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Josh Cribbs Had Ravens Just a Little Off-Balance

Posted Nov 24, 2013

Although Josh Cribbs is technically listed as a wide receiver, don’t let that fool you. He can do it all.

During this afternoon’s 19-3 loss at Baltimore, Cribbs ran back four kicks, returned two punts, rushed with the ball four times, and even threw two passes, for a combined 151 yards. Perhaps “KR-PR-RB-QB-WR” would be a more fitting description.

On a windy day against a tough Baltimore defense, it didn’t take long for coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to dial up the Wildcat. Cribbs took a direct snap and ran the ball for 7 yards on just our second offensive play of the game before the Jets went back to Cribbs and the Wildcat three more times the very next drive.

“It was in the game plan,” Cribbs said. “We practiced it a lot. It throws defenses off, it's hard to prepare for, and I feel like we did good utilizing it driving the ball down the field.”

Nothing threw the defense off more than the Cribbs-to-Geno Smith completion — no, not the other way around — for 13 yards on our second drive of the game. Cribbs lined up in shotgun while Geno lined up left. Smith waited for a split second to make the defense think he was out of the play before taking off down the sideline uncovered.

“We talked about making this defense feel off-balance,” Cribbs said. “We’ve just got to score in the red once we get it down there, throw it down the field. We were able to get a field goal out of it. I'd like to see more of it. I love running it. I know every athlete on this team would love to have the football in their hands. We’ve just got to be better on third down, better in the red zone.”

The Jets ended up converting a season-low one third down on 12 attempts, and while they scored three points in their only red zone trip, a 7-0 lead might have changed the game’s flow.

Might the Wildcat offense have disrupted Smith’s rhythm and contributed to his 9-for-22, 127-yard, two interception day? Neither Geno nor Josh believed so.

“Every single chance I get to pass the ball, I feel like I'm in rhythm," Smith said, "which is the reason why we practice it so much. We rep it a ton of times in practice and I don't think it throws us off, throws me off at all. I think it definitely helps our offense, gives the defense something else to look at. We're really pretty much good at it. We usually pick up a decent amount of yards in the running game, so I think it helps us out a lot.”

“It's all about giving that defense too much to prepare for,” Cribbs said. “When you're moving the chains, nothing else matters.”

A bigger issue for our lack of production on offense, as head coach Rex Ryan’s said after the game, was our inability to reel in the football. Unofficially we had five drops in the game.

But now it’s time to put the Baltimore loss behind us and get back to our winning ways.

Despite our two-game losing streak — our first multi-game streak of any kind this season — we’re still tied for the second AFC Wild Card spot at 5-6 with five games remaining, against Miami, Oakland, Carolina, Cleveland and Miami again.

Ryan’s message to the team? “It’s quite simple,” Cribbs said. “We’ve got to win these games coming up.

"Each game is an opportunity to win that football game and take that momentum and move on. We have to quickly move on to the next opponent and win these games. There's no question about it, no secret, so we're going to put all our focus on these last five games and make it happen.”

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