In August, Browns WR-RS Josh Cribbs was asked how he thought he would be used in Pat Shurmur's offense.
"He (Shurmur) is not a big fan of the 'Wildcat,' but he is a big fan of giving me the football," Cribbs said, noting that Shurmur "is going to do everything he can to put the ball in the hands of guys that can make plays."
Through eight games, Cribbs has been targeted as many times as a receiver (39) as he was all of last season, and he's done well with the opportunities, catching 22 passes for 298 yards and three TDs. Credit the Browns for getting Cribbs more involved as a pass catcher.
However, they need to use him more than they have.
Cribbs has been scantly used as a ballcarrier. In Week One, Cribbs carried once, losing three yards. That's it for his rushing statistics. He also lost seven yards on an apparent pass play in Week Four, which was credited as a QB sack.
It's clear Shurmur isn't as open to using the Wildcat as predecessor Brian Daboll was. Asked in September about the sense that he wasn't all that eager to employ the Wildcat, Shurmur said, "I think there are some concepts to it that are very good. I was more interested in us getting in a huddle, calling a play and taking a snap. I don't mean to make light of that, but there's so many things that need to get coached offensively, and I think that's kind of our starting point."
I don't have a problem with Shurmur leaving the Wildcat aside. It's his offense. And I understand the challenge of getting Cribbs more opportunities on offense. But he is the Browns' most dynamic player, and this is an attack that desperately needs to generate more splash plays. Whether it's reverses or screen passes — or even a carry or two out of the backfield — the Browns could do far worse than getting Cribbs the ball in space.
The Browns' top two tailbacks are hurt. Their passing game is suffering from a lack of weapons and below-average pass protection. All options on how to spark this struggling attack need to be explored.
Allow me to make the first suggestion:
Get No. 16 the ball.