Josh Cribbs chats with The Scores Report

CLEVELAND - DECEMBER 30:  Josh Cribbs #16 of the Cleveland Browns positions himself at the line of scrimmage during the game against the San Francisco 49ers on December 30, 2007 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo By Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The first word that comes to mind when you think about Josh Cribbs’ game is “versatile.”

While at Kent State, he set school records for total offense (10,839 yards), rushing touchdowns (38), pass completions (616), pass attempts (1,123), passing yardage (7,169), touchdowns scored (41) and points scored (246) – all records that still stand today.

Now a member of the Cleveland Browns, Cribbs continues to flash the versatility that made him a star at Kent. Arguably the Browns’ most explosive playmaker, Josh is a threat to take it to the house every time he gets his hands on the ball as either a returner, a receiver or a runner out of the Wildcat formation.

Oh, and the guy can given drop back as a quarterback and even spent some time in training camp at safety. You just don’t find players as versatile as Cribbs, who the Browns are lucky to employ (which is why they locked him up to a long-term deal this past March).

We were fortunate enough to catch Josh in between games and got to ask him what the secret is to being an elite kick returner. He also filled us in on two Browns to keep an eye on this year (fans will be extremely happy to hear what he said about one young player in particular), what his role will be in Cleveland’s offense over the course of the season and how he did in his acting debut for a September 30th episode of FX’s “The League,” in which he plays himself.

Enjoy the interview and for more on Josh, be sure to check out his Twitter Page.

The Scores Report: Hey Josh, how are you?

Josh Cribbs: Good, how you doing?

TSR: Doing great, thanks for joining us today. I know you’re busy during the season so we appreciate your taking the time to sit down with us.

JC: All right – no problem.

TSR: What changes now that Jake Delhomme is out and Seneca Wallace is your starter, besides the fact that Seneca is obviously more mobile?

JC: Well, I believe that since Seneca is mobile, defenses will try to do a good job of containing him but we’ll combat that. We’re going to be ready for them to try and contain Seneca, who will keep drives alive a lot more than Jake. But Jake is used to running the offense, so it’s just some minor things that change. They’re both great quarterbacks, but I know the biggest thing for defenses is to try and contain Seneca and I think they’ll have problems doing it.

TSR: I see you’re 1-for-1 passing on the year. Not that you want to see anything happen to Seneca, but are you ready to go in at a moments notice? How’s the arm?

JC: (Laughs)

TSR: (Laughs)

JC: The arm is great – I’m ready to throw some more passes.

TSR: You’re such a versatile player in that you can return kicks, you can receive, you can lineup as a quarterback in the Wildcat and you can also run the ball as well. What can fans expect out of your role over the course of an entire season?

JC: I think they can expect my role to increase. The more good I do in those roles that they put me in, the more my role will expand. Look for me to drop back as a regular quarterback, because defenses will assume that I’m going to run every single time and that’s not true. So you can expect me to throw the ball regularly…I can quarterback, run the ball, catch the ball, return and tackle.

TSR: Speaking of tackling, I saw that your coaches had you lining up at safety at times during training camp. What was that about?

JC: You know, I’m there if they need me. It’s all about being versatile. Injuries happen during the season and you know, they might want to spice it up. They may want to throw me out there to give our defense a different look. They know I’m capable of doing it and I’m ready. Whenever they give me an opportunity I’m going to shine.

TSR: I’m going to put you on the spot – I read on your Twitter page a couple of months ago that you had planned to lose 13 pounds before training camp. Did you accomplish that goal?

JC: Yes I did. We get fined if we’re overweight, so it wasn’t something that I wanted to do – I had to do it. I didn’t want to lose any money, so I lost about 18 pounds.

TSR: Good for you – I’m sure that helps during the season.

JC: Definitely. I’ve gained a lot of muscle weight, but I still wanted to keep my speed in order and losing the weight helped there.

TSR: What’s the key to having a successful kick return in the NFL and what’s your secret for being one of the best in that area?

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Cribbs (16) crosses into the end zone for a touchdown as Minnesota Vikings safety Husain Abdullah (39) misses the tackle during the third quarter at Cleveland Browns Stadium on August 22, 2009. UPI/Jason Miller Photo via Newscom

JC: The key is watching tape and knowing that when you catch the ball, you have everyone’s livelihood in your hands. So watching tape is of great importance and in order to be an elite kick returner you have to keep watching film. You have to envision it before you do it, so I always sit there before a game and just envision myself running in for a touchdown. I watch film over and over and over on myself, as well as the team we’re about to play. That’s another thing – research. You have to research your opponent and be prepared.

TSR: I have to admit that’s one thing I didn’t even think of when it comes to being a returner – watching film. You often hear about how important game tape is for quarterbacks and defenders, but as a fan you don’t think about it as it applies to kick returners. That’s interesting.

JC: Absolutely, it’s very important – for everybody.

TSR: You have a front row seat to watch a couple of young receivers in Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie. Talk to me about their development to this point.

JC: They had excellent OTAs and training camps. They proved themselves worthy day in and day out in practice and they just make plays. And that’s what’s most important – making plays. You saw Mohamed catch a touchdown in the first game and that’s proof of what he does in practice.

TSR: The Darrelle Revis contract holdout in New York this past offseason really brought the potential lockout in 2011 to light. How crucial was it for you to get your deal done back in March?

JC: It was very crucial because I wanted to put the contract and everything behind me. I didn’t want to have it lingering on during the season and that’s why I waited until after the season last year to handle things. I didn’t want it to linger into OTAs and I didn’t want to be a problem for my team. You know, being a captain, you don’t want to be a distraction and I was able to get that done without being one.

TSR: Josh, give me one offensive player and one defensive player for Brown fans to watch out for this season.

JC: I think one guy is…let me see…just one? (Laughs)

TSR: (Laughs) Just one on each side of the ball and you can’t pick yourself!

JC: That’s really tough. You know what? Evan Moore – our tight end. He’s been a receiving tight end that is learning how to block after being a receiver in college. He’s a big guy that’s going to line up at tight end, but he’s a receiver at heart. Any time he’s lined up on a linebacker, you know he’s going to win – he does it consistently in practice. He’s a guy that we called up from the practice squad last year and I forgot how many catches he had, but he had plenty of catches in those last four games, which were all wins.

TSR: Right.

JC: And on defense: Joe Haden. This is a guy who came in and I’m like, oh man, I don’t know if they made the right pick. I don’t know how good this guy is going to be and he blew me away. He’s come a long way since OTAs to where he is now. At OTAs I’m like, okay, we don’t have equipment on so you don’t know how this guy is going to play. He’s from my area so I’m going to root for him but…training camp came around and it’s like the switch turned on. He’s going to be a great cornerback for years to come. He’s already playing above expectations and I think he’s going to be great in this defense.

TSR: Well, I’m sure you just made a lot of Brown fans happy that they’re No. 1 draft pick will probably pan out. One last question for you Josh: I hear you’re going to be on FX’s “The League” at the end of September. You’re starring yourself?

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Cribbs (16) leaps into the Dawg Pound fan section after scoring on a 65 yard reception against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second quarter of their NFL football game in Cleveland, Ohio September 19, 2010.    REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

JC: Yes, sir!

TSR: (Laughs)

JC: That’s my acting debut. They gave me the opportunity to take that role and you know, I’m playing myself so it’s not really acting, but it’s directed by really great people and it was a great opportunity. Terrell Suggs is in it too and I’ve been tweeting it all day – it’s a great episode. And actually, not only the episode – the show itself is good. They sent me a couple of DVDs and now I’m hooked, and everybody who watches it because they follow my Twitter – now they’re hooked. So hopefully it’s something I can build on and have after football.

TSR: Well, I’m definitely going to tune in and maybe next time we’ll have you back so you can talk about your acting career.

JC: Thank you man, I really appreciate it!

TSR: Not a problem, Josh – thank you for joining us, we really appreciate it. Stay healthy and have a great season.

JC: All right – I like to hear that! Thank you and take care.

TSR: Thanks, Josh – you too!

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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