Crennel’s team-first mentality can only help Cribbs on Browns

Matt Peters

Browns’ coach Romeo Crennel (right) watches as the team’s top draft picks, undrafted free agents participate in a mini-camp workout at the Browns training facility in Berea on Friday.

Credit: Matt Peters

Joshua Cribbs and Charlie Frye poised themselves as two gunslingers ready to draw seven months ago at Dix Stadium.

The two quarterbacks faced off in one of the most hyped matchups between Akron and Kent State in recent memories. The game went down to the wire with Frye’s Zips pulling out a 24-19 win. Now the tension has subsided as the two are teammates on the Cleveland Browns.

The sight of Frye throwing downfield to Cribbs would have seemed awkward not too long ago, but now it makes sense.

I like to think Cribbs’ athleticism could be of use to any team in the NFL. He proved during his four years at Kent State that he was a play-maker. I’m no NFL scout, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see Cribbs brings excitement to the game.

The Browns should be a perfect fit for Cribbs. As a Pittsburgh native and a Steelers fan, I have to be honest. I was hoping he would find a way to make the jump from highlighter yellow and blue to the black and gold. The Steelers could always use a little more depth at wide receiver and have had a knack for utilizing former quarterbacks’ athleticism and molding it.

Hines Ward, Antwan Randel El and Kordell Stewart were all quarterbacks at one time who made successful switches to receiving positions.

However, Cribbs ultimately made a good decision in signing with the Browns.

Romeo Crennel comes to Cleveland with a history in New England of finding whatever way to win while using whatever players it takes to do so. Given Cribbs’ athletic ability, this can only benefit him.

His talents will allow him to step into nearly whatever role is asked of him. It seems Cribbs has at one point or another been rumored to play just about every position on the field once he gets to the NFL. He even punted a few times with the Flashes.

While his heart remains at quarterback, Cribbs has said he is willing to do whatever his team needs. The Patriots made their successful trips to the Super Bowl thanks in part to players with that mentality. Troy Brown made the switch from receiver to the Patriots’ secondary for parts of last year, and it would not be hard to imagine Cribbs doing the same.

New England has made teamwork the trend of the moment in the sports world. If Crennel is intent on bringing this mentality to Cleveland, Cribbs’ attitude has shown he will fit in perfectly.

Since his freshman season, he has always made the most of his opportunities. At the beginning of his first season, the talk was about the future quarterback of the Flashes and his potential. By the third game of the season, Cribbs was making the most of his opportunity as the team’s starting quarterback. That never changed throughout the next four years.

Of course there’s always that lingering chance Cribbs could find himself dropping back and looking for receivers some day. Given the Browns propensity for keeping and developing quarterbacks, you never know when Cribbs might just get that shot.

Contact sports editor Matt Peters at [email protected].