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Q and A with Josh Cribbs


Q: Why did you choose here? 

Josh Cribbs: I think having the best fit for me, how they want to use me. Basically, we need to upgrade in special teams. We need you to be that guy. They have faith in me. It showed just in having coach [Bobby] April contact me, and I've been talking with him over the offseason and their level of interest outweighed any team. 

Q: What makes… 

Cribbs: Just vision and know-how. Watched a lot of film on guys, see how they see things, knowing the ins and outs and everyone else's positions and knowing where everyone else is supposed to be. So I know where the holes should be, so I'm able to be a second coach out on the field. That makes the returner good, that makes the guys have more confidence so they want to block for you, they want you to do good. So, knowing that they have more confidence in you, they know that they're going to block for you. 

Q: When you look at the receiving corps, they don't really have any established, clear cut… There's a lot of questions. Did that make it that much more attractive to you know you can continue… 

Cribbs: That did as well, but coming in right away, Reggie [McKenzie] told me whatever I can do on offense. Even coach Allen said, 'Whatever you can do on offense is a bonus. We know whenever we put you in, good things can happen.' But we're in desperate need of an upgrade on special teams, we feel like that's our loose end and missing link, and I believe that. If we get good field position, we pin the defense back and give the defense good field against the offense, give our offense a good field to work with, we'll be good to go. 

Q:  Are the schemes Bobby [April] is using similar to what you're used or is it something totally different? 

Cribbs: It is pretty similar. I played against him when he coached at Buffalo and guys he's coached, we meet every time. I'm on my way to meet with him now. So, we constantly meet and talk about things. We have our playbooks on these iPads and we can message each other back and forth. So we're watching tape, watching the same thing via iPad and we converse on the iPads. 

Q: Kickers have a fraternity, punters have a fraternity, do return guys have one? 

Cribbs: I say we do, more than lead guys and Jacoby [Ford] is one of those guys, so we kind of cling together. We see things other guys might not see. We're helping these rookies, every guy might not make the football team, but we tell them, 'Hey, you're not only competing against guys here trying to make the team, but everyone else at camp as well.' So we're helping these young guys out as well. 

Q: Correct me if I'm wrong. They plan on using both you and Jacoby on kickoff returns? How explosive of a tandem can you be? 

Cribbs: I think we'll be a one-two punch having both of us back there on punt and kickoff return is just tremendous. If I need a breath, he's in there and vice-versa and the defense of the opposing team doesn't know who to prepare for. We've got two different styles. He's more of a fast-squirt, outside guy, I'm more of a power runner downhill, one cut make a guy miss downhill run the guy over. You know, power guy, and they don't know how to prepare for that. It's hard to kick away from him and you kick it to me. If you kick it away from him, you kick it to me. So having both of us on the field at the same time adds more power to our special teams but having us both on the same roster is excellent. 

Q: Seems like you're also taking pride in the coverage aspect of it. 

Cribbs: Yeah, definitely. You can't have one without the other. When guys come down and hit me with all their might, I want to return the favor. So I love going down there and covering kicks, covering punts. That's a passion of mine. And I think that's what helped me make the football team in Cleveland. I remember one of the guys saying, that I beat out when I was a rookie, 'Man, you cover too?' The thing is, when I first came in, Romeo Crennel said, 'If you can be a double-vice and go out there and make a tackle, then you got a spot on this football team.' And that's rare for guys to come in and can be a double-vice, two-on-one, go out and make a tackle. The more you can do adds value to a team. 

Q: Did you do any of that before you went to Cleveland? 

Cribbs: No, No. It's just a desire to play in the NFL. I played quarterback in college. 

Q: Do you know anyone else in the league that kick returns, punt returns? 

Cribbs: Not that does it all. I don't come across too many people who's a returner, kickoff returner as well, punt returner, who's a kickoff cover who's a punt cover as well. You don't run into too many. All I know is, coming in, the more you can do for your team, that's how valuable you are. So, I just try to do several tasks. 

Q: Have you ever been able to get that one sweet lick on somebody? 

Cribbs: Oh yeah, definitely. I'm hungry. I can't remember the guy's name, but I remember I had to push one of my own guys to get it. I told him that this is a competition, we've got to be hungry out here. I tell people that story like, 'Man if I don't see you getting to the guy and you're going to be in my way, I'm going to push him out of the way and make the tackle.' 

Q: Seems like you get more fired up about that than you do on kick returns. 

Cribbs: Because it's fun. It's returning the favor. I feel like guys are amped up to stop me, I can't wait until I get on so I can show them I can stop y'all too. It's just a simple fact that I'm flattered just to be on the field. Returning everything takes more focus. The vision and everything, making sure the blocks are where they're supposed to be, so I'm more of a teacher back there, trying to dissect things and saying where they're going to kick and a lot of teams kick away and I've got to deal with the coverage. I'm just like, 'Man, let's go!' I tell my guys, 'I'm going to race you down there. I'm going to get him.' We all rally up against each other, 'I'm going to get him!' So, I love that aspect of the game a little more. 

Q: You remember the receiving part of it. Is that something that you want to get more opportunities over the years? 

Cribbs: Yeah, I would have loved to get more of an opportunity at Cleveland at that position but where I am now, I feel like I'm with a great, talented group of guys and I know just what these coaches want from me. They don't want me to have to spread myself too thin and do everything, but he did say opportunities present themselves and injuries happen, things happen and I'm going to have to step in there and be that guy. And I'm rooting, willing and ready to do that. But at this point, I'm going to do what they want me to do. They want to upgrade on special teams. I'm going to give it to them. I'm going to be that guy they want me to be until further notice. And when they want that big play on offense or that change of place, you're going to see me lining up out there.

Q: The Jets GM comments, did that fire you up at all?

Cribbs: Oh definitely, and we play them too.

Q: Are you good now? Are things good?

Cribbs: Yeah, and I'm knocking off the dust and everything. They finally keep me laid back in practice and everything, and that's all good, but practice and a game are two different things. I'm going to get myself ready for the game. I remember the comments, I'm going to keep them to myself about them. It's all fun and games but when the lights are put on, I'll remember what was said. Right now I'm just focusing on getting back into the groove of things and getting back to that high quality level of play.

Q: Would you say you're at 90 percent? 95? Where are you at right now?

Cribbs: I can't classify because the things they have me doing like on special teams I'm running, but running routes, it takes a little more agility, change of pace and everything. So I can't really classify. They got me limited in practice, though I wasn't too limited today. I did more than a limited person would do, but I'm feeling good. So if I'm feeling good, nobody's saying nothing, I'm not saying nothing, then we'll just play ball and see how it goes.

Q: Do you enjoy the whole training camp process with the guys living together?

Cribbs: I get to lose a little sleep at it, but I love it because one day it's going to be over and I'm fully aware of that so I'm going to enjoy it and take it all in and play 100 percent until I can't play anymore.

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