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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
A mix of good strategy and sound coverage from the opposition have helped to blunt Browns RS Joshua Cribbs' productivity on kickoffs this season. Four dislocated toes suffered by Cribbs in the Week 10 loss to the Jets certainly don't help, either. Teams have covered well on kicks to Cribbs, and some teams have kicked high and short, too, thus allowing the coverage to close on him more quickly. Cribbs' reputation as a special-teams ace precedes him — he has returned an NFL-record eight kickoffs for TDs in just six NFL seasons — and with Cleveland having few big-play threats, it's logical that teams would take extra care to restrict his prime return opportunities. Even with Cribbs averaging a career-low 21.4 yards on kickoffs, the Browns have had a better average starting field position than their opponents in 9-of-13 games this season. One other special-teams note: Cleveland has been exceptional covering opponent kickoff returns, allowing a league-low 17.4 yards per return.