

“Because I ran that in college and Josh Cribbs was my quarterback and I told him, ‘Don’t read anything. That guy cannot tackle you. Just pull it.’ The better the athlete is at quarterback … You can run zone-read with Peyton Manning and I don’t think it’s going to look like how it does with [Jets quarterback] Geno Smith. It isn’t so much the zone-read. A lot of times it’s the guy that’s running it.”

Pees has been burned before by the Wildcat. In 2008, while he was the Patriots’ defensive coordinator, Ronnie Brown and the Dolphins torched his defense in a 38-13 Week 3 defeat. He’s not willing to let that happen again -- especially not against Cribbs.

Cribbs said having an opposing team’s defense prepare for him is an honor. “It lets me know that I’m doing my job well to be recognized by the defense on another team, so that just amps me up more for game day."

After being let go by the Oakland Raiders earlier this season, Cribbs has been playing with something to prove.

“I came into the league with a chip on my shoulder, knowing that I was supposed to be drafted and that I'm supposed to be here,” said Cribbs. “Now I have that same chip on my shoulder in a different way. I’m still supposed to be here, I still got it and here’s why. I’m going to show it.”