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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
Here's a matchup to watch in Sunday's Browns-Raiders game:
Raiders P Shane Lechler vs. Browns RS Joshua Cribbs
Lechler and Cribbs are two of the standouts of their generation at their relative positions. Both have set NFL records. Cribbs has returned an all-time best eight kickoffs for touchdowns, while Lechler holds the record for all-time punting average (47.5).
Lechler has punted 24 times this season, averaging an NFL-high 53.9 yards per attempt. Seventeen of his punts have been returned, however, with opponents racking up 272 return yards, including a 90-yard TD by Denver's Eric Decker in Week One.
If the Browns' defense can slow the Raiders' offense, Cribbs could get some good return opportunities. He's brought back 10 punts for 128 yards, highlighted by a 43-yarder vs. Indianapolis in Week Two.
The bye came at a good time for Cribbs. He played with a thigh injury in Week Three and suffered a slight knee injury in Week Four, but he practiced on Monday.
"He's feeling much better, so he was out here and did some things a little more than we thought, so he's moving forward there," head coach Pat Shurmur said Monday.
If Cribbs is at close to full strength, he would figure to be returning punts on Sunday.
And those who appreciate great special-teams play would certainly relish that, given Lechler's one-of-a-kind skill on the other side.